F1: Practice session is tyre-incident free as Sebastian Vettel sets the pace at the German Grand Prix

There had been fears over the Pirelli tyres

Sebastian Vettel is ready to take the fight to Mercedes this weekend following two incident-free practice sessions ahead of the German Grand Prix.

The sport of Formula One held its collective breath prior to the two 90-minute outings at the Nurburgring in the wake of the tyre debacle that unfolded in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone last weekend.

All the talk beforehand had centred on a threatened boycott of this event made by the Grand Prix Drivers' Association.

That followed a meeting between the GPDA and Pirelli race director Mario Isola yesterday at the circuit.

The Association made their position crystal clear, stating they would withdraw should there be a repeat of the dangerous blowouts witnessed at Silverstone, especially during the race itself.

Pirelli has at least reacted quickly, and for this weekend only the cars are running on rear tyres with belts made of Kevlar - a high-strength synthetic fibre which is more resistant to punctures - as opposed to the steel previously used.

Just over two hours before the start of the session the teams were also issued with a directive from FIA race director Charlie Whiting, following a request from Pirelli.

Earlier this week Pirelli claimed teams' switching of the rear tyres, running with pressures too high and excessive cambers, were all part of the problem behind the failures five days ago that put the lives of drivers, fans and marshals at risk.

The teams have now been asked to run their tyres at the correct pressures, with the appropriate camber, and that swapping is no longer permissible.

Come the conclusion to today's practice it is a case of so far, so good, although it is worth remembering the first incident at Silverstone did not occur until Sergio Perez's blow-out on Saturday morning.

After the first session Mercedes appeared to be a class apart, with Lewis Hamilton narrowly ahead of team-mate Nico Rosberg, but with nearest challenger in Mark Webber a staggering second off the pace.

Come the conclusion to FP2, it was reigning triple world champion Vettel who held sway as the teams tested the quicker of the two compounds available for this race, the soft as opposed to the medium that had been used in FP1.

Vettel, who has never won his home race - and more remarkably has never won a grand prix in the month of July in 12 attempts - posted a time of one minute 30.416secs in his Red Bull.

Rosberg, as in FP1 behind Hamilton, was second and 0.235secs adrift, with the Briton 0.888secs down in eighth place.

Sandwiched in between was the second Red Bull of Webber, Lotus duo Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean and Ferrari pair Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa.

For Alonso the session was more productive than his first in which he failed to set a time due to his car sustaining an electrical fault that kept him in the garage for all bar two installation laps.

Behind Hamilton were fellow Britons Jenson Button in his McLaren and Force India's Paul Di Resta, 1.152secs and 1.381secs behind Vettel respectively.

At the bottom of the timesheet was the last of the British quartet in Marussia's Max Chilton, 4.251secs down and 0.6secs behind team-mate Jules Bianchi who only managed 10 laps due to a technical problem.


Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
world cup 2014A history of the third-place play-offs
Tommy Ramone performing at The Old Waldorf Nightclub in 1978 in San Francisco, California.
peopleDrummer Tommy was last surviving member of seminal band
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
The Mexico chief finally lets rip as his emotions get the better of him
world cup 2014
Spectators photograph the Tour de France riders as they make their way through the Yorkshire countryside
voicesHoward Jacobson: Line the streets for a cycling race? You might just as well watch a swarm of wasps
Life and Style
lifeHere's one answer to an inquisitive Reddit user's question
Life and Style
Several male celebrities have confessed to being on a diet, including, from left to right, Hugh Grant, Benedict Cumberbatch and Ryan Reynolds
...and the weight loss industry is rubbing its hands in glee
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Arts and Entertainment
'Eminem's recovery from substance abuse has made him a more potent performer, with physical charisma and energy he never had before'
arts + entsReview: Wembley Stadium ***
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice