Good start for Rosberg, chilled day for Hamilton
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