Nico Rosberg was fastest in the first practice session for this weekend’s German Grand Prix. The world championship leader was .3 of a second faster than team-mate Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
Like last weekend at the Hungaroring the Mercedes looked once again to have a comfortable gap over the Ferrari’s of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen fifth and Daniel Ricciardo sixth. Rosberg will be hoping of a good weekend to re-take the championship lead he lost five days ago in Budapest.
Hamilton appear off the pace not being on the same pace as Rosberg as he looks to extend his lead going into the summer break. However the Brit knows he will be starting one of the first two races after the break from the back of the grid as a result of penalties for using too many engine parts.
He told BBC News that the psychological appeal of beating Rosberg at his home race was not of interest. “Not really, It’s just a race to me. It makes no difference. The goal is to be in a good position going into the break.”
McLaren showed more signs of progress with Fernando Alonso seventh and Jenson Button eighth fastest. Alonso today marked his 35th birthday with the tea throwing a party, when he arrived for the session he presented with a cake of his crash helmet.
On track Rosberg was fastest after the first fourth minutes setting a 1:17.0 on the soft tyres just under three tenths slower on the supersoft. The session in Rineland was uneventful apart from a from a spin from Williams’s Valtteri Bottas who spun and Romain Grosjean nearly running into the Vettel’s Ferrari.
Daniil Kyvat was ahead of his Toro Rosso team-mate Carlos Sainz for the first time since they became team-mates at the Spanish Grand Prix. Haas rookie Charles Leclerc lapped within three-tenths of Grosjean while Esteban Ocon was within a few tenths Renault partner Kevin Magnussen.