Fernando Alonso kept his momentum going following his British Grand Prix win by topping the times in the opening practice session for the German GP on Friday.
The Ferrari driver, who scored his first win of the season at Silverstone two weeks ago, was the only man to lap the Nurburgring circuit in the 1m31s. Alonso finished ahead of Red Bull duo Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel, who were over three tenths slower than the Spaniard.
Ferrari completed a solid start to the weekend thanks to Felipe Massa's fourth fastest time, the Brazilian outpacing the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton, who was fifth fastest but over a second off Alonso's pace. Jenson Button, Nico Rosberg, Adrian Sutil, Nico Hulkenberg and Michael Schumacher completed the top 10.
Renault's Nick Heidfeld was the first driver to complete a timed lap after 20 minutes, the German trying out the new rear-facing exhaust system introduced by the team this weekend.
Local hero Nico Rosberg jumped to the top of the times moments later with a lap of 1m35.11s, before he was demoted by Hamilton, who lapped in the 1m34s only to improve by over 1.4sec on his following lap. A few minutes later, the Briton moved into the 1m32s, leaving Rosberg two seconds off his pace.
Hamilton was relegated to second place with some 52 minutes of the session to go, when Vettel outpaced him by two tenths of a second in the Red Bull.
Alonso leaped to the top of the times just after the one-hour mark, the Spaniard stopping the clock at 1m32.037s. The Ferrari driver improved even further on his following lap, moving into the 1m31s and outpacing Webber by over two tenths, the Australian having jumped to second.
The session was yellow-flagged with less than a minute to go when Toro Rosso's Sebastien Buemi went off the track at high speed at Turn 5. The Swiss driver was lucky to avoid contact with anything and his car ended up stuck on the gravel.
Karun Chandhok made his debut as an official racing driver for Team Lotus, the Indian having a rather productive session on his way to the 21st quickest time of the day. He finished two seconds behind teammate Heikki Kovalainen.
Narain Karthikeyan was back in action after losing his HRT seat to Daniel Ricciardo, the India replacing Tonio Liuzzi for the opening session.
The circuit was covered by a grey clouds during the 90 minutes, but rain held off for the whole session.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m31.894s 30
2. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m32.217s + 0.323 24
3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m32.268s + 0.374 27
4. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m32.681s + 0.787 23
5. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m32.996s + 1.102 18
6. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m33.628s + 1.734 22
7. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m33.787s + 1.893 33
8. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m33.832s + 1.938 27
9. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m33.858s + 1.964 26
10. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m33.863s + 1.969 31
11. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1m34.094s + 2.200 22
12. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m35.115s + 3.221 23
13. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m35.371s + 3.477 20
14. Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1m35.389s + 3.495 24
15. Nick Heidfeld Renault 1m35.444s + 3.550 22
16. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m36.371s + 4.477 22
17. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1m36.392s + 4.498 29
18. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1m36.842s + 4.948 29
19. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m36.882s + 4.988 27
20. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m38.504s + 6.610 22
21. Karun Chandhok Lotus-Renault 1m38.765s + 6.871 19
22. Daniel Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth 1m39.279s + 7.385 24
23. Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1m40.109s + 8.215 23
24. Jerome D'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1m40.428s + 8.534 22
All Timing Unofficial