German GP - Friday - Practice Session 1 Report
Mercedes drivers Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton felt right at home at their team's home Grand Prix of Germany at the Hockenheimring as they clocked the fastest times in Friday morning's Free Practice 1.
All the teams had removed their FRIC suspension systems, which the FIA said could be illegal. But it made no difference to Mercedes which remains the dominant team.
The ambient temperature at the start of the session was degrees 77 Fahrenheit (25 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 97 degrees Fahrenheit (36 degrees Centigrade.)
Susie Wolff, who was driving Valtteri Bottas' Williams in FP1, was the first out onto the 2.842–mile (4.574-km) 17–turn track. Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso) was out second.
Wolff's car did not get very far and she coasted along at 20 mph pushing buttons on the steering wheel. She radioed the pits and said there were problems with the up shift on the gearbox. The team told her to stay in the same gear. She finally made it back to the pits.
Meanwhile, Max Chilton's Marussia was trailing smoke from the engine bay.
Guido van der Garde was the other substitute driver in the session, and he replaced Esteban Gutierrez in the Sauber.
6 minutes into the session, everybody had completed one or two installation laps and they were back in the pit garages.
13 minutes into the session, Marcus Ericsson broke the silence as he drove out on track in his Caterham. His teammate Kamui Kobayashi joined him. Ericsson clocked the first time: a 1:28.480, and then he lowered that to a 1:25.402. Kobayashi beat that with a lap in 1:24.466.
17 minutes into the session, more drivers were on track including Wolff in the repaired Williams. She clocked a 1:22.481 to top the times.
19 minutes into the session, Kevin Magnussen (McLaren) beat that with a 1:20.471.
20 minutes into the session, Nico Rosberg was on a fast lap in his Mercedes but slid off the track.
25 minutes into the session, Rosberg turned a 1:20.337. Then Sebastian Vettel beat that with a time of 1:20.295 in his Red Bull. His teammate Daniel Ricciardo moved up to fourth behind Rosberg and Magnussen.
The drivers were using Pirelli's soft compound tires with the yellow sidewalls.
At the 30 minute mark the top 10 were: Vettel, Rosberg, Magnussen, Ricciardo, Fernando Alonso (Ferrari), Jenson Button (McLaren), Adrian Sutil (Sauber), Vergne, Felipe Massa (Williams) and Sergio Perez (Force India.) Everybody was in the pits.
Wolff was 12th and British Grand Prix winner Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) down in 17th place. Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari had problems with the water pump and he had done just 4 laps.
Max Chilton (Marussia) was the first out as things got underway for the final hour. He and Kobayashi were the only drivers out there for a while until, 44 minutes into the session, Ericsson joined the action.
With none of the fast guys on track, midway through FP1 the top 10 remained the same: Vettel, Rosberg, Magnussen, Ricciardo, Alonso, Button, Sutil, Vergne, Massa and Sergio Perez.
With 40 minutes remaining in the session, Daniil Kvyat moved his Toro Rosso into third place with a time of 1:20.425. And Raikkonen was back on track in his repaired Ferrari.
With 36 minutes remaining in the session, Button topped the times with a 1:20.087, and then Ricciardo beat that with a 1:19.697 while Vettel was now third with a 1:20.105. Raikkonen jumped from last to sixth.
Rosberg was now on another flier, and with 33 minutes remaining in the session, he turned a 1:19.276. Hamilton set a 1:19.615 to grab second place. He then lowered that to a 1:19.545.
With 31 minutes remaining in the session, Rosberg went even quicker – 1:19.131.
At the 30 minute mark the top six were: Rosberg, Hamilton, Ricciardo, Alonso, Button and Vettel. Wolff, who had completed 10 laps, was 16th.
With 28 minutes remaining in the session, Hamilton lowered his time to a 1:19.196, so he was just 0.065 of a second slower than Rosberg. Hamilton had set the quickest times in Sectors 1 and 2, so all he needed was good time in Sector 3 to topple Rosberg.
Alonso, meanwhile, was up to third with a 1:19.423.
With 23 minutes remaining in the session, Massa went bouncing off at Turn 1.
With 19 minutes remaining in the session, everybody was in the pits.
With 12 minutes remaining in the session, more than half the field was on track as the drivers completed their final runs of FP1. They were on worn tires and doing longer runs, so they were not improving their lap times.
With 5 minutes remaining in the session, Button was the only driver in the pits.
The top 10 at the end of FP1 were: Rosberg, Alonso, Hamilton, Ricciardo, Button, Vettel, Magnussen, Raikkonen, Kvyat and Sutil. Wolff ended up 15th fastest and completed 22 laps. Her best time was a 1:20.769 compared to Massa, who was 11th with a 1:20.542.