Friday at Hockenheim was the first chance we got to see the drivers out on track as free practices one and two took place. Once again, the weather was glorious as hot sunshine beat down on the tarmac, making conditions perfect for running.
Rather predictably, Mercedes dominated proceedings once again, securing a one-two finish in both sessions. Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg shared top spot, and had a net time of just 0.041 seconds separating them across the two sessions. Be assured that there will be another enthralling battle between the two on CNBC this Sunday from 7:30am ET.
In the paddock, the journalists and team members were doing their best to keep cool, with the ice cream at Lotus proving to be particularly popular. No word if Kimi got around to nabbing one, though…
Here’s the latest paddock round-up from Hockenheim.
- First practice at Hockenheim saw Nico Rosberg make a good start to his home grand prix weekend. The German driver edged out Lewis Hamilton at the top of the timesheets, with Fernando Alonso finishing third.
- Hamilton redressed the balance in FP2, though, to finish fastest ahead of Rosberg and Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo. Caterham’s Kamui Kobayashi had a firey moment, but took inspiration from Taki Inoue to use a fire extinguisher and put out the small blaze on his car.
NEWS FROM THE PADDOCK
- Adrian Sutil is not concerned about his future in F1 despite rumors suggesting he could be dropped by Sauber in the future.
- Fernando Alonso was also asked about his future, but the Spaniard denies contacting any other teams about a seat, saying it is “not my priority”.
- Susie Wolff finally managed to complete some running for Williams, although there was a very early scare during FP1 at Hockenheim.
- The hotly-debated FRIC systems have been removed from all of the cars for this weekend’s race.
- Will Buxton brings you the latest interviews and analysis from the paddock in Paddock Pass (VIDEO).
- Jenson Button is confident that his charge to P4 at the British Grand Prix has lifted spirits at McLaren.
- GP2 is celebrating its 200th race this weekend in Germany.
- Button and Alonso have shared their thoughts on the championship battle at Mercedes.
- In this feature, I look at how Germany’s success on the track and on the soccer field is not too dissimilar.
- Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel have both hailed a good day for Red Bull in practice.
- Lewis Hamilton isn’t FRIC-ing out despite losing the suspension device from his car.
THOUGHTS FROM THE TRACK
Firstly, I must apologise for yet another FRIC pun. However, it certainly has been a topic of debate at Hockenheim this weekend following the FIA’s decision to ban the system from the cars on the grid.
Most of the drivers we spoke to yesterday said that it would make little to no difference, but both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg appeared to notice a bit more of a detrimental difference today. Red Bull certainly looks to have made a step forwards, but we shouldn’t get too carried away: Mercedes’ long run times are still miles ahead of everyone else.
The battle for the final podium position does appear to be wide open. Red Bull is leading by a nose, but with Ferrari, McLaren and Williams all showing good signs of pace this weekend, we could see quite an interesting battle to be ‘best of the rest’. McLaren has been particularly impressive, running with parts that were due to only arrive in Hungary, and both Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen will be hoping for a solid result this weekend.
Further back, there was yet more disappointment for Caterham. One journalist in the paddock compared its recent form to that of the now-defunct HRT during its final few months of activity. Both Marcus Ericsson and Kamui Kobayashi hit trouble during FP2, with a fire on the latter’s car ending his session early.
The team principals’ press conference was a bit of a mixed bag today. Pirelli’s Paul Hembery said that the test of the 18-inch F1 tires had been a success at Silverstone last week, although he was uneasy about the possibility of a tire war in F1. Christijan Albers made his first appearance as Caterham team principal following a crazy few weeks for the backmarker team, and didn’t show a great deal of confidence in the current driver line-up. That said, it’s difficult to see who could replace either Kobayashi or Ericsson given that Carlos Sainz Jr. has been told to forget about F1 for 2014 and to instead focus on his World Series by Renault campaign.
We’ll be back with more from the paddock tomorrow.
German GP TV Times – Saturday 19th July
Free Practice 3: Live Extra 5am ET
Qualifying: CNBC 8am ET