Vettel impresses in final practice
Updated: Saturday, 06 Jul 2013 12:12
Sebastian Vettel appears poised to land pole position for his home grand prix after posting a stunning lap in final practice.
Vettel set a time almost seven tenths of a second quicker than Nico Rosberg in his Mercedes, and half a second up on the pole time from Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber when the Nurburgring last staged the German Grand Prix two years ago.
The three-times world champion clocked one minute 29.517secs with his penultimate flying lap just as the session was ending, with German compatriot Rosberg in his wake by 0.676secs, and Webber close behind by a further 0.018secs.
As for the rest of the field, they were all over a second adrift, spearheaded by the Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa, along with Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen.
Just 0.050secs covered the trio, with Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton down in seventh and complaining bitterly about the ride of his car.
At one point midway through the hour-long session, Hamilton radioed back to his team: "I can't drive the car now. The car is so unstable at the rear."
The 28-year-old, on pole at Silverstone a week ago ahead of the British Grand Prix by some considerable margin, finished 1.227secs behind Vettel, and crucially just over half a second behind team-mate Rosberg.
Romain Grosjean in his Lotus was eighth quickest, followed by a rare fine showing from Nico Hulkenberg in his Sauber, along with another German in Force India's Adrian Sutil in 10th, albeit with the latter duo both just under 1.5secs off the pace such was Vettel's hot lap.
McLaren's Jenson Button and Paul Di Resta were down in 11th and 13th, with the latter seemingly struggling for pace for once after a run of fine form as the Scot found himself 2.2secs down.
As for Max Chilton, the Marussia driver may face a struggle to finish within the required 107 per cent time in the first qualifying session as the 22-year-old was five seconds down on Vettel.
As yesterday there were no concerns with the Pirelli tyres, with the new rears that incorporate Kevlar belts rather than steel showing no signs of providing the drama that occurred at Silverstone over the course of last weekend when there were a number of blow-outs.