F1 2013 German Grand Prix: Hamilton off practice pace ahead of qualifying

PUBLISHED: 17:56 05 July 2013 | UPDATED: 17:56 05 July 2013

F1 driver Lewis Hamilton on track in practice ahead of the 2013 German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring circuit [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]

F1 driver Lewis Hamilton on track in practice ahead of the 2013 German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring circuit [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]

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FORMULA 1 racer Lewis Hamilton was only eighth fastest in second practice ahead of qualifying for the 2013 German Grand Prix.

The 28-year-old Mercedes F1 driver from Hertfordshire was only eighth fastest in second practice at the Nürburgring circuit, after topping the morning timesheets.

He clocked 1m 31.754s in FP1 and then 1m 31.304s in the second session.

Silver Arrows colleague and British GP winner Nico Rosberg was second quickest in both sessions.

The Mercedes duo completed a total of 123 laps in Germany today, equivalent to just over two race distances, on the new Pirelli tyres.

2013 German Grand Prix

Nurburgring facts and stats

* Race distance: 60 laps (308.623km/191.778 miles)

* Start time: 14:00 (local)/12:00 (GMT)

* Circuit length: 5.148km/3.199 miles

* 2011 winner: Lewis Hamilton (McLaren MP4-26) 60 laps in 1hr37m30.334s (189.911km/h)

* 2011 pole: Mark Webber (Red Bull RB7) 1m30.079s (205.739km/h)

*Lap record: Michael Schumacher (Ferrari F2004) 1m29.468s (207.144km/h)

Stevenage-born Hamilton said: “It’s been a reasonable day of practice for us.

“This morning went pretty well and the car felt good, but then we made some changes which didn’t quite work out for us this afternoon.”

Both Mercedes drivers found an understeer balance during the day, which the team will work to improve overnight.

Hamilton said: “The car felt a little off balance during P2, so we’ll have a look into that overnight and probably backtrack on some of those changes for tomorrow.

“I’m sure we will be back on form for P3.”

German Rosberg, who took the chequered flag at Silverstone last Sunday, said: “It was an interesting day for us as we had to adapt to the new tyres.

“They are different and require a different set-up, so today was a good opportunity to learn something. We want to understand them quicker and better than the other teams.

“Generally it seems that we are quick again over one lap and the long run was not bad.

F1 driver Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes garage ahead of the 2013 German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring circuit [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]F1 driver Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes garage ahead of the 2013 German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring circuit [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]

“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.”

Mercedes principal Ross Brawn said: “We had a good session of race preparation this afternoon, with our priority being to complete long runs with fuel on the new tyre construction.

“Both Lewis and Nico were running with understeer today, so we still have work to do to improve the car balance for them.

“The circuit itself was picking up grip quite quickly and we didn’t quite get the set-up correct as we tried to track it.

F1 driver Nico Rosberg during practice for the 2013 German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]F1 driver Nico Rosberg during practice for the 2013 German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]

“However, the priority was to collect plenty of information about the new tyres for both tomorrow [Saturday] and Sunday, which we managed to do.

“The car seemed reasonably competitive and that’s reassuring, as we know there is still more performance to be found when the drivers are fully comfortable with the car.”

Of the new Pirellis, Mercedes director Toto Wolff added: “The new tyres ran without any incidents and we learned a lot about them, even if there are clearly some areas where we can still improve.

“The car balance was not great, but both Lewis and Nico seemed quite competitive, so hopefully we can take another step forward tomorrow.

“The weather is forecast to warm up, so we will need to make the right changes tonight in order to anticipate the warmer conditions over the weekend.”

Qualifying for the 2013 German Grand Prix starts at 1pm on Saturday.

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