German GP - Friday - Practice Session 1 Report
Teammates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were well clear of their competitors in Friday's opening practice session for the German Grand Prix.
The Silver Arrows Mercedes drivers posted times a full second quicker than their opposition. Their respective lap times were 1:31.754 and 1:31.973, and they easily eclipsed Mark Webber who was third best and 1.035 second behind with a time of 1:32.789 in his Red Bull.
Max Chilton (Marussia) and Nico Hulkenberg (Sauber) were the first drivers out on the track as the 90 minute session began under cloudy skies.
The ambient air temperature at the start of the session was 62.6 degrees Fahrenheit (17 degrees Celsius), and the track temperature was 66.2 degrees Fahrenheit (19 degrees Celsius).
Marussia reserve driver Rodolfo Gonzalez replaced Jules Bianchi in FP1.
After all the tire problems at the previous race, the FIA had issued strict guidelines to the teams for air pressures for the tires, suspension camber settings and forbidding swapping tires side to side.
Pirelli brought its Kevlar belted tires, which the teams briefly tested in Canada and Britain, to replace the troublesome steel-belted tires used so far this season. The dry weather compounds ‚Äì soft and medium ‚Äì originally chosen for this race remained unchanged.
Disaster for Ferrari struck just three minutes into the session as Fernando Alonso's car stopped at Turn 5.
Six minutes into the session, Lewis Hamilton set the first time of the weekend with a leisurely 2:16.935 in his Mercedes.
Other than a few installation laps, there was no on-track action in the first 27 minutes. Alonso's car arrived in the pits on the back of a truck. Meanwhile, the Mercedes mechanics worked away on Nico Rosberg's car that had developed some sort of problem.
The drivers had threatened a boycott if the tire failures seen at Silverstone happened at the Nurburgring, but this was not the reason they did not go out. Instead it was the usual waiting around for other drivers to go out and clean off the racing line.
28 minutes into the session, Jenson Button set a 1:39.929 in his McLaren. He followed that up with a 1:34.342 and then a 1:33.642.
Several others were now on the track, but none had been able to get into the 1:33s yet. Then, 36 minutes into the session, Romain Grosjean clocked the second best time at 1:33.789 in his Lotus while Mark Webber was third with a 1:33.846 in his Red Bull.
37 minutes into the session, Webber, who scored his first F1 victory at the Nurburgring in 2009, went quickest with a 1:33.047 while Button improved to a 1:33.545.
Pirelli's medium compound slick, with the white sidewall, was the tire of choice.
40 minutes into the session, only Webber, Button and Grosjean had lap times below 1:34.00, while Massa was fourth fastest with a 1:34.037 in his Ferrari. Within a couple of minutes, however, half a dozen more drivers had broken into the 1:33s. Sebastian Vettel, who has never won his home Grand Prix of Germany, popped up to the second with a 1:33.505 in his Red Bull.
Rosberg flew in his Mercedes to clock a 1:32.552 midway through the session, and Kimi Raikkonen moved to the runner up spot with a 1:32.965 in his Lotus.
Alonso headed out and did one slow lap in his repaired Ferrari. He pitted and the mechanics resumed working on his car.
48 minutes into the session, Lewis Hamilton went to the top of the timing screens with a 1:32.349 in his Mercedes. He then improved that to a 1:32.041, a scant .011 faster than Rosberg's 1:32.052.
55 minutes into the session, Hamilton was the first into the 1:31s with a 1:31.754. The two Silver Arrows drivers were over a second quicker than their nearest rivals Raikkonen and Webber.
At the 60 minute mark, the top six were: Hamilton, Rosberg, Raikkonen, Webber, Adrian Sutil (Force India) and Vettel.
With 28 minutes remaining in the session, Sutil turned a 1:32.822 to move up to third place, but Webber soon disposed him with a 1:32.789.
Alonso had not ventured out again as his car could not be repaired before the end of the session.
With 15 minutes remaining in the session, the top six were: Hamilton, Rosberg, Webber, Sutil, Raikkonen and Massa.
After a period in the pits, Hamilton, Rosberg and Webber were now back in action. So was Vettel who was only 10th fastest with 13 minutes to go. He moved up to eighth.
With 8 minutes remaining in the session, only five drivers were in the pits.
With 7 minutes remaining in the session, only three drivers were in the pits. The times at the top of the screens, however, remained mostly unchanged.
But Rosberg did improve to a 1:31.973, and Grosjean claimed ninth place with a 1:33.260.
The top 10 at the end of FP1 were: Hamilton, Rosberg, Webber, Sutil, Raikkonen, Massa, Button, Vettel, Grosjean and Perez.
There were no tire blowouts during the session.