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LIVE COMMENTARY: 2012 GERMAN GRAND PRIX - SATURDAY PRACTICE
   GO TO LIVE INDEX ALL TIMES GMT  
As it happened: Saturday practice
By Geoff Creighton, Emlyn Hughes and Simon Strang
The live commentary has ended. No further updates will be posted.
Webber08:55 Good morning everyone and welcome to AUTOSPORT Live for day two of coverage from the 2012 German Grand Prix - round 10 of the FIA Formula 1 world championship.

Teams and drivers faced two disrupted practice sessions yesterday, as frequent showers meant the track was never dry for more than a few minutes at a time. Jenson Button topped the drier morning session with a time of 1m16.595s, ahead of McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso, but the times generally proved meaningless.

Now the drivers have just 60 minutes left to perfect the set-up and find a good balance in preparation for qualifying and the race - but will the fickle weather allow them to do so?

Red Bull broke the overnight curfew in order to thoroughly investigate Mark Webber's gearbox. The unit could not be fixed and the Australian has to take a five-place grid penalty into tomorrow's race. The drop will be applied once qualifying has concluded.

Webber gets gearbox change penalty

08:56 Conditions were fine with bright sunshine earlier on, but the situation is changing quickly as we approach the start of final practice.

Dark clouds have begun to build around the Hockenheim region over the last hour and there is a chance of showers - even before the end of this session. Frequent showers are then expected to keep the racetrack in a changeable condition and there could be some heavy bursts during the qualifying hour.

A light northerly breeze will take the edge off temperatures, with a maximum of just 18 degrees Celsius this afternoon.

08:57 After another Friday disrupted by rain, teams are desperate for some dry running this morning to evaluate Pirelli's soft and medium compound tyres.

With the last visit here being before Pirelli entered the sport - and only a few laps in the dry yesterday - engineers will really want to make the most of this final hour to get a read on how the rubber is likely to perform in the race on Sunday.

But the weather is not being kind once again and the prospect of showers may force teams out early, attempting to get some laps on the board before any rain moves in.

08:59 Bruno Senna gives a wave to the watching world, as he tries to focus on what will be a busy programme of work in the next hour.

09:00 Jean-Eric Vergne is told over the radio that no rain is expected over the next 30 minutes, but possible showers after that.

0 min: The practice session is underway.

0 min: Vergne is one of the first out onto the track this morning. Ricciardo, Karthikeyan and Webber join him.

0 min: Raikkonen heads out without the double DRS intakes on his Lotus this morning.

1 min: Schumacher and Maldonado head out to begin their installation lap.

1 min: Major work in progress on Pic's Marussia, with little chance of that car heading out any time soon.

1 min: De la Rosa and Senna join the racetrack to see how their cars handle in bone dry conditions.

2 min: Grosjean is the first man to run wide at the hairpin, taking advantage of the large run-off at Turn 3.

2 min: Vergne crosses start-finish and begins a second lap. Teams will be wary of possible showers before the end of the session.

2 min: Kobayashi, Grosjean and Raikkonen have all continued into a second lap and may even begin a run straight away.

2 min: Ricciardo also begins a second lap, as Vettel and Hulkenberg head out to check over their cars.

3 min: Vergne immediately gets the ball rolling with a time of 1m24.191s.

3 min: Hamilton heads out in his upgraded McLaren as he celebrates reaching 100 grands prix this weekend.

3 min: Ricciardo comes through and also sets a time - 1m23.664s.

3 min: Raikkonen completes a flyer to top the early times with a lap of 1m20.927s. Team-mate Grosjean is second fastest.

4 min: Toro Rosso and Lotus quickly getting down to work here. The nearest shower is less than 17 miles from the circuit - and that was a few minutes ago now.

4 min: Hamilton is straight into a run as well, clocking 1m22.800s to slot in third, behind the Lotus pair. He's on soft compound rubber.

4 min: Ricciardo goes on for a second lap and moves back into third spot with a time of 1m22.195s.

5 min: Button pips his team-mate to grab fourth in the evolving order. He's also making an early test of the softs.

