German GP: Qualifying Report

McLaren have dominated the practice sessions at Hockenheim this year so many believe they will have a strong qualifying. However Massa, Alonso and Vettel also look to be doing well and could prove to be McLaren s strongest contenders during qualifying.

The qualifying session starts mainly dry with just a few spots of rain, however there are ominous dark clouds around the circuit and it is predicted that rain might start to fall during the session.

Q1
Nico Rosberg is the first man to set a time with a 1:17.522, closely followed by Adrian Sutil with a 1:21.405.

With 16 minutes remaining, Fisichella is the first man to take an off-track excursion as he comes off the circuit at Turn One.

With 12 minutes to go, the Ferraris look like the cars to beat Raikkonen is quickest, closely followed by Massa, with the Ferrari drivers being the only two drivers to post a time under 1 minute 16. However neither McLaren has yet taken to the track.

With 11 minutes to go, both McLarens get on track Kovalainen splits the two Ferraris, before Lewis Hamilton goes top despite making an error during his lap.

With 3 minutes to go, Nelson Piquet is the slowest man on the track with a 1:17.044. He is the only man yet to post a time under 1 minute 17. Massa goes quickest and is the first man to post a time under 1 minute 15 with a 1:14.921. Raikkonen goes second.

Kubica looks to be blocked by the Force India of Fisichella who was on a fast lap. Piquet, who fails to get through to the second qualifying session, tells his team Vettel got in his way on his last lap.

Fisichella, Sutil, Barrichello, Piquet and Nakajima are eliminated.

Q2
Raikkonen is the first man to set a time with a 1:14.949, however he is quickly knocked off the top spot by his team-mate Massa who posts a lap time of 1:14.747. Hamilton then tops them both with a 1:14.603. It appears that Raikkonen is struggling a little with his Ferrari, with Massa and Hamilton being the men to beat.

Kovalainen overshoots the last corner and runs wide. Despite this, he improves from fourth to third however it is questionable why he felt the need to go out again and use another set of soft tyres.

Bourdais goes in too deep to the hairpin, locks his wheels and goes off-track onto the run-off strips. He is able to rejoin without any difficulties however he has ruined his hot lap a problem as he is currently sitting in the drop zone.

Vettel has a superb run and just as the time remaining ticks down to zero, he manages P8. However he is soon pushed down to P9 thanks to David Coulthard as Alonso puts in a stonking lap to go P4.

The surprise of the session is Nick Heidfeld who doesn t make it to Q3 a replay shows he does the same thing as Bourdais, ruining his final hot lap.

Bourdais, Button, Rosberg, Heidfeld and Glock are eliminated. Hamilton, Massa, Kovalainen, Alonso, Raikkonen, Kubica Trulli, Coulthard, Vettel and Webber are all through to the top ten shoot-out.

Q3
Trulli is the first man out on track and he sets an initial time of 1:17.126. Raikkonen starts a flying lap on the softer tyre however he makes two mistakes in the first two corners. Unsurprisingly, his team-mate is once again quicker.

With four and a half minutes remaining, all ten cars are out on track. On the way into the stadium, Kovalainen runs wide and takes a trip across the gravel and grass. He rejoins safely.

Alonso puts in a flying lap to go P2. Massa is still the man to beat.

Raikkonen improves from P5 to P2. Massa puts in a flying lap to improve his time. Kovalainen goes P2, before Hamilton goes P1 with a 1:15.666. Alonso puts in a flying lap to P4 before he is pushed down to P5 by Trulli. Raikkonen has now been pushed to P6.

The top ten for tomorrow s Hockenheim Grand Prix is currently set to:
1. Hamilton
2. Massa
3. Kovalainen
4. Trulli
5. Alonso
6. Raikkonen
7. Kubica
8. Webber
9. Vettel
10. Coulthard