NURburgring, Germany, July 22, 2011 (AFP) - Two times world champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso topped the times for Ferrari in Friday morning's opening free practice session for this weekend's German Grand Prix.
Alonso, 30 next week, clocked a best time of one minute and 31.894 seconds round the 5.184 kms Nurburgring circuit in the Eifel mountains, outpacing nearest rival Australian Mark Webber of Red Bull by four-tenths of a second.
For Alonso and Ferrari it was confirmation of their continuing renaissance in form and speed after winning the British Grand Prix two weeks ago.
Webber's Red Bull team-mate defending champion and runaway leader in this year's title race German Sebastian Vettel was third fastest ahead of Brazilian Felipe Massa in the second Ferrari.
Britons Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button of McLaren, the 2008 and 2009 champions respectively, were fifth and sixth ahead of Germans Nico Rosberg of Mercedes and Adrian Sutil of Force India.
Seven times champion Michael Schumacher was down in 10th place in the second Mercedes as he performed on home soil, one place behind compatriot Nico Hulkenberg who was running as the Force India test driver.
German Nick Heidfeld was fastest early on in the revised Renault before being outpaced by Rosberg, Hamilton and then Vettel before Ferrari took over to dominate the closing stages of a session run under thick cloud, but no rain.
Indian Karun Chandhok made his debut with Lotus and wound up in 21st place, one behind fellow-Indian Narain Karthikeyan who was running for Hispania again, replacing Italian Antonio Liuzzi in the morning session.
Australian Daniel Ricciardo, brought into the team at Silverstone, was down in 22nd place. Below are the results:
|GERMAN GRAND PRIX PRACTICE 1 TIMES (FP1)|
|8||14||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1:33.832||1.938||27|
|9||15||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||1:33.858||1.964||26|