Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team’s Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton came out on top on the opening day of track action in Hockenheim on Friday ahead of Sunday’s German Grand Prix.
Rosberg set a fastest time of 01:15.614s. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was third fastest with a time of 01:16.208s. Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo were fourth and fifth respectively and speaking following the day of action, Verstappen commented by saying:
A good start to the day and weekend in general. The first session I was learning the lap with the car, we had a bit of front locking that we will hopefully get rid of tomorrow. The second session was good, definite progress from the first as I continued to learn the track and get used to the car here. Everyone knows this track is quite hard on the tyres so no real surprises there. We are not too far off Mercedes, we are matching Ferrari and the long runs were all pretty positive. We will have to wait and see how some of the rules work, from what I have heard in general it shouldn’t be too bad. I think the radio rules make it nicer for the fans so they can hear what is going on and not just listen to commentary. I think the fastest way around the track is within the track limits so we will try and keep to that. I don’t mind what the other drivers have said about last weekend, I’m happy and confident with my driving and defending, they can talk to me if they want but I don’t feel any pressure from them.
Daniel Ricciardo commented by saying:
I enjoy the track around here actually. It’s cool and it’s got pretty good flow. The last sector is fun, but it’s tricky with the tyres. You’ve got some tight corners which seem to be harder on the rear tyres but then the last sector has got a lot of longer corners where you can hurt the front, so trying to balance the car isn’t always easy. But I felt we got on top of it more in FP2 so I’m pretty happy where we are now. We looked quite close to the Mercs on high fuel so that was promising. This afternoon’s race stint looked really good so if we can replicate what we did then on Sunday I think we can have a strong chance in the race. I’m obviously trying to keep up with all the rule changes but I’ve never been too fussed really. I think if it’s the same rules for everyone then let’s go and race and deal with what we’ve got.
Kimi Raikkonen was sixth fastest in the second Ferrari with a time of 01:16.512s having completed 45 laps. Nico Hulkenberg was seventh fastest for the Sahara Force India Formula One Team and speaking following the session he commented by saying:
I am pretty happy with today and it was a fairly straightforward start to the weekend. We ran all morning on the medium compound, which looks like a good tyre, and we worked with the soft and supersoft this afternoon. The pace looks alright and I felt pretty comfortable in the car, especially in the second session as the track improved. There’s obviously still quite a bit of work to get where we want to be, but overall it’s a positive start and I am looking forward to building on it.
Jenson Button was eighth fastest for McLaren Honda while Sergio Perez was ninth fastest in the second Force India and speaking following the afternoon of action he commented by saying:
It think we were the only team to run the medium compound today alongside the soft and supersoft, which allowed us to get a lot of data about each of the three different tyres. The mediums are performing quite well, which is a bit of a welcome surprise. It’s still early, but I think the weekend has a lot of potential and we’re in a good position to make the most of it. There are still some areas to improve when it comes to car balance, but we should be able to sort it overnight after looking at the data we collected.
Fernando Alonso rounded out the top ten for McLaren Honda ending the session just ahead of Carlos Sainz and Daniil Kvyat.
Valtteri Bottas was 13th for the Williams Martini Racing team ending the day just ahead of the Haas F1 Team’s Romain Grosjean with Felipe Massa in the second Williams in 15th place.
Esteban Gutierrez was 16th fastest just ahead of the Renault Sport F1 Team’s Kevin Magnussen and the Sauber F1 Team’s Marcus Ericsson. Pascal Werhlein was 19th for the Manor F1 Team just ahead of Jolyon Palmer in the second Renault. Rio Haryanto was 21st fastest while Felipe Nasr rounded out the order in 22nd place.