F1 German Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton pips Nico Rosberg to gain early advantage on home soil in Hockenheim

Rosberg ends first practice on top as Mercedes duo dominate in Germany

Hockenheim

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg continued to lead the Formula One field here on Friday after practice sessions for Sunday’s German Grand Prix were characterised by sweltering heat which melted tyres and tempers. However, Red Bull showed signs of putting the Mercedes drivers under serious pressure for the first time this season.

Hamilton, rejuvenated by his recent victory at Silverstone, pipped local hero Rosberg by just 0.024 seconds, while Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was just 0.102sec adrift of the Englishman.

“I think tyres and weather will define the race on Sunday,” the ever-smiling Australian said. “Today we were happy with our progress and it seems to be one of the closer gaps for a while, but it’s tomorrow when we’ll see how close we really are. I think we had a good car today and we extracted pretty much everything we could out of the practice today. Hopefully, we can have more of a fight with the leaders this weekend.”

Friday times can be misleading because much depends on the specific programmes the teams run – these include fuel weight and aerodynamic settings which can change prior to qualifying – so the real story will only emerge later today, and then in the race.

However, there was no doubt about the quality of the job that Susie Wolff did when she drove Valtteri Bottas’s Williams in yesterday morning’s opening practice session. The 31-year-old test driver from Oban is the first woman since Giovanna Amati in Brazil in 1992 to drive a car at an official grand prix meeting and she came to Hockenheim still smarting from the brutal disappointment at Silverstone, where her Mercedes engine lost its oil pressure after only four laps. This time she worked calmly through a throttle problem and later set a lap time that was only two-tenths of a second slower than team-mate Felipe Massa, who recently took pole position for the Austrian Grand Prix.

 

After an extremely respectable performance in which she staked her claim to race at this highest level, one of Wolff’s primary feelings was relief: “I hate to talk about things and then not be able to deliver. So once we’d worked through the problem with the throttle I was able to get down to business and carry out my part of the team’s programme for the session. I’m really pleased with how things went.”

Red Bull headed to Hockenheim as one of the teams which had the highest hopes that Mercedes might have lost some of their advantage with the ban on inter-connection between front and rear suspension systems. The ban was introduced by the FIA after the British GP on the grounds that they constituted an illegal moving aerodynamic aid. Mercedes’ system was believed to have been the most advanced, helping to maintain the car’s attitude and to control tyre wear.

Rosberg  acknowledged that it was difficult reoptimising the cars around conventional suspension, but Hamilton said: “It was a pretty good day. It was quite difficult to find the balance with the track being so hot, and this is a tricky circuit to drive. The car is a bit different now as everyone made some set-up changes in a different direction to what we’ve had in the past, but it’s still fun to drive.

“As the temperatures were so high, it was difficult for the tyres and we’re going to need to manage that carefully when we get to the race. The weather is beautiful and the heat was a challenge, but that’s how I like it. We need to analyse as much as we can tonight and drink plenty, as it’s going to stay hot.”

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
football
Life and Style
Jack Cooksey goes for the grand unveiling - moments before dropping his new iPhone 6 on the floor
iphone launch
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Life and Style
Customers look at the new iPhones on display at the launch of the new Apple iPhone 6 and iphone 6 plus at the Apple IFC store in Hong Kong
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Sport
Andros Townsend is challenged by Vladimir Volkov
football
Arts and Entertainment
Rapper Jay Z performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2008
musicSinger sued over use of the single-syllable sample in 'Run This Town'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week