A heavy crash for Pierre Gasly was the main incident of Friday’s second practice session for the German Grand Prix, which continued Scuderia Ferrari’s run at the top of the timesheets.
The red cars again upstaged arch rivals Mercedes-AMG at the German brand’s home race. It was FP1 pace-setter Sebastian Vettel who held sway early on, but it was then the turn of his teammate Charles Leclerc to move ahead. The Monégasque driver encountered traffic through the stadium section of the lap, but his pace was still good enough to clinch top spot by just over one-tenth of a second.
Despite bringing a number of aerodynamic upgrades to improve the cooling on its W10 challenger, the 35ºC ambient temperature still proved a challenge for the Mercedes-AMG team. Current championship leader Lewis Hamilton finished third-fastest, just 0.146 seconds slower than Leclerc, but the Briton’s teammate and closest title rival Valtteri Bottas was less impressive. The Finn – who currently sits 39 points behind Hamilton in the Drivers’ Championship standings – had a number of untidy moments, with a mistake on his qualifying-style putting him a rather unrepresentative half-second off the pace of the sister W10.
A fraction behind Bottas was the Red Bull Racing Honda of Max Verstappen, who placed fifth-fastest. His teammate Pierre Gasly appeared to be struggling early in the session and fears were confirmed when he crashed at the exit of the final corner. The Frenchman carried too much speed onto the start/finish straight, losing the rear end of his car at the exit of the right-hander. When he tried to catch the slide, he was pitched into the barriers – his crash triggered a brief red flag interruption.
That left Romain Grosjean in the Haas to claim sixth-fastest and the ‘best of the rest’ mantle for the session. The Haas team opted to split its running between its two drivers – Grosjean ran the VF-19’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix package, while teammate Kevin Magnussen ran its latest development parts. Interestingly it was Grosjean who was the quicker of the pair, and by a significant margin.
Racing Point also came to the German Grand Prix with a host of aerodynamic upgrades and theirs actually worked. Lance Stroll finished a superb seventh-fastest, while teammate Sergio Pérez was tenth-quickest. The pair was split by Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Räikkönen and Renault’s Nico Hülkenberg.
|FORMULA 1 MERCEDES-BENZ GROβER PREIS VON DEUTSCHLAND 2019 – FREE PRACTICE SESSION 1|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap||Laps|
|1.||Charles Leclerc||Scuderia Ferrari SF90||1:13.449||33|
|2.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF90||1:13.573||+ 0.124||30|
|3.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes-AMG Motorsport W10||1:13.595||+ 0.146||30|
|4.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes-AMG Motorsport W10||1:14.111||+ 0.662||30|
|5.||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing RB15||1:14.133||+ 0.684||23|
|6.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team VF-19||1:14.179||+ 0.730||33|
|7.||Lance Stroll||Racing Point F1 Team RP19||1:14.268||+ 0.819||32|
|8.||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Racing C38||1:14.458||+ 1.009||33|
|9.||Nico Hülkenberg||Renault F1 Team RS19||1:14.472||+ 1.023||26|
|10.||Sergio Pérez||Racing Point F1 Team RP19||1:14.518||+ 1.069||30|
|11.||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren F1 Team MCL34||1:14.662||+ 1.213||34|
|12.||Daniil Kvyat||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda STR14||1:14.800||+ 1.351||39|
|13.||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault F1 Team RS19||1:15.010||+ 1.561||33|
|14.||Alexander Albon||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda STR14||1:15.062||+ 1.613||36|
|15||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull Racing RB15||1:15.089||+ 1.640||19|
|16.||Lando Norris||McLaren F1 Team MCL34||1:15.247||+ 1.798||29|
|17.||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing C38||1:15.406||+ 1.957||31|
|18.||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team VF-19||1:15.470||+ 2.021||28|
|19.||George Russell||ROKiT Williams Racing FW42||1:16.900||+ 3.451||27|
|20.||Robert Kubica||ROKiT Williams Racing FW42||1:16.980||+ 3.531||26|
Image via Motorsport Week and Scuderia Ferrari