Rosberg fastest in final practice

Nico Rosberg blitzed the track with a time of one minute 17.779 seconds (AP)

Nico Rosberg blitzed the track with a time of one minute 17.779 seconds (AP)

First published in National Sport News © by

Nico Rosberg is firmly on course to land pole position in front of his home fans in Germany this weekend.

Rosberg smashed his rivals in final practice for the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim, including Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton.

It appears as if Hamilton will have to pull out something special in qualifying to land pole after finishing a yawning six tenths of a second adrift of Rosberg in the closing hour-long session.

With the fastest of Pirelli's rubber - the supersoft tyres - strapped on to his car over the closing minutes, Rosberg blitzed the track with a time of one minute 17.779secs.

Hamilton, just four points adrift of Rosberg in the championship standings, could not come close as he finished 0.601secs down, and that was a lap without any errors.

The 29-year-old had Ferrari's Fernando Alonso in close attendance, suggesting Hamilton's set-up on his car is far from optimal, with changes required ahead of qualifying.

The Spaniard was only four thousandths of a second behind Hamilton, followed by the Williams pair of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas.

McLaren's Kevin Magnussen and Daniel Ricciardo in his Red Bull were the only other drivers to finish within a second of Rosberg.

Kimi Raikkonen was eighth quickest on the timesheet, but Ferrari face a race against time to fit a new fuel pump ahead of qualifying following a failure during practice that limited the Finn to only eight laps.

Four-times champion Sebastian Vettel was down in ninth in his Red Bull, 1.111secs adrift, with McLaren's Jenson Button a lowly 13th and 1.7secs off the pace, and 0.8secs behind team-mate Magnussen.

Max Chilton finished at the foot of the times, 5.670secs down, but in a Marussia that encountered an electronics problem, leaving him without a timed run on the supersoft tyres.

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