5 min: Hulkenberg springs up to second spot in the Force India with a lap of 1m21.823s.

5 min: Kobayashi moves up to second fastest with team-mate Perez taking third in the early times.

6 min: Rosberg and di Resta are now on track, with nine other drivers on a run of laps straight out of the box.

6 min: Hulkenberg improves with a time of 1m21.281s and moves back up to third position.

7 min: Rosberg is quick on his first timed lap, but reports that something is loose with the left side of his car. Nevertheless, he goes quickest with 1m18.455s.

7 min: Hulkenberg improves again and moves back into the top three for the third lap in a row, with a time of 1m21.071s.

8 min: Both Ferrari men have returned to the pits after a traditional installation lap for checks, while half of the drivers continue to lap.

8 min: Rosberg comes round again and look at that - 1m17.971s - to take him 2.7s clear of the rest, most probably on a light load.

8 min: Marussia confirms that an engine problem has halted Pic's car, with the team scrambling to replace the Cosworth at the moment.

9 min: Rosberg is on the harder tyre and he continues to pound round on another quick lap.

10 min: Rosberg lowers the bar by another tenth of a second with 1m17.892s.

10 min: Hulkenberg moves briefly up to second spot with 1m20.695s.

10 min: Improvements for Grosjean and Button on the latest lap, going seventh and eighth in the developing order.

11 min: Senna heads out to begin his first run since the installation lap at the start of the session.

11 min: Massa gets his day underway with a run on the harder tyres.

11 min: Webber is on track to begin his first run - interestingly on soft Pirelli tyres.

12 min: Hamilton clocks a 1m20.874s on his nine-lap old soft tyres, improving to fourth on the timesheet.

12 min: Hulkenberg is on the harder tyre and locks up the right-front heavily into Turn 6 - he continues.

13 min: Webber ran wide at Turn 1 at the start of his first flying lap.

13 min: Glock comes around in 1m20.476s to slot in second fastest for the moment, with a gap of over two seconds to Rosberg's benchmark.

14 min: Rosberg improves once again with a time of 1m17.491s.

14 min: Senna is up to third in the Williams after clocking 1m19.856s.

14 min: Webber's opening effort was 1m22.318s to put him 17th after that error in the first corner.

15 min: Massa gets up to speed with a 1m17.635s on his second flying lap on medium compound. He's second fastest.

15 min: Hamilton locks up at the hairpin and takes to the carpark beyond the corner before continuing his long run on the soft compound.

16 min: Webber gets a clean run through the first couple of sectors on his second timed lap, but he backs off in the stadium, coming through in 1m21.007s. He goes again.

17 min: Senna is now fastest of all through the first sector of the lap. He remains in third spot, behind Rosberg and Massa.

17 min: Senna is out there on soft tyres. He comes through to top the list with a lap of 1m17.391s.

18 min: Alonso finally heads out of the Ferrari garage to start his running.

18 min: Vettel is also on track and was looking quick, but he is another that backs off in the Motodrom. He subsequently pits.

18 min: Button joins his team-mate in locking up at the hairpin, adding a sizable flat spot to his right front tyre.

19 min: Webber gets a clean run eventually and he shoots to the front with a lap of 1m17.331s.

19 min: But not for long, because Maldonado is next man over the line and he goes quickest with 1m16.940s.

20 min: So now it is Maldonado up top, followed by Webber, Senna, Rosberg and Massa with 20 minutes of the session gone.

21 min: Alonso clocks 1m17.051s to join the times in third fastest as the championship leader tests the harder tyres.

22 min: Hulkenberg asks how the pace is now, having not used DRS for a couple of laps. He is told by his race engineer that the overall pace isn't bad - just a little bit off the Lotus drivers.

22 min: Vettel moves up the list to second place. He is just ahead of team-mate Webber now with a lap of 1m16.876s.

23 min: Vettel goes one better on his next attempt and tops the pile with a time of 1m16.652s.

24 min: Alonso vaults his Ferrari over the kerbs at the hairpin while the Spaniard has also been for an off-track adventure at the Nordkurve.

