German GP | Rosberg tops FP3 for three in three

Nico Rosberg tops the final practice session at the German Grand Prix.

With the fastest time in the final practice session, Nico Rosberg retained his 100% record at the 2016 German Grand Prix. Hamilton had taken the lead from his German team-mate earlier in the session, but Nico replied to top the timesheet by five-hundredths of a second.

Throughout the weekend, Rosberg has held the advantage over Hamilton with the fastest laps in both FP1 and two.

This theme continued into qualifying day, with Rosberg edging Hamilton for the fastest time in the final practice session.

Vettel had taken the early lead on the supersoft tyres prior to the Mercedes running. When Rosberg demoted his fellow German by three-tenths of a second before Hamilton matched his opening two sector times.

Hamilton’s final sector, meanwhile, was better than his team-mate’s. With Lewis moving into the top spot by two-tenths of a second, before dipping into the 1:15s.

Rosberg later found time of his own to regain the top spot from Hamilton before departing his car prior to the chequered flag. While Hamilton returned to the circuit for one final run, where no time could be found.

Late runs by Ricciardo, Hulkenberg and Alonso all saw the trio find gains on their previous runs. With the Force India and McLaren moving into the top 10 – albeit just over a second off the pace of the Mercedes.

As for Ricciardo, his final run promoted the Australian into the top three, just one-tenth down on the pace-setting Silver Arrow.

At the other end of the time sheet, Pascal Wehrlein ended the hour-long session a slender two-thousandths of a second up on his team-mate for 20th.

Haryanto’s Formula One future still remains in doubt. With his Manor seat supposedly up for sale for a driver who can bring funding to the team to the sound of €7 million.

Behind the Manor duo on the FP3 timesheet, meanwhile, was Romain Grosjean.

Grosjean found his final practice session of the weekend a trying time with a gearbox issue hampering his session. The gearbox will also now need to be changed ahead of qualifying.

As for his FP3 session, a moment coming out of turn three when he placed the power down saw his Haas spin onto the grass – to which Romain groaned: “Guys are you sure the aero is correct? I almost stopped… Oh the gearbox, I don’t know what is happening.”

Other drivers found issues of their own in FP3, with Verstappen claiming his battery was not charging and Button found his McLaren was understeering too much.

Jenson, returning to action after a hospital trip on Friday for an unknown object irritating his eye, was also not happy with rear grip. Stating “Oooh very loose rear”.

As for the current championship leader, Hamilton came under investigation for an unsafe release when Romain Grosjean was forced to brake in the pit lane as Lewis crept out of his garage. “Interesting from Mercedes,” bemoaned Romain.

After Thursday’s Strategy Group request to ease track limits was denied on Friday by Charlie Whiting, the track limits timing loop has been pushed further back at turn one after the exit kerb was found to be placed in the wrong location.

Drivers can now run further across the exit kerb as they attack the opening corner before any penalties will be applied, with the three strikes rule remaining in place.

The battle on track limits now appears to be a standoff between the teams and Bernie Ecclestone against the FIA race director, Charlie Whiting. With Charlie retaining his stance of keeping the track limits in place for safety measures as the run-offs are designed for the painted white line track limits.

Pos Driver Laps Time Gap
1 Nico Rosberg 16 1’15.738
2 Lewis Hamilton 19 1’15.795 0.057
3 Daniel Ricciardo 13 1’15.837 0.099
4 Kimi Raikkonen 16 1’15.902 0.164
5 Sebastian Vettel 20 1’16.104 0.366
6 Max Verstappen 23 1’16.182 0.444
7 Valtteri Bottas 28 1’16.400 0.662
8 Felipe Massa 26 1’16.630 0.892
9 Fernando Alonso 11 1’16.916 1.178
10 Nico Hulkenberg 16 1’16.972 1.234
11 Carlos Sainz Jr. 20 1’17.028 1.29
12 Sergio Perez 10 1’17.066 1.328
13 Esteban Gutierrez 17 1’17.160 1.422
14 Daniil Kvyat 19 1’17.227 1.489
15 Kevin Magnussen 9 1’17.351 1.613
16 Jolyon Palmer 23 1’17.473 1.735
17 Marcus Ericsson 19 1’17.685 1.947
18 Felipe Nasr 24 1’18.057 2.319
19 Jenson Button 6 1’18.093 2.355
20 Pascal Wehrlein 24 1’18.270 2.532
21 Rio Haryanto 18 1’18.272 2.534
22 Romain Grosjean 4 1’25.160 9.422