Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was fastest in the first practice session for this weekends German Grand Prix. The Australian was four-hundredths of a second faster than Mercedes Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was fourth.
Ricciardo, however, has been awarded a grid penalty for the race, after the team changed his engine and that allowed him to him to get ahead pipping Hamilton. Hamilton will be looking to recover ground following difficult races in Spielberg and Silverstone.
The Englishman was two tenths faster than Ricciardo’s teammate Max Verstappen. While Vettel did not set a time on the softest tyre compound meaning that he could close up. Hockenheim is expected to be a race which favors Mercedes, and a good points haul should help limit the damage next weekend in Budapest.
Valtteri Bottas was fifth, after Mercedes announced his new deal four tenths off the pace, with fellow Finn Kimi Raikkonen sixth. At this early stage, it appears that it could be a close fight between the top three teams this weekend.
Haas’s performance on track saw the US team comfortably ahead of the rest of the midfield, with Romain Grosjean ahead of teammate Kevin Magnussen.
Renault has brought a new front wing in a bid to remain fourth in the constructors, however, Nico Hulkenberg couldn’t maximize the new wing to get ahead of the Haas’s. While Charles Leclerc was ahead of the German.
Hulkenberg had an off-track moment at the high-speed Sachs, going into the gravel. That held up Fernando Alonso, who had already lost time in the session because of setup changes, while he and teammate Stoffel Vandoorne managed the fewest laps of all, bar Carlos Sainz.
Sainz had to settle for fourteenth after a coolant leak limited his running to ten laps. Also, Pierre Gasly running was limited because he suffered a steering issue before he went wide at Sachs which saw the Frenchman lose the bodywork.
Williams hopes of a step forward appeared limited as Lance Stroll could only manage thirteenth and Sergey Sirotkin sixteenth. The team has brought an upgrade to drag itself from the bottom of the constructors.
Two race drivers made way to test drivers, with Antonio Giovinazzi in place of Marcus Ericsson at Sauber and taking nineteenth overall. In addition, Nicholas Latifi took over Esteban Ocon’s seat at Force India, and he finished seventeenth.
The Ferrari young drivers running was limited after his engine cover fell off in the first half hour.