24 min: Meantime, showers are moving slightly closer to the circuit. The nearest is approximately 10 miles away.

25 min: Spanners are still out at Marussia as Pic waits patiently for his engine to be replaced. He is the only man not to complete a lap today.

25 min: Vettel heads the list with a time of 1m16.652s after 25 minutes, with Maldonado second, Webber third, Senna fourth, Alonso fifth, then Perez.

26 min: Grosjean reports understeer in his Lotus as he discusses the first couple of runs with his team.

26 min: Perez is the only man on track at the moment, testing the harder tyres on his Sauber.

26 min: Meteo France reports that if no new showers develop in the next 30 minutes, then the only formed shower to be concerned about (10 miles to the north of the circuit), may land close to the circuit in the last few minutes of the session.

27 min: Hulkenberg heads out for another run - this time on soft compound tyres. He has slipped to 13th in the classification.

28 min: Vergne is also out for another run in the Toro Rosso. He is all the way down in 23rd, after completing 12 laps of the circuit.

28 min: Rosberg also joins the circuit with just over half of the 60-minute session remaining.

28 min: Perez pits while Kobayashi is now out on medium compound rubber.

29 min: Hulkenberg begins his first timed lap on the soft tyre, as de la Rosa heads out in his HRT.

30 min: A slight lock-up of the left front for Hulkenberg into Turn 8 but no real problem.

30 min: The German comes through in 1m17.033s and moves into sixth position.

30 min: Button and Raikkonen both emerge from the garages to test the harder tyres.

30 min: Vergne also moves up the list and into ninth with a time of 1m17.592s.

31 min: Pic is getting seated in his Marussia as work continues to ready his car after that engine change.

31 min: Hulkenberg posts a personal best in sector one and he is the fastest of all through the middle portion of the lap.

31 min: But the young Force India driver backs off in the stadium and resets for another crack at a time.

32 min: More and more drivers are coming out for a run. Di Resta, Ricciardo and Schumacher are now on track.

33 min: Alonso and Massa head out as well, with both now testing soft tyres.

33 min: Maldonado follows them in the Williams, then Senna. We now have 17 cars on track.

34 min: Hulkenberg has run wide in Turn 1 but he is able to continue.

34 min: Alonso likes the grip from his soft tyres, setting a new benchmark of 1m16.124s on his first flying lap of the run.

35 min: Alonso visits the Ferrari pit while team-mate Massa is up to fourth with a 1m16.771s effort.

35 min: Hulkenberg reports on the team radio that he can feel the rear grip going away on the soft tyres. This is after four laps on the compound.

36 min: Vettel is on track with a set of soft tyres. He has been demoted to second spot, following Alonso's recent improvement.

37 min: Hamilton heads out again, this time on the medium compound, having tested the softs early in the session.

37 min: Hamilton is now the fastest man through the middle part of the lap.

37 min: Into his first timed lap on the softer tyre ... and straight off wide at Turn 1. Vettel rejoins without too much problem.

37 min: Hamilton tops the times in 1m16.091s on medium compound tyres.

38 min: Maldonado is also out there on soft tyres, but he was not able to improve with his latest lap. He is now fifth in the standings.

39 min: Alonso reports better warm-up on his soft tyres, but also both understeer and a loose rear end at times on his short run.

41 min: Drivers are pushing the limits this morning as Hamilton breaks the run of drivers going off at the first corner with his own exit at Turn 2

41 min: Wheels are being fitted to Pic's repaired Marussia, with things looking better for the Frenchman to make it out shortly.

41 min: Webber is out there on the soft tyre. He comes through the stadium and moves up to fourth with a lap of 1m16.602s.

42 min: Replays of Senna on the harder tyre at Turn 6, locking up the right front heavily and running slightly wide - he continued.

43 min: Perez uses soft rubber on his Sauber to grab third fastest in 1m16.302s.

43 min: Alonso heads out for what may be a longer run on his set of soft compound tyres.

