Hamilton continues to set Nurburgring pace


Ahead of this morning's free practice session, the air temperature is 12 degrees, while the track temperature is 20 degrees. It remains very cool, overcast, windy and the threat of further rain.

Yesterday we saw the drivers struggling to generate heat into their tyres, and with today's temperatures, such as they are, we can expect much of the same in this session and possibly even qualifying. That said, of the two options - medium and super-soft - it was clear to see that the super-soft was the quicker.

The lights go green and Vettel leads a whole gaggle of cars, including Buemi, Sutil, Massa, Glock, Heidfeld and Bourdais.

Just three minutes into the session, all but Barrichello have been out.

Eleven minutes into the session, after several minutes of total inactivity, Massa heads down the pitlane, performing a practice start before heading off on his second lap of the day. He is joined by Fisichella who lost track-time yesterday after crashing out in the second session.

The 2008 championship runner-up crosses the line at 1:35.232, with Fisichella posting 36.723 moments later.

More and more drivers take to the track, with Raikkonen going second and Trulli third, as Massa consolidates the top spot with a 34.548. Elsewhere, a mistake from Fisichella at the chicane, however, he is able to continue.

A 33.974 sees Sutil go quickest, as Heidfeld goes second ahead of Glock, Button and Massa. Yes, it's that busy.

Button locks up after going quickest in the first sector, while Sutil goes quickest in the second.

Glock goes quickest, with Button going second, the Englishman's lap unusually scrappy and aggressive. Rosberg moves into the Top 5 with a 34.072.

A 33.421 sees Button take the top spot as Rosberg goes second, yesterday's pace-setter, Lewis Hamilton, can only manage fifteenth (36.051). The Englishman has all the updates this weekend, teammate Kovalainen having to wait until Turkey.

Twenty-three minutes into the session, all but Webber, Kovalainen and Barrichello have posted times, though the Australian and Finn are on track.

Hamilton goes quickest with a 32.331, ahead of Rosberg, as the slo-mo camera shows Nakajima attacking the notorious Nurburgring kerbs with a vengeance.

Webber goes fourth (33.193), but is soon demoted as Nakajima improves to third. Still no sign of Barrichello.

Kovalainen - without the benefit of a new wing, new floor, new body top and diffuser - can only manage nineteenth, crossing the line at 36.374. Webber improves to second (32.919).

At half-time, it's: Hamilton, Webber, Rosberg, Nakajima, Button, Sutil, Alonso, Vettel, Glock and Heidfeld.

Thirty-two minutes into the session, Barrichello heads down the pitlane., as Glock goes second with a 32.883.

Having improved to seventh, Raikkonen goes wide going into Turn 1. Meanwhile, Heidfeld complains of "too much bottoming at the front".

A 32.434 sees Massa go second, as Barrichello posts 35.260 to go twentieth. The Brawn driver is having a difficult time of it, locking up all over the place, indeed, he's flat-spotted his front tyre. Elsewhere, Kovalainen is really struggling to keep his car on the track.

With twenty minutes remaining the super-softs make their first appearance. Rosberg improves with a 1.987 but so too does Hamilton, who consolidates his top spot with a 31.252. Fisichella goes third with a 32.204, and with Sutil currently fifth that's both Force Indias in the Top 5.

"I can't keep any heat in the front," complains Button, who slows and heads back to the pits.

Having gone quickest in the first two sectors, Hamilton has a poor final sector, but nonetheless improves with a 31.121. Elsewhere, the slo-mo shows one of the Toro Rossos having a wonderful slide at the chicane.

Webber moves up to fifth as Vettel, maintaining a low profile thus far this morning, improves to sixth. Next time around the German improves to fifth. Elsewhere, Barrichello is now up to fifteenth.

With just over eight minutes remaining, Button is on track on super-softs.

The Englishman improves to fifth but Massa, also on the softer option, goes fourth, instantly demoting him to sixth.

A 31.615 sees Raikkonen go second as, with five minutes remaining, the times really begin to tumble.

Barrichello improves from eleventh to eighth with a 32.124, however, within moments the Brawn driver is demote back to tenth as other drivers improve.

Having gone quickest in the final sector, Alonso leaps up to third with a 31.510, behind Hamilton and Massa. Next time around the Spaniard, no doubt running on fumes, improves to second with a 31.340.

Vettel improves to fourth with a 31.542, as a spin from Alonso in Turn 4 brings out the yellow flags.

The session ends with Hamilton quickest, ahead of Alonso, Massa, Vettel, Webber, Raikkonen, Trulli, Rosberg, Nakajima and Heidfeld.

Button finishes eleventh, ahead of Glock, Sutil, Barrichello, Fisichella, Piquet, Buemi, Kubica, Kovalainen and Bourdais.

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Published: 11/07/2009
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