Alonso on top in final Hockenheim practice
21 July 2012 – Ahead of qualifying for the German Grand Prix, Fernando Alonso narrowly edged out Lewis Hamilton to top Saturday morning practice. As Mark Webber took a five-place grid penalty, the quickest times were set on a dry track, but a heavy downpour washed all Slick rubber off the racing line in the closing minutes.
After the rain of Friday, Lotus elected not to run its new Super DRS as it had not enjoyed enough dry track time to fully evaluate the component. On the contrary, McLaren is pleased with their latest upgrades which include new sidepods and new rear wings on the cars of Hamilton and Jenson Button. Today marked a quiet session for the latter, who finished last as he did not have a run on the Soft compound tyre.
Lotus split up this morning’s programme, with Grosjean leaving the pits on white-marked Medium compound tyres as team-mate Kimi Räikkönen went out with the yellow-walled Softs on-board. Sebastian Vettel – one of five Germans in the field – led the way after 25 minutes before Alonso moved ahead at half past eleven. The Red Bull driver then remained in the pits for a prolonged period as torsion bars were adjusted in a bid to improve front-end responsiveness.
Not only did the late rain send up umbrellas as cars dived for the pit lane, but removed the Slick rubber laid down on the race track; this should result in a dramatic qualifying session as drivers straggle for grip. 2012 marks Hockenheim’s first German Grand Prix for two years, as the venue now alternates with the Nürburgring.
Qualifying for the 2012 German Grand Prix begins at 2pm local time (BST +1) and can also be followed through the interactive GPUpdate.net Live Report