There was no sign of the tyre blowouts which marred last weekend's British Grand Prix in Friday's two practice sessions in Germany with Lewis Hamilton and local hero Sebastian Vettel leading the way.

Hamilton, who won at the Nuerburgring two years ago with McLaren, topped the timesheets in the first session ahead of Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg while championship leader Vettel was only eighth fastest.

However, the German triple world champion, who has never won a Formula One race on home asphalt or in July, sped around the track with the day's top time of one minute 30.416 in the afternoon session.

Rosberg was second fastest again with a 1:30.651 as Mercedes were roared on by small pockets of home fans sprinkled among the half empty stands at the rural western German venue. Hamilton was only eighth fastest.

Red Bull's Mark Webber, preparing for his final German Grand Prix as he quits for endurance racing at the end of the season, was third quickest in both practice runs at the circuit where he took his first Formula One victory in 2009.

The Grand Prix Drivers' Association announced on Thursday that they will withdraw from Sunday's race if the multiple tyre blow-outs seen at Silverstone occur again but both practice sessions were free of incident.

After the intervention of the governing FIA, Pirelli has brought upgraded rear tyres to the Nuerburgring with an inner belt made of the synthetic fibre Kevlar rather than steel.

The cooler tyres were expected to aid Mercedes and Red Bull, based on this season's analysis, and practice bore that out.

The tyres are not totally new to the teams as Pirelli offered them for practice in Canada last month but bad weather meant teams used them sparingly and did not gather much data.

 

Source: Reuters