43 min: Vettel crosses the line but remains in fifth spot - one behind team-mate Webber. He launches into another lap and is wide again at Turn 1.

44 min: Vettel continued without issue after taking to the asphalt run-off area briefly.

45 min: Pic is finally up and running after a great effort by the Marussia team to replace the engine in his car.

45 min: Clearly not satisfied with being able to pitch the RB8 into Turn 1 successfully, Vettel elects to pit at the end of the lap.

45 min: Alonso is fastest in the first sector on his soft tyres.

46 min: Alonso tops the first and third sectors to pip Hamilton to the best time - now a 1m16.014s.

46 min: In other news Marussia reports that Maria de Villota has returned to Spain to continue her recuperation in comfort and surrounded by family and friends.

Maria de Villota returns to Spain to continue recovery after Marussia test crash

47 min: Pic completes his first flying lap in 1m24.115s to finally join the foot of the timesheet.

48 min: Showers are forming quickly just beyond the circuit. It remains dry for now and there is only 12 minutes left to get through for the teams.

48 min: Caterham is clearly pushing the limits of ride height on Kovalainen's car, which was sparking considerably on the bumps down to the hairpin.

49 min: Raikkonen has switched back to the soft tyres and improves to fourth fastest for Lotus.

49 min: Meteo France also suspects that the burst from that huge dark cloud a few miles away, will arrive just after the session.

50 min: Hamilton has switched back to soft rubber for a pre-qualifying blast in his McLaren.

51 min: Michael Schumacher has spent a lot of time running high fuel in the session. He is at the foot of the list, but now heads out for a run.

51 min: Massa has a grassy moment entering the stadium section while pacesetter Alonso pits and may be happy enough to wrap up his session.

52 min: Hamilton has been off road at Turn 1 on his soft tyre flyer.

52 min: Schumacher is out there on the soft tyre and into a flying lap.

52 min: AUTOSPORT news editor Glenn Freeman reports that the roof of the Hockenheim press centre is getting battered with rain.

53 min: Times are fading already as the rain begins to move in over the circuit

53 min: Schumacher runs slightly wide at the second of the Opel curves onto the start-finish straight. He manages 1m17.266s and moves up to 15th.

55 min: Button finds things slippery in the Mercedes arena as the light rain makes things greasy in the middle part of the lap.

55 min: Schumacher senses the change in the weather and he comes back in after one flying lap on the soft tyres.

56 min: Hamilton takes to the run-off at Turn 2 as his pre-qualifying attempt on softs is dented by the deteriorating conditions.

57 min: Further drops are falling, as Vettel gives it up on soft tyres and returns to the pits.

58 min: Rosberg also comes in, cementing what will be an unfortunate anti-climax to the session.

58 min: Kobayashi is the last man on track as the heavy rain moves in.

59 min: Track temperature had climbed above 27 degrees, but that will obviously drop away sharply as the rain begins to hammer down.

59 min: The track is empty and getting wet very quickly as the final minute ticks down.

10:00 The flag falls on a soggy end to final practice in Germany.

10:01 Fernando Alonso is quickest at Hockenheim, ending final practice with a best lap of 1m16.014s, ahead of Hamilton and Perez.

10:02 Raikkonen is fourth in the classification, followed by Webber, Vettel, Maldonado, Massa and Kobayashi.

10:03 Senna rounds out the top 10 - a respectable performance after sitting out the first session on Friday.

10:04 Other notables: Schumacher was 15th, Rosberg 17th and Button last in 24th. None of the trio were able to get a quick lap at the end thanks to the rain.

10:05 Alonso puts Ferrari on top once again, but can he take pole in the expected monsoon? Join us later for qualifying from Hockenheim.

  OVERVIEW PRACTICE THREE  
Session length: 60 minutes
  CURRENT WEATHER
Heavy rain High Temp: 18°C / 64°F
Track: Soaked
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Friday 20 Jul Start GMT
 Friday practice one 07:55
 Friday practice two 11:55
Saturday 21 Jul
 Saturday practice 08:55
 Qualifying 11:50
Sunday 22 Jul
 The German Grand Prix 11:45