German GP: Hamilton fastest again in practice 3

Mercedes powered Lewis Hamilton gave German fans something to cheer about

Lewis Hamilton's return to the top of the formula one time sheets continued on Saturday morning, as the reigning world champion led the field in the final practice session at the Nurburgring.

At the wheel of substantial changes to his MP4-24, the Briton was two tenths ahead of Fernando Alonso's Renault and the Ferrari of Felipe Massa, two hours before the decisive qualifying phase under dark clouds in the Eifel region.

In total contrast, Heikki Kovalainen's struggle in the Silverstone-spec McLaren continued as he was 19th fastest.

"Unfortunately, we didn't have enough pieces for Heikki to have the same package, so that is why the difference is reflected between the two drivers," said the Mercedes-powered team's technical boss Paddy Lowe.

He said the team is happy to see Hamilton's name back at the top but "the job now is to translate that into some points on Sunday".

"But definitely we have made a step with the car. Lewis is very happy with it. The pieces that we brought all work. We hope to see that that will translate to a real difference," Lowe added.

Led by Sebastian Vettel, the two Red Bulls were fourth and fifth quickest, while championship leader Jenson Button managed no better than 11th best.

Bourdais was dead last, which is certain to hasten the rumors he will be axed soon.

It would appear that McLaren has upped heir game and are now real contenders for a pole and a win, but why is Kovalainen only 19th some 1.6 sec. in arrears?



Driver Team Time Behind Laps
1. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:31.121 +0.000 16
2. Alonso Renault 1:31.340 +0.219 18
3. Massa Ferrari 1:31.351 +0.230 20
4. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:31.542 +0.421 17
5. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:31.610 +0.489 16
6. Raikkonen Ferrari 1:31.615 +0.494 19
7. Trulli Toyota 1:31.620 +0.499 23
8. Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:31.690 +0.569 20
9. Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:31.731 +0.610 20
10. Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:31.928 +0.807 21
11. Button Brawn GP-Mercedes 1:32.009 +0.888 22
12. Glock Toyota 1:32.022 +0.901 20
13. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:32.104 +0.983 20
14. Barrichello Brawn GP-Mercedes 1:32.124 +1.003 13
15. Fisichella Force India-Mercedes 1:32.135 +1.014 21
16. Piquet Renault 1:32.223 +1.102 15
17. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:32.239 +1.118 23
18. Kubica BMW Sauber 1:32.269 +1.148 20
19. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 1:32.742 +1.621 18
20. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:32.883 +1.762 21

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