Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Nurburgring, 2011

Alonso leads the Red Bulls in first practice

2011 German GP first practicePosted on | Author Keith Collantine

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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Image ?? Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo