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Friday, July 18, 2008

Hamilton dominates Friday at Hockenheim

Lewis Hamilton threw down the gauntlet Friday at Hockenheim, dominating both practice sessions for the German Grand Prix.

Despite some morning rain, Hamilton ’s 1:15.537 on an improving circuit. Teammate Heikki Kovalainen 1:15.666 set in the waning seconds of the session made it a McLaren 1-2.

Felipe Massa was the first of the Ferrari’s in third, with Fernando Alonso’s Renault in fourth and Kimi Raikkonen in fifth.

Robert Kubica provided a bit of excitement, putting his BMW Sauber into a tire wall in the stadium section and finishing 19th for the session.

The second session saw the sun emerge, and again it was Hamilton leading the way with a time of 1:15.025.

This time, however it was Massa and Raikkonen in third and fourth, respectively, as Massa traded fast times with Hamilton throughout the session.

Kovalainen was fourth in the second McLaren, with the Red Bull of Mark Webber rounding out the top five.

Further down the grid, Nico Rosberg’s Williams looked solid in both sessions, the German will be hoping this time his pace holds through the weekend, and fellow German Sebastian Vettel was well on the pace of David Coulthard, the man he will replace next year at Red Bull.

Hamilton will be looking to make a statement heading into the second half of the season, fresh off winning his home race and racing in front of the Mercedes crowd at Hockenheim.

Last week’s tests seem to indicate it will again be a battle between Ferrari and McLaren. Raikkonen is on record saying he hopes it will be a hot race -- the Ferrari tends to gain a leg up in hot weather because it is easier on its tires – but with rain in the forecast the Scuderia may have to do without that advantage.

With his difficulties in Canada , France and Great Britain , the Finn will be wanting to get his title defense back on track. Currently in a three-way tie at the top of the drivers championship, he will not only have to contend with Hamilton , but his own teammate, Massa.

Qualifying kicks off at 2 pm local time.

Morning session:
  1. Hamilton, McLaren, 1:15.537
  2. Kovalainen, McLaren, 1:15.666
  3. Massa , Ferrari, 1:15.796
  4. Alonso, Renault, 1:16.163
  5. Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:16.327
  6. Rosberg, Williams, 1:16.606
  7. Vettel, Toro Rosso, 1:16.618
  8. Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 1:16.719
  9. Nakajima, Williams, 1:16.821
  10. Piquet, Renault, 1:17.063
  11. Coulthard, Red Bull, 1:17.108
  12. Button, Honda, 1:17.131
  13. Glock, Toyota , 1:17.185
  14. Webber, Red Bull, 1:17.268
  15. Fisichella, Force India , 1:17.47
  16. Barrichello, Honda, 1:17.500
  17. Trulli, Toyota , 1:17.556
  18. Sutil, Force India , 1:17.784
  19. Kubica, BMW Sauber, 1:18.779
  20. Bourdais, Toro Rosso, 1:21.506
Afternoon session
  1. Hamilton, McLaren. 1:15.025
  2. Massa , Ferrari, 1:15.722
  3. Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:15.760
  4. Kovalainen, McLaren, 1:15.990
  5. Webber, Red Bull, 1:16.017
  6. Alonso, Renault 1:16.230
  7. Rosberg, Williams, 1:16.355
  8. Kubica, BMW Sauber, 1:16.363
  9. Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 1:16.377
  10. Coulthard, Red Bull,1:16.378
  11. Vettel, Toro Rosso, 1:16.422
  12. Trulli, Toyota , 1:16.530
  13. Button, Honda, 1:16.542
  14. Barrichello, Honda, 1:16.677
  15. Piquet, Renault, 1:16.734
  16. Glock, Toyota , 1:16.781
  17. Nakajima, Williams, 1:16.829
  18. Bourdais, Toro Rosso, 1:16.860
  19. Sutil, Force India , 1:17.008
  20. Fisichella, Force India , 1:17.047
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