Sebastian Vettel was quickest in Friday’s second practice session for the German Grand Prix as the revamped Pirelli tires survived their first test without incident. Following a plethora of punctures at Silverstone last week, the drivers threatened to boycott the race at the Nurburgring if there were similar threats to their safety. That statement was clarified by the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association on Friday to state that it was an merely an option they were considering, as Vettel explained.
“It wasn't a threat, you must have got it wrong," the Red Bull driver told Sky Sports."We expressed that we trust Pirelli, and it was a good day today, but we also expressed that should there be any incident we would think about something like that [a boycott].
"Fortunately, nothing happened today. The tires were fine. We didn't say, 'We won't race'. We said first of all we trust that within a couple of days the steps that Pirelli took are working, which they were today despite high tire wear -- especially on the soft tire. “
Vettel was forced to retire at the British Grand Prix, but looked good to be in a position to once again extend his lead in the drivers’ championship this weekend. Nico Rosberg, who took the checkered flag last week, was also strong in practice, finishing second in both sessions, in the first to his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton. Rosberg believes whichever team adjusts better to the new tires could be key.
“We want to understand them quicker and better than the other teams,” he said, according to the Formula One website. “Generally it seems that we are quick again over one lap and the long run was not bad. It's difficult to predict where we are, because you never know exactly about the fuel levels of the others. Also it's going to get warmer on Sunday and this could change also the whole picture again.”
Red Bull appeared strong both in their one-lap and race pace, with Mark Webber recording the third quickest time in the afternoon. Next quickest were the Lotuses of Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen, with the Finn’s fellow-championship challenger Fernando Alonso just ahead of his Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa in sixth. After being off the pace last week, Alonso, who claimed pole and the victory in Germany last year, believes Ferrari are getting back on track.
“Today went better than last Friday and even if there is still a long way to go, in general we seem to have made a step forward and returned to the level of competitiveness which we had prior to Silverstone,” he said.
Where to watch: Qualifying for the British Grand Prix will get underway at 8 a.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by the NBC Sports Network, with a live stream available on NBC Sports Live Extra.