Nico Rosberg topped both the practice sessions for his home grand prix at Hockenhiem beating his team-mate by .3 of a second in P2 and 1.2 seconds in P1.
Like we saw in Budapest Mercedes appear once again to have a comfortable gap over Ferrari and Red Bull. Hockenhiem is very similar to Silverstone and in my notebook’s I’ve mentioned that we are in a series of high speed circuits apart from Budapest last week.
While Mercedes have a comfortable gap over Ferrari and Red Bull they don’t between each other. This is what we want on track with them being allowed to race eachother on track. Rosberg said “A good start to the weekend. It’s great to be back here in Hockenheim at this historic track.”
“The tarmac is old, so the way the tyres work is completely different to in Hungary where the tarmac was new. Here it’s much more snappy and more of a challenge. But in general our car was working well out there today.”
Executive Technical Director Paddy Lowe added “A good day to start the weekend, with no major issues on either side of the garage, a full programme completed and our pace looking reasonably good. The main focus has been on understanding the Soft and Supersoft tyres – particularly on long runs, to see which race strategies will make most sense on Sunday”
This weekend I think track limits will be a talking point, Lowe went on to mention Lewis Hamilton had a warning mainly about turn one and he has two reprimands and a third would mean a penalty.
The areas being watch are Turn One – where one driver left the track 14 times – and there was a total of 93 iccidents during the day. The Technical Delegate Jo Bauer wrote in his technical report “During P1 many drivers appeared to make little or no effort to stay on the track on the exit of turn 1, in fact, one driver left the track 14 times.”
“Therefore, for P2 and P3 any driver who is judged to have left the track three times at turn 1 will be reported to the stewards for not having made every reasonable effort to use the track.”
Red Bull v Ferrari
We seen in the last few races the fight for best of the rest swing backwards and forwards between Red Bull and Ferrari. This weekend it appears that the swing is towards Ferrari which will be a welcome news for the team as they will be hoping to have there first win of the season.
Sebastian Vettel said “Overall the outcome of the two sessions has been positive, but we still need to improve our car overnight and do some steps forward. I think the one-lap speed was okay.”
“I haven’t seen much from the long runs, I have spent most of the afternoon on Soft tires and they were lasting quite long, so I think overall it was ok but we still have to improve.”
Happy Birthday Fernando!
Fernando Alonso celebrated his 35th birthday as FP1 began with a cake version of his crash helmet. It was a good day with McLaren showing progress with him seventh in FP1 and Jenson Button eighth fastest. He said “It was a nice way to celebrate my birthday here with the team – we spend 200 days a year alongside each other, so that was a fantastic feeling.
“I now need to focus on the weekend and help improve our pace a little where we lost some performance. But we might need to go back on some set-up changes and find a way to improve the car for tomorrow.”
Racing Director Eric Boullier said both drivers struggled with finding the best balance on there cars but there were “a handful of minor issues that affected progress on both sides of the garage. Nevertheless, we think we’ve found a pretty good baseline to carry forward for the remainder of the weekend.”
The fight for pole we would think will be once again be between the Mercedes duo this weekend. The fight for row two Ferrari may just edge it over the Red Bull’s to start third. The weather is expected to be sunshine and showers which like last weekend could mix the grid up. So these factors I believe Hamilton will just edge it.