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German GP 2014

JULY 18, 2014

Practice 2 Report - Rather Surprising

Lewis Hamilton topped Free Practice 2 and shaded his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg by 0.024 of a second. That the Mercedes lads were again quickest was no surprise, but what was rather surprising was that Daniel Ricciardo was only 0.102 of second slower than Rosberg in his Red Bull.

Was the Mercedes team sandbagging? Or had Red Bull closed the gap? Only qualifying and the race will answer those questions.

The ambient temperature at the start of the 90-minute session was 88 degrees Fahrenheit (31 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 131 degrees Fahrenheit (55 degrees Centigrade.)

Nobody was in a hurry to get out on the track, and a full two minutes passed before Marcus Ericsson, followed by his Caterham teammate Kamui Kobayashi, did just that.

Ericsson clocked the first time 1:25.361 but as he started his fourth lap his car broke down between Turns 1 and 2. There was an engine problem and the team told him to stop and switch off the engine.

6 minutes into the session, Esteban Gutierrez (Sauber) took over the top of the timing screens with a 1:23.712.

As more drivers ventured out, the lap times began to come down. Kimi Raikkonen put his Ferrari in first place with a 1:20.263 eleven minutes into the session.

15 minutes into the session, Nico Rosberg sped to the front after posting a 1:19.729 in his Mercedes. Daniil Kvyat was in third place with a time of 1:20.659 in his Toro Rosso. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) was way down in 18th place. But 19 minutes into the session, he jumped to second with a 1:19.757.

Felipe Massa (Williams) and Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) were third and fourth and Raikkonen fifth. Rosberg then lowered his time to a 1:19.424, so he was 0.333 of a second better than Hamilton.

22 minutes into the session, Daniel Ricciardo grabbed third place in his Red Bull with a lap in 1:19.806.

28 minutes into the session, Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) moved into fifth place.

30 minutes into the session, the top six were: Rosberg, Hamilton, Ricciardo, Vettel, Alonso and Massa.

The drivers were on Pirellis soft compound slicks with the yellow sidewalls. They would switch to the super soft compound tires later in the session.

32 minutes into the session, Kobayashis car began smoking and he parked it at Turn 17 where he aided the marshals using fire extinguishers to put out the fire in the engine bay and the cockpit.

Meanwhile, Nico Hulkenberg moved his Force India into second place with a 1:19.593.

38 minutes into the session, Rosberg began a flying lap on the super soft tires as did Ricciardo and Massa and others.

Ricciardo went to the front with a 1:18.443 and Massa second with a 1:19.024.

Then Rosberg clocked a 1:18.365. Moments later Hamilton did a 1:18.341. So the order was now: Hamilton, Rosberg, Ricciardo, Raikkonen, Kevin Magnussen (McLaren), Massa and Vettel.

That order remained pretty much unchanged although Jenson Button did move his McLaren up to seventh ahead of Vettel.

At the one hour mark the top six were: Hamilton, Rosberg, Ricciardo, Raikkonen, Magnussen and Massa. Button, Vettel, Alonso and Bottas rounded out the top 10.

With 27 minutes remaining in the session, 16 drivers were on track. Most were doing long runs to check tire wear on both compounds.

With 16 minutes remaining in the session, the long runs and race simulations continued. Ericsson was out there in his repaired Caterham. Only Hulkenberg and Kobayashi were not lapping. Kobayashis car, covered in fire extinguisher foam and covered by a tarp, was brought back to the garage.

Red Bull was doing plenty of aero work and had green viz-flow paint on its cars.

With 5 minutes remaining in the session, only Daniil Kvyat and Kobayashi were not lapping out there on the very hot track.

The top 10 at the end of FP2 were: Hamilton, Rosberg, Ricciardo, Raikkonen, Magnussen, Massa, Button, Vettel, Alonso and Bottas.