No sign of tyre prob­lems in Ger­many

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

THERE was no sign of the tyre blowouts which marred last week­end’s Bri­tish Grand Prix in yes­ter­day’s two prac­tice ses­sions in Ger­many with Lewis Hamil­ton and lo­cal hero Se­bas­tian Vet­tel lead­ing the way.

Hamil­ton, who won at the Nuer­bur­gring two years ago with McLaren, topped the timesheets in the first ses­sion ahead of Mercedes team­mate Nico Ros­berg while cham­pi­onship leader Vet­tel was only eighth fastest.

How­ever, the Ger­man triple world cham­pion, who has never won a For­mula One race on home as­phalt or in July, sped around the track with the day’s top time of one minute 30.416 in the af­ter­noon ses­sion.

Ros­berg was sec­ond fastest again with a 1:30.651 as Mercedes were roared on by small pock­ets of home fans sprin­kled among the half empty stands at the ru­ral western Ger­man venue. Hamil­ton was only eighth fastest.

Red Bull’s Mark Web­ber, pre­par­ing for his fi­nal Ger­man Grand Prix as he quits for en­durance rac­ing at the end of the sea­son, was third quick­est in both prac­tice runs at the cir­cuit where he took his first For­mula One vic­tory in 2009.

The Grand Prix Driv­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion an­nounced on Thurs­day that they will with­draw from to­mor­row’s race if the mul­ti­ple tyre blow- outs seen at Sil­ver­stone oc­cur again but both prac­tice ses­sions were free of in­ci­dent.

Af­ter the in­ter­ven­tion of the gov­ern­ing FIA, Pirelli has brought up­graded rear tyres to the Nuer­bur­gring with an in­ner belt made of the syn­thetic fi­bre Kevlar rather than steel.

The

cooler

tyres were ex­pected to aid Mercedes and Red Bull, based on this sea­son’s anal­y­sis, and prac­tice bore that out. The tyres are not to­tally new to the teams as Pirelli of­fered them for prac­tice in Canada last month but bad weather meant teams used them spar­ingly and did not gather much data.

Prac­tice in Ger­many also be­gan un­der gloomy skies, which mir­rored the mood of Spa­niard Fer­nando Alonso af­ter he ground to a halt just off the track in his first prac­tice lap.

Fer­rari said on Twit­ter that it was an elec­tri­cal prob­lem and the cham­pi­onship con- ten­der only man­aged one more lap be­fore be­ing re­called to the pits for fur­ther checks.

Alonso was able to take to the track nor­mally sec­ond time around and was sixth quick­est as he tar­gets a first front row on the grid since the Ger­man Grand Prix at al­ter­nate host Hock­en­heim last year.

REUTERS

ON TRACK: Se­bas­tian Vet­tel pow­ers around a cor­ner dur­ing prac­tice for to­mor­row’s Ger­man Grand Prix.

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