Fernando Alonso and Ferrari set the pace in German Grand Prix final practice

Fernando Alonso set the pace for Ferrari as a late rain shower hampered teams' efforts in what was otherwise a fully dry final free practice session for the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim

Fernando Alonso and Ferrari set the pace in German Grand Prix final practice

The Formula 1 championship leader hit the front with 26 minutes to go when he became the first man to try soft tyres and set a 1m16.124s.

Lewis Hamilton actually managed to beat that mark by 0.033 seconds despite still having medium tyres on his McLaren, but Alonso's second soft tyre run put back on top with a 1m16.014s.

Whether that mark would have stood to the end on a dry track would remain a moot point, as rain returned in the final six minutes, preventing the usual flurry of late improvements as teams went into full qualifying mode.

In the event, Hamilton managed to improve his sector one time despite the rain, but would stay second.

Sauber's Sergio Perez also showed impressive pace amid drizzle to take third, ahead of the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen, and the two Red Bulls. Mark Webber was ahead of long-time pacesetter Sebastian Vettel in the end, although the Australian will take a gearbox change penalty in qualifying and lose five places on the grid.

Pastor Maldonado, Felipe Massa, Kamui Kobayashi and Bruno Senna completed the top 10.

Michael Schumacher, Nico Rosberg and Jenson Button were among the drivers who appeared to be focused on longer and heavy fuel runs until the last minutes, leaving them only 15th, 18th and 24th in the final times.

There were few incidents, mar Massa run wide over the bumpy grass on the stadium entry, so the biggest drama was Charles Pic missing much of the session while Marussia carried out a rapid engine change.

Pos  Driver                Team                  Time               Laps
 1.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari               1m16.014s            14
 2.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes      1m16.091s  + 0.077   21
 3.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari        1m16.202s  + 0.188   21
 4.  Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault         1m16.238s  + 0.224   27
 5.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault      1m16.447s  + 0.433   19
 6.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault      1m16.475s  + 0.461   18
 7.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault      1m16.664s  + 0.650   18
 8.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari               1m16.771s  + 0.757   15
 9.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari        1m16.801s  + 0.793   25
10.  Bruno Senna           Williams-Renault      1m16.930s  + 0.916   23
11.  Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault         1m16.962s  + 0.948   26
12.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes  1m17.033s  + 1.019   26
13.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes  1m17.148s  + 1.134   24
14.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m17.238s  + 1.224   25
15.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes              1m17.266s  + 1.252   22
16.  Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m17.419s  + 1.405   23
17.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes              1m17.491s  + 1.477   26
18.  Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham-Renault      1m18.366s  + 2.352   21
19.  Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault      1m18.818s  + 2.804   23
20.  Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth          1m19.778s  + 3.764   22
21.  Timo Glock            Marussia-Cosworth     1m20.235s  + 4.221   22
22.  Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth     1m20.318s  + 4.304    9
23.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth          1m20.741s  + 4.727   22
24.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes      1m20.914s  + 4.900   25

All Timing Unofficial
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