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Mercedes one-two in opening German GP practice
5 July 2013
Lewis Hamilton headed a Mercedes 1-2 in the first F1 session of the German Grand Prix weekend as the 90 minutes passed off without any repeat of earlier tyre problems.
With all eyes focused on the tyre situation, particularly as the FI issued a pre-session missive instructing the teams how to pressure and camber their rubber for the weekend, it was somewhat ironic that Mercedes – which took part in a contentious three-day test with Pirelli after the Spanish Grand Prix – dominated the morning's running, with Hamilton a couple of tenths clear of team-mate Nico Rosberg and a full second faster than third-placed Mark Webber.
Behind the Silver Arrows, the times were more closely bunched, with Webber just a matter of hundredths ahead of Force India's Adrian Sutil, and Kimi Raikkonen, Felipe Massa, Jenson Button, Sebastian Vettel and Romain Grosjean all within touching distance of the Australian. Sergio Perez rounded out the top ten in the second McLaren, a further couple of tenths adrift.
Conspicuous by his absence from the leading group was Fernando Alonso, who twice slowed on out-laps and failed to record a time during the 90 minutes. The Spaniard ground to a halt at his first attempt and only just managed to recover to the pits second time around, before spending more time up on stands as the team eventually pointed the finger of blame towards the F138's ECU.
Elsewhere outside the top, Nico Hulkenberg gave struggling Sauber a minor morale boost with twelfth spot, ahead of both the Toro Rossos which had starred at Silverstone, while Williams kicked off its 600th race celebrations in low key fashion with 15th and 16th for Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas respectively.
Ahead of Alonso, Rodolfo Gonzalez brought up the rear of those setting times, the Venezuelan returning to the cockpit of Marussia's MR02 at the expense of Jules Bianchi, but lapping nearly six seconds off the pace.
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