Vettel leads the way in the German Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel at the Nurburgring
Sebastian Vettel at the Nurburgring
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Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel ended the first day of practice for the German Grand Prix on top.

The 26-year-old set the fastest time of the day in Friday’s second session, two tenths of a second faster than compatriot Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes.

Team-mate Mark Webber was third, five hundredths slower than Rosberg.

The second session was much warmer than the first earlier in the morning, suiting the RB9 far more. Webber was third in the first session too, but trailed Lewis Hamilton by over a second, while Vettel’s fastest time of 1m33.213s was only good enough for eighth.

“I wasn’t so happy with the car this morning and Mercedes were quick,” said Vettel. “But in the afternoon we were in better shape. We’ll see, but so far I am happy.”

Webber added: “It was okay today and we had dry weather, which was good – it meant we could get our runs done on both compounds and the new tyres seem okay.”

After several tyre blow-outs at Silverstone last weekend, the drivers announced yesterday (Thursday) they could boycott the race if Pirelli hadn’t provided safer tyres for the Grand Prix.

But so far, the drivers appear to be happier with the new compounds.

Webber said: “Pirelli have done what they can and gone back to tyres they know work here. It’s impossible to tell how they will affect the performance of the car – but it feels comfortable so far.”

Vettel added: “To be clear about yesterday and the GPDA meeting: the general agreement was that we’re happy Pirelli bought a new specification of tyre for this event and want to thank them for their flexibility and reaction times – they were able to find a solution in only a couple of days.

“The circumstances that we raced under in Silverstone were not what we can accept, but I don’t think we will see those issues again.”