Fernando Alonso claimed day one bragging rights for Ferrari at Hockenheim, posting the fastest time in second free practice as he and team-mate Felipe Massa mixed it with Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber at the top of the timesheets.
Alonso and Vettel traded fastest times as the forecast rains held off and the German circuit slowly began to cast off the last of its tricky damp patches, eventually stopping the clocks at 1min 16.265secs to take top spot by the scant margin of 0.029secs. Ferrari team-mate Massa was third fastest, but over a tenth adrift of Vettel's time, with the second RB6 of Webber in fourth, three-tenths off the pace.
There was another couple of tenths back to fifth place, where Nico Rosberg comfortably edged out Mercedes team-mate Michael Schumacher, although the elder statesman will have no doubt been happier with his performance after languishing down in 23rd spot in the first session, complaining about the Three Pointed Star's F-duct system.
Man of the session, Alonso aside, was Lewis Hamilton, who looked set to prop up the timesheets as he sat out the entire dry opening half-hour and watched as the first drops of rain returned, his McLaren still in pieces following his morning accident. However, with the precipitation coming to nothing, and his McLaren crew continuing to work hard in an effort to return their man to the track in time for some meaningful dry track running and diffuser evaluation, the 2008 world champion managed to complete ten laps, rapidly elevating himself to seventh overall, a respectable seven-tenths off the pace, but with only a fraction of the laps under his belt.
The top ten was completed by Robert Kubica, Rubens Barrichello and Nico Hulkenberg, Williams again going well after recent developments, while FP1 pacesetters Adrian Sutil and Jenson Button slipped back to 14th and 15th respectively, behind Sauber twins Kamui Kobayashi and Pedro de la Rosa, who sandwiched Vitaly Petrov in twelfth spot.
Again, as in the morning, the still damp surface caused more than a few moments, although none as terminal as Hamilton's earlier meeting with the tyre wall. Kobayashi and Heikki Kovalainen were notable proponents of opposite lock, while even the venerable Schumacher went sailing down the inside of another car at the hairpin, having misjudged the lack of traction.
Timo Glock eventually headed the newcomers' 'division', converting his pre-race confidence into 19th spot ahead of both Lotus drivers, while Virgin team-mate Lucas di Grassi also managed to split Jarno Trulli and Kovalainen, although the Finn suffered by missing the morning session after handing over to reserve Fairuz Fauzy. Sakon Yamamoto brought up the rear, some 6.8secs off Alonso's time.