Good start for Ros­berg, chilled day for Hamil­ton

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - LIFE -

JENSON BUT­TON is fit to drive in the Ger­man For­mula One Grand Prix af­ter be­ing taken to hospi­tal for a pre­cau­tion­ary eye check- up fol­low­ing yes­ter­day’s prac­tice ses­sion.

“On my way back to Hock­en­heim from the Mannheim hospi­tal for an eye ex­am­i­na­tion, for­eign body found and re­moved,” But­ton said on Twit­ter. “All good for tomorrow.” The 2009 world cham­pion, who ended both ses­sions yes­ter­day in eighth place, com­plained of eye ir­ri­ta­tion dur­ing the af­ter­noon, his McLaren team said.

The Bri­ton un­der­went a check at the cir­cuit med­i­cal cen­tre be­fore be­ing taken to hospi­tal.

The 36-year-old com­pleted only 16 laps in the sec­ond ses­sion com­pared to 21 for his team­mate Fer­nando Alonso.

But­ton lies 15th in the driv­ers’ stand­ings hav­ing fin­ished in the points in four of the 11 races this sea­son.

Nico Ros­berg, aim­ing to seize back the cham­pi­onship lead at the Ger­man For­mula One Grand Prix in Hock­en­heim, got his week­end off to a strong start by top­ping the open­ing two prac­tice ses­sions yes­ter­day.

Ros­berg set his fastest time of one minute 15.517 sec­onds in the open­ing 90-minute ses­sion, but stayed at the top with a slightly slower lap in the af­ter­noon.

“In gen­eral our car was work­ing well out there to­day,” said Ros­berg.

“Say­ing that, in Hun­gary we were very quick on Fri­day but then on Satur­day and Sun­day ev­ery­one was very close. It’s a good start but we’ll see more tomorrow.”

Team­mate and world cham­pi­onship leader Lewis Hamil­ton was sec­ond in both ses­sions on a dom­i­nant day for Mercedes.

Ros­berg, how­ever, seemed to have the mea­sure of him and was com­fort­ably faster in both ses­sions, although the cham­pion was not per­turbed.

“It’s been a very chilled Fri­day,” said Hamil­ton. “No real sur­prises and a good first step for the week­end.”

Ros­berg heads into Sun­day’s race at the 4.5- km Hock­en­heim track trail­ing Hamil­ton by six points in the stand­ings, hav­ing ceded the over­all lead to the Bri­ton at the last race in Hun­gary.

Ros­berg won the last race at Hock­en­heim in 2014 and a re­peat of that win would put the brakes on Hamil­ton, who has tri­umphed in five of the last six races.

It would also hand him a cru­cial psy­cho­log­i­cal edge over the reign­ing cham­pion head­ing into For­mula One’s an­nual sum­mer break.

Se­bas­tian Vet­tel, mak­ing his first ap­pear­ance on home soil in Fer­rari colours, fin­ished both ses­sions in third.

The four- times world cham­pion, whose team an­nounced a split with highly- re­garded tech­ni­cal direc­tor James Al­li­son on Wed­nes­day, closed the gap to the Mercedes driv­ers in the af­ter­noon but was still 0.594 sec­onds adrift of Ros­berg.

Max Ver­stap­pen ended the day fourth ahead of Red Bull team­mate Daniel Ric­cia­rdo, as both leapfrogged Fer­rari’s Kimi Raikko­nen in the af­ter­noon ses­sion.

Force In­dia pair Nico Hulken­berg and Ser­gio Perez were sev­enth and ninth re­spec­tively with McLaren’s But­ton in eighth.

Fer­nando Alonso, cel­e­brat­ing his 35th birthday com­pleted the top 10.

Ros­berg won the last race at Hock­en­heim in 2014 and a re­peat would put the brakes on Hamil­ton, who has tri­umphed in five of the last six races.

It would also hand him a cru­cial psy­cho­log­i­cal edge over the reign­ing cham­pion head­ing into For­mula One’s an­nual sum­mer break. – Reuters

NICO ROS­BERG: Com­fort­ably faster

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