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Vettel fastest in final practice

Sebastian Vettel, Nurburgring, 2011Sebastian Vettel set the pace in the final free practice session for the German Grand Prix as Red Bull proved the team to beat ahead of qualifying.

The world champion waited until the final lap of the session to go fastest with a 1m30.916s ahead of his team-mate Mark Webber.

Fernando Alonso was third fastest for Ferrari ahead of Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg's Mercedes.

Mercedes in fact continued to show encouraging pace this weekend as both drivers were a factor for much of the morning session

Rosberg was the first of the big guns to move to the top of the times after 20 minutes of the hour. His time of 1m34.872s was then eclipsed by team-mate Michael Schumacher five minutes later when the German went fastest with a 1m34.418s.

At half distance the McLarens moved the mark forward as Button lapped the track in 1m33.646s. Hamilton and Ferrari's Alonso also had moments at the top as the times tumbled quickly during this period with drivers finding some temperature on the very cold track.

Rosberg then emerged from the pits on a set of soft Pirellis, earlier than usual - perhaps to counter the fear of rain as the clouds rolled in.

The Mercedes driver went much faster with a 1m33.911s - which he then improved to a 1m31.694s. With 15 minutes to go, that time was still 0.697s faster than Sutil's Force India (a team which also showed pace this morning), while Schumacher - having survived a huge moment - was third.

Alonso then responded with 10 minutes to go with a 1m31.138s lap as a flurry of personal bests began smattering the times from several drivers who had switched to the softs.

Button had a crack at that time with six minutes left of the session but his lap, some 0.485s away from the Ferrari, was only good enough to bump Rosberg to third. Then Hamilton had a try and he too went second fastest, having lost time in the final sector. Red Bull's Mark Webber got even closer, just 0.040s shy of Alonso's lap.

Alonso by this time had dove back into the pits, having completed his programme but the Red Bulls continued on.

Webber then finally moved ahead with a 1m31.049s, only to see Vettel go faster still as the chequered flag fell.

Karun Chandhok added to the drama as the cars returned to the pits, the Indian having a dramatic spin in his Lotus at the final chicane.

Pos  Driver                Team                   Time              Laps
 1.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault       1m30.916s           15
 2.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault       1m31.049s  + 0.133  16
 3.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                1m31.138s  + 0.222  12
 4.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes       1m31.578s  + 0.662  13
 5.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes       1m31.623s  + 0.707  14
 6.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes               1m31.694s  + 0.778  19
 7.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari                1m32.144s  + 1.228  13
 8.  Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes   1m32.391s  + 1.475  20
 9.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes               1m32.523s  + 1.607  16
10.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Cosworth      1m32.751s  + 1.835  18
11.  Vitaly Petrov         Renault                1m32.777s  + 1.861  18
12.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes   1m32.813s  + 1.897  21
13.  Nick Heidfeld         Renault                1m33.072s  + 2.156  18
14.  Rubens Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth      1m33.179s  + 2.263  17
15.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari         1m33.531s  + 2.615  20
16.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari         1m33.671s  + 2.755  20
17.  Sebastien Buemi       Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1m33.948s  + 3.032  21
18.  Jaime Alguersuari     Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1m34.125s  + 3.209  19
19.  Heikki Kovalainen     Lotus-Renault          1m35.385s  + 4.469  13
20.  Timo Glock            Virgin-Cosworth        1m36.724s  + 5.808  21
21.  Tonio Liuzzi          HRT-Cosworth           1m36.804s  + 5.888  23
22.  Jerome D'Ambrosio     Virgin-Cosworth        1m36.894s  + 5.978  23
23.  Karun Chandhok        Lotus-Renault          1m36.959s  + 6.043  18
24.  Daniel Ricciardo      HRT-Cosworth           1m37.554s  + 6.638  22

All Timing Unofficial
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