Nico Rosberg completed a clean sweep of practice for his home German Formula One Grand Prix by topping the timesheets ahead of Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton in Saturday’s final session.
Hamilton, who set a time just 0.057 seconds slower than Rosberg’s best of one minute 15.783, was summoned to see the stewards for being released from his garage in an unsafe manner.
Daniel Ricciardo went third for Red Bull with a late flier that put him less than a tenth behind the Mercedes pair, indicating that the German team may have more of a fight on their hands in Saturday’s qualifying than the opening day of practice had suggested.
Kimi Raikkonen was fourth for Ferrari ahead of team mate Sebastian Vettel who is making his first appearance at home in the Maranello-based squad’s scarlet colours.
Max Verstappen was sixth in the second Red Bull ahead of the Williams pair of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa.
Spaniard Fernando Alonso, who celebrated his 35th birthday on Friday, was ninth in his McLaren while Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg rounded out the top 10.
Alonso’s team mate Jenson Button got back behind the wheel of his McLaren after making a precautionary visit to hospital on Friday to remove carbon dust lodged in his eye. He completed only six laps, however, and was 19th.
Rosberg heads into Sunday’s race at the 4.5-km Hockenheim track trailing Hamilton by six points in the standings, after conceding the championship lead to the Briton at last weekend’s race in Hungary.
He won the last race at Hockenheim in 2014 and a repeat would see him jump back to the top of the standings and allow him to put the brakes on Hamilton, who has won five of the last six races.
It would also give him a psychological edge over the reigning champion heading into Formula One’s annual summer break.