Alonso leads the Red Bulls in first practice

2011 German GP first practice

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Nurburgring, 2011

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Nurburgring, 2011

Fernando Alonso was fastest for Ferrari in the first practice session at the Nurburgring.

The British Grand Prix winner served further notice of Ferrari’s improved pace by edging the Red Bulls to fastest time by two-tenths of a second.

Lewis Hamilton led the way early on, using Pirelli’s new development soft tyre to set the quickest time.

The Red Bulls showed their hand soon after, Sebastian Vettel displacing Hamilton at the top of the times.

Meanwhile Alonso was running the standard medium tyre and lapping around a second off the pace. When he switched to the development tyres he was instantly on Vettel’s pace.

The pair traded quickest time briefly, separated by a few hundredths of a second, before Alonso went decisively faster. Mark Webber improved to second place, a little over two-tenths of a second off Alonso, with Vettel close behind.

Alonso was on course to improve later in the session before being held up by Nick Heidfeld at the chicane.

Heidfeld was testing a revised exhaust configuration on the Renault which blow gasses out of the rear of the car instead of the side. But some smoke from the back of the car was noticeable during the session.

Michael Schumacher had a few off-track moments during the session, losing the back of the car at the Dunlop hairpin and bouncing through the gravel. He at least took the opportunity to wave to the fans as he passed close by the barrier.

He had a similar problem at the first hairpin on one lap, catching a sudden slide as the car got away from him.

He was far from the only driver to run in trouble at turn one – Rubens Barrichello and both Sauber drivers did likewise.

Karun Chandhok had a problematic start to his first F1 race weekend for over a year as his wing mirror fell out on his way down to the Dunlop hairpin.

He ended up 2.4s of team mate Heikki Kovalainen’s pace, and two-tenths off fellow Indian Narain Karthikeyan, who was driving Vitantonio Liuzzi’s car for this session only.

The session ended with a dramatic moment for Sebastien Buemi who spun off the track at turn five. The Toro Rosso briefly flew the air as he bounced over two gravel traps and a tarmac access road.

That didn’t trouble Alonso who, further up the road, lowered his best time once again to leave the Red Bulls over three tenths of a second behind.

Pos. Car Driver Car Best lap Gap
1 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’31.894 30
2 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’32.217 0.323 24
3 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’32.268 0.374 27
4 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’32.681 0.787 23
5 3 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’32.996 1.102 18
6 4 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’33.628 1.734 22
7 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’33.787 1.893 33
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
10 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’33.863 1.969 31
11 10 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’34.094 2.200 22
12 19 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’35.115 3.221 23
13 18 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’35.371 3.477 20
14 11 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’35.389 3.495 24
15 9 Nick Heidfeld Renault 1’35.444 3.550 22
16 17 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’36.371 4.477 22
17 20 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1’36.392 4.498 29
18 12 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1’36.842 4.948 29
19 16 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’36.882 4.988 27
20 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’38.504 6.610 22
21 21 Karun Chandhok Lotus-Renault 1’38.765 6.871 19
22 22 Daniel Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth 1’39.279 7.385 24
23 24 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1’40.109 8.215 23
24 25 Jerome D’Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1’40.428 8.534 22

2011 German Grand Prix

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32 comments on Alonso leads the Red Bulls in first practice

  1. Raj said on 22nd July 2011, 10:39

    Although it is premature to get excited by FP1, we could have fight for win in germany & possibly this season.. interesting to see how FP2 pans out..

  2. hoshi (@hoshi) said on 22nd July 2011, 10:44

    Looks likely that Ferrari have got upto RBRs pace
    sad that mclaren seem to have fallen behind..
    may be mercedes can catch mclaren and make for exciting battle for points

    btw the future of racing Ricciardo, was slower than Narain..i wonder why?

  3. IceMan said on 22nd July 2011, 10:45

    The usual trend.Ferrari leading the way on Fridays and Redbull blowing everyone away on saturdays. I am sure Vettal will take pole, But will be troudbled by fast starting Ferraris.

  4. George (@george) said on 22nd July 2011, 10:55

    Not looking good for McLaren, unless they’re holding something back they might get troubled by the Mercs.

  5. Pigmer (@pigmer) said on 22nd July 2011, 11:02

    Sounds interesting for Ferrari. You can say they will be quick since Massa is right behind RedBulls.

  6. Johnny86 said on 22nd July 2011, 11:02

    I think this puts to rest the theories by some guys that the reduction of gas though diffuser was the only reason that ferrari challenged rbr in silverstone.

  7. RBAlonso said on 22nd July 2011, 11:02

    8 seconds a lap is a long way off. I reckon that the 107% is 1’38.32 meaning Karun , both HRT’s and both Virgin’s would fail. obviously Q3 will be run on hard tyres so that effectively adds a second to the fastest time (and 107% equivilant) but nonetheless that would still lose the Virgins. Let’s hope they improve, we haven’t worries about this for a while now but with the front teams starting to improve I fear the “new” teams could struggle late in the season. Remember if you fail the 107% in qualifying they look at Practice.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 22nd July 2011, 11:04

      Virgin tweeted they did not use the softer tyres, so that makes quite a bit of time difference. Might be the other backmarkers were doing the same.

      • RBAlonso said on 22nd July 2011, 11:12

        Ah, good shout mate. Custard was at 109.3% tho so thought i’d point it out :) Might be close!

  8. Faraz (@faraz) said on 22nd July 2011, 11:02

    Ferrari seemed to have upped their game, so it seems like the Silverstone regs did not purposefully favour them. They have been doing some key development. Credit where it is due, they have done a good job.

  9. Come on Fernando!!!

  10. gazzap said on 22nd July 2011, 11:18

    Looks to me like McLaren’s season is over. Button a whole second off Massa. They are nowhere near the other two teams now. Ferrari have found A LOT from somewhere. Alonso said it was down to sorting out issues with their wind tunnel a few weeks ago. Looks like he was spot on. McLaren need to take heed.

    • bosyber said on 22nd July 2011, 12:25

      It could be, but on the other hand, earlier in te season McLaren have often ran friday with more fuel or less engine power, or something not showing all their pace until saturday. As has Red Bull. I would like Alonso to be clearly on par with Red Bull, but let’s see what this afternoon and tomorrow brings first.

  11. IceIcePenguin said on 22nd July 2011, 11:20

    Alonso should be on or near the top here. It’s a Santander sponsored race after all and there seems to be a trend of Alonso taking the Santander cups home.
    I imagine his excitement peaked when he was awarded the big yellowish cup and not another Santander logo again.

  12. DavidS (@davids) said on 22nd July 2011, 11:49

    Did anyone listening to the 5 Live Sports Extra commentary hear Crofty mention F1 Fanatic?

    Keith was schooling Crofty on F1 trivia via twitter.

  13. A4P said on 22nd July 2011, 12:07

    You’ve done it with the Brits at Silverstone. Now let’s shut some German mouths at Nurburgring, Fernando!!!

  14. Shomir said on 22nd July 2011, 13:08

    Anyone know why the Force India’s are suddenly so quick? Top teams sandbagging? or FI back to 2009 where they go bleedingly fast in certain tracks and suck in the rest???

  15. sumedh said on 22nd July 2011, 14:03

    If even Massa is 4 tenths quicker than Lewis, certainly, Ferrari is decisively quicker than Mclaren.

    Lets see what happens on saturday

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