Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel were fastest during the first and second practice sessions for the 2013 Formula 1 German Grand Prix. Hamilton led an utterly dominant Mercedes 1-2 in the morning, with 1:31.754 to Nico Rosberg's late 1:31.793. Vettel, the defending world champion, has ground to make up on rivals Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen and is eager to impress in his home race. The German responded in the afternoon with 1:30.416 but Mercedes remain in the hunt for pole, with Rosberg, for whom this is also a home race, improving to 1:30.651.
Saturday will see the final practice session - a 60-minute period starting at 11am local time - followed by qualifying for Sunday's race.
The good news from the Nürburgring, so far anyway, is that the weather has been excellent; we've had sunshine and dry weather through both sessions on Friday and similar conditions are expected for the rest of the weekend. The better news is Pirelli's revised tyres have passed the first day without incident, following the multiple tyre failures at Silverstone, in the British Grand Prix, last week.
Where to Watch Final Practice Live
Live coverage of the final practice session starts at 9.45am BST on Sky Sports F1. Radio commentary is on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra and starts at 9.55am BST. Real time internet updates are available on the Live Timing section of the sport's website.
Where to Watch Qualifying Live
Live coverage of the qualifying session starts at 12pm BST on Sky Sports F1. Radio commentary is on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra and starts at 12.55pm BST. Real time Internet updates are available on the Live Timing section of the sport's website.
Friday Practice Review
Hamilton and Rosberg were followed by Vettel's Red Bull team mate, Mark Webber in the morning session. The Australian, in his final year of Formula 1 racing, could only manage 1:32.789 for third but was still comfortably faster than Vettel's 1:33.213.
Lotus-Renault and Ferrari had mixed sessions, with Kimi Raikkonen taking fifth on 1:3.956 for the former and Alonso's electrical problem ruling him out of the session for the latter. Their respective team-mates, Romain Grosjean and Felipe Massa, finished ninth and sixth. Force India's Adrian Sutil produced an excellent drive to fourth in the session, with a best of 1:32.822.
Vettel upped the stakes in the second session, posting an impressive 1:30.416 to hold off Rosberg on 1:30.651. The two Germans are set for an epic battle in their home race and Mercedes will be just as keen to get one over their championship rivals Red Bull, in their home race.
Webber retained third place and remains a dark horse on this track; the 36-year-old enjoys racing on the Nürburgring, having won in 2009 and placed third in 2011. Lotus-Renault's concerns about the slightly colder weather affecting their car appear to be unfounded, after Grosjean and Raikkonen finished fourth and fifth in the afternoon. Ferrari, however, continue to struggle with outright pace; Alonso and Massa finished fifth and sixth, with the latter 0.643s off Vettel's pace.
Weather forecasts predict a bright and sunshine-filled Saturday at the Nürburgring, with temperatures expected to touch 25C throughout the afternoon. There is a maximum of 20% cloud cover and humidity in the 50% range for most of the day. Overall, and at the risk of incurring the commentator's curse, expect a perfect day for racing.