Nurburgring Practice 2: Vettel and Red Bull bounce back

Sebastian Vettel ended the day on top in Germany

Sebastian Vettel ended the day on top in Germany

Sebastian Vettel has yet to win a Formula 1 race on home soil, but he signaled his intent by ending day one of the German Grand Prix at Nurburgring fastest of all.

By his own admission Red Bull’s world champion was out of sorts in the morning session, but some set-up changes brought the best out of the RB9 and he reclaimed the high ground with a best time of 1:30.416 at the end of the 90 minutes FP2 session.

“Mercedes were very quick this morning. I wasn’t entirely happy with the car this morning. I was quite happy with what we had this afternoon,” said Vettel afterwards.

Teammate Mark Webber was third fastest, with Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg splitting them on the timing screens in second place.

Nico Rosberg was second fastest in FP2

Nico Rosberg was second fastest in FP2

The Vettel versus Rosberg battle on home soil looks set to be an intriguing contest and with the two Germans looking good for a podium finish, if not a win on race day. The difference between the two in the afternoon session was 0.235 seconds.

Mercedes have clearly established a strong pace, perhaps the W04 is even the fastest piece of kit out there. With their race pace now apparently sorted the Silver Arrows are very much the most likely to prevent Vettel running away with this title campaign.

Although Lewis Hamilton only ended the afternoon session eighth fastest and 0.888 seconds down on the top lap time, he showed a glimpse of his hand in the morning 90 minute session which he topped. For now it is looking like a four way shoot out for top spot in qualifying – Red Bull versus Mercedes – and probably for the race too.

The quartet also showed formidable pace in the heavy fuel load runs, with Mercedes possibly having the edge – although predictions at the end of day one of a grand prix weekend is not an exact science.

Kimi Raikkonen

Kimi Raikkonen was fifth fastest

The Lotus duo of Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen were fourth and fifth respectively. The pair were a tad under half a second down on Vettel’s best, suggesting a step forward compared to a week earlier at Silverstone.

An electrical failure on his Ferrari prevented Fernando Alonso from doing any laps in the morning, but he recovered well to end the session sixth fastest, with teammate Felipe Massa 0.003 (!) seconds slower in seventh, the pair a bit over half a second down on Vettel’s best.

Ninth fastest, behind ex-teammate Hamilton, was Jenson Button, the McLaren driver looking more effective than what has been the norm for him recently.

Paul di Resta was the quicker of the two Force India drivers, ending the session tenth, with Adrian Sutil 11th. They in turn were up on the Toro Rosso duo of Daniel Ricciardo and Jean Eric Vergne who were 12th and 13th respectively when the chequered flag waved to end the session.

Jenson Button had a good FP2 session

Jenson Button had a good FP2 session

Thus the pecking order at the end of day one in Germany at the front appears to be dead heat between Red Bull and Mercedes, next up Lotus, then Ferrari. Time will tell if this will be how it pans out in qualifying and in the race. (GP247)

Subbed by AJN.

German Grand Prix, Free Practice 2 – Friday, 5 July 2013

Pos No Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:30.416 39
2 9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:30.651 0.235 38
3 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:30.683 0.267 41
4 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:30.843 0.427 32
5 7 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 1:30.848 0.432 27
6 3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:31.056 0.640 39
7 4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:31.059 0.643 41
8 10 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:31.304 0.888 35
9 5 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:31.568 1.152 37
10 14 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:31.797 1.381 40
11 15 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:31.824 1.408 34
12 19 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 1:31.855 1.439 42
13 18 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari 1:32.055 1.639 39
14 6 Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1:32.086 1.670 36
15 11 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1:32.495 2.079 39
16 12 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1:32.762 2.346 44
17 17 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1:32.879 2.463 35
18 16 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1:32.880 2.464 36
19 20 Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1:33.695 3.279 38
20 21 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1:33.804 3.388 40
21 22 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1:34.017 3.601 10
22 23 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1:34.667 4.251 39
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  • earlcee7

    Hope Lewis bounces back in p3, qualy & importantly the race and get that first win for Mercedes…I so hope he brings the game to Vettel, Go Lewis!!!

  • McLarenfan

    I think this will change again in FP3 myself and Quali will be awesome