Vettel sets blistering pace in German GP final practice

© F1 Pulse, 6 July 2013
© AP Photo/Martin Meissner

Sebastian Vettel emerged as a clear favourite to claim pole position on home soil at the German Grand Prix after he set the quickest time by a large margin in the final practice session on Saturday.

The Red Bull driver clocked 1 minute 29.517 seconds around the Nurburgring becoming the first to record a time under 90 seconds this weekend so far.

Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg was 0.676 seconds off the pace while Vettel’s teammate Mark Webber was a further 0.018 seconds away, highlighting the sizzling lap the defending champion had produced.

Temperatures were higher than on Friday practice but the tyres held on and no issues were reported. Qualifying will be held later in the day.

Ferrari took a step forward with Fernando Alonso in fourth ahead of teammate Felipe Massa but the pair was over worryingly a second slower than Vettel’s time.

Lewis Hamilton was sandwiched between the two Lotus drivers in seventh, with Kimi Raikkonen quicker than his teammate Romain Grosjean.

Hamilton had topped first practice on Friday but struggled in the afternoon session with the balance of his car. The Briton started the session seemingly with the same issue evident when his Mercedes went wide on one of his laps during the early run.

“I can’t drive the car,” Hamilton reported over the radio at the halfway mark. "The car is so unstable now on the rear."

Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg and Force India driver Adrian Sutil ensured all four German drivers featured in the top ten.

After a promising show on Friday, McLaren appeared to struggle again. Jenson Button was 1.8 seconds slower than the top time in 11th while teammate Sergio Perez was further down in 15th.

Jules Bianchi recovered from the stomach bug that he was suffering from on Friday to complete 22 laps in his Marussia and record himself 20th on the charts.

 

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