Fernando Alonso followed up his British Grand Prix victory with another impressive display in FP1 for the German GP, topping the times ahead of Red Bull pairing Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel.
The Spaniard recorded a best of 1.31.894 – the only driver to dip in to the 1.31s during the first practice – to beat Webber by three-tenths of a second. Vettel meanwhile was just 0.051 slower than his fellow Red Bull driver, though whether they’ll be allowed to get that close in the race is a different matter.
Felipe Massa was fourth fastest, confirming Ferrari’s pace, the Brazilian ending the session seven-tenths adrift of his team-mate.
There was little joy for McLaren in FP1: Lewis Hamilton was 1.1s shy of Alonso, whilst Jenson Button was 1.7s slower than the Ferrari, and just a tenth faster than Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes. The Woking-based team’s fears that they have slipped a significant distance behind the Red Bulls and Ferraris seem to be proving true in Germany.
Although not powering the top four cars in FP1 Mercedes engines were dominant in the top ten, with fifth placed Hamilton through tenth fastest Michael Schumacher all running the German manufacturers’ units. Both Force Indias made the top ten, with Adrian Sutil beating third driver Nico Hulkenberg to eighth spot.
Elsewhere there was a high-speed off for Sébastien Buemi, who climbed from his car unscathed, and an appearance from ousted HRT driver Narain Karthikeyan. The Indian contested FP1 for his old team, in place of Tonio Liuzzi, and actually managed to outpace countryman Karun Chandhok. The Chennai-born racer, who makes his competitive debut for Lotus this weekend, was 21st, splitting the two HRTs, with rookie Daniel Ricciardo beating both Virgin cars. The Branson-backed team were over eight seconds off the pace in FP1.
FP2 gets underway at 2pm local time.