The Venezuelan, who was ninth fastest in the morning’s opening session, topped the times with a lap of the Hockenheim circuit in one minute 27.476 seconds midway through the session. A heavy downpour preceded the session and effectively suspended proceedings for 20 minutes. 

Track times steadily got quicker and Spanish Grand Prix winner Maldonado edged out second-fastest German Nico Rosberg of Mercedes midway through the session seconds before more rain arrived. McLaren’s Jenson Button, fastest in the morning session, wound up eighth quickest.