Sebastian Vettel bounced back to his best on Friday afternoon when he led the way for Red Bull in the second free practice for this weekend’s German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring.
On a warm and dry afternoon in the Eifel, the defending triple world champion and current series leader clocked a best lap in 1min 30.416sec.
That put him two-tenths of a second clear of nearest rival and fellow-German Nico Rosberg of Mercedes, as the pair made the most of home support to emerge as likely leading contenders for pole position on Saturday.
Australian Mark Webber was third quickest in the second Red Bull, close behind Rosberg but ahead of Frenchman Romain Grosjean and his Lotus team-mate Finn Kimi Raikkonen, the 2007 champion.
Tyres: so far so good
After the dramatic tyre problems seen a week earlier at Silverstone, where four drivers suffered high-speed blowouts during the British Grand Prix, there were no problems with the new Kevlar-strapped tyres supplied by Pirelli.
Two-time champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso was sixth quickest in the afternoon, ahead of Ferrari team-mate Brazilian Felipe Massa, after failing to clock a lap in the morning.
Briton Lewis Hamilton, the 2008 champion, was eighth fastest in the afternoon, after dominating morning practice, ahead of former team-mate and compatriot 2009 champion Jenson Button of McLaren.
Hamilton, however, had already stated his case and just six days after his stunning pole lap at Silverstone, he could be sure he had the pace if required as Mercedes prepared for their home race on German soil.
Paul Di Resta was 10th fastest ahead of Force India team-mate German Adrian Sutil.
The track was dry throughout the session in rising temperatures after starting out with an ambient air temperature of 19 degrees Celsuis and a track temperature of 29 degrees.