The last race weekend before the summer break kicked off with Lewis Hamilton commanding the field in both Friday practices, being the only driver to set a sub-1:22 time in a shortened wet-dry practice 2. His teammate, Jenson Button, also showed his grit turning in the 2nd and 6th fastest times of the two sessions, just .1 seconds behind Hamilton in P1. Championship points leader Fernando Alonso, who has been one with his car as of late, was fast enough for 3rd and 5th. 2007 Champion Kimi Raikkonen has yet to win a race since his return to F1 this year, but demonstrated he has the pace to reach the top step of the podium by finishing 2nd in practice 2, just .185 seconds behind Hamilton.
For Saturday’s qualifying session, look for arguably the most consistent driver of the field in Alonso to challenge for a third straight pole with a streaky Hamilton nipping at his heels. Don’t count out Button though for pole though – while he may be all but out of championship contention, he drove a brilliant race in Germany to take 2nd from Sebastian Vettel and is among the fastest when his car is healthy. Vettel’s teammate Mark Webber has been driving consistent enough to find himself in second place in the championship race, and arguably would have landed on the podium in Germany had he not been the victim of a 5-place grid penalty for an unexpected gearbox change before. Look for him to make a qualifying statement to Alonso along the lines of “down but not out.”
Could we see another new race winner Sunday? With 10 grands prix left in the season, the fans are sure to be delighted this weekend with a spirited battle for momentum into Belgium in one month.