Fernando Alonso set the fastest time in the first Free Practice session at the NÃ¼rburgring with a lap of 1:31.894, three tenths faster than the lead Red Bull of Mark Webber.
Championship leader and home favourite Sebastian Vettel was the third quickest driver, ahead of Alonso’s team-mate Felipe Massa.
McLaren still appear to be lacking the speed of Red Bull and Ferrari though: Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button were fifth and sixth on the timesheets.
The 90-minute session was not affected by rain and there was little incident. Sebastien Buemi provided the most exciting moment as he became airborne momentarily in the closing seconds of the session before beaching his Toro Rosso in a gravel trap.
Michael Schumacher and Heikki Kovalainen also had some minor excursions off-track, but quickly got back onto the circuit and continued their laps. Schumacher even found time to wave to the adoring crowd as he negotiated his way around a gravel trap.
Narain Karthikeyan was back in the car for this session, replacing Tonio Liuzzi at HRT. He finished down in P20, one place higher than Karun Chandhok, who replaces Jarno Trulli at Team Lotus for the entire race weekend.