Nico Rosberg set the pace in the first practice session of the German Grand Prix weekend at the Hockenheimring, from his team-mate Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.
It was a busy start to practice one, under clear and sunny skies, with Susie Wolff, Jean-Eric Vergne, Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Massa being the first drivers to take to the circuit.
However, the Williams development driver – replacing Valtteri Bottas at Williams for the session – immediately suffered a sensor calibration issue on her installation lap and was stuck in first gear. She managed to crawl back to the pits before the Grove-based outfit set about fixing the problem.
Following a few minutes of silence, Ericsson re-appeared at the wheel of his Caterham CT05 to set the opening lap time of the session, with a rather tentative 1m28.480. He was swiftly displaced by his team-mate Kamui Kobayashi, before Kevin Magnussen briefly moved to the front.
Sebastian Vettel topped the timesheets after the first runs, just under half a tenth clear of Rosberg. Hamilton had looked set to beat the German’s lap time but he was forced to back off in the final sector on several of his early attempts.
The second runs kicked off with 45 minutes of the session remaining. Daniil Kvyat jumped up to third on the soft compound tyre, before he was displaced by Jenson Button and Daniel Ricciardo, with the Aussie going fastest for Red Bull Racing.
The Mercedes duo of Rosberg and Hamilton predictably returned to the front of the field with just over 30 minutes of practice one remaining. There were plenty of off-track excursions – particularly at turns one and eight – as drivers tackled the Hockenheimring without the FRIC suspension system and started to push the limits of their cars.
Romain Grosjean suffered a scary moment at turn two after his DRS failed to close under braking for the right-hand hairpin. By the end of the session Rosberg had managed to improve to a 1m19.131, finishing at the top of the timesheets.
Hamilton was just 0.065 seconds off, with Alonso finishing in third and Ricciardo in fourth. Button completed the top five, two tenths clear of Vettel and his team-mate Magnussen.
Kimi Raikkonen finished eighth and completed 21 laps, having been delayed by a technical issue with his F14 T mid-way through the session. Kvyat and Adrian Sutil rounded out the top 10, with Massa and Vergne next up.
The Force India duo of Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez were 13th and 14th respectively, narrowly beating Wolff. The Scot ended first practice 1.6 seconds down on Rosberg and just over two tenths behind Massa, managing 22 laps in total.
Giedo van der Garde, who replaced Esteban Gutierrez at Sauber for the session, finished in 16th place. Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado were 17th and 18th fastest for Lotus, with Kobayashi, Jules Bianchi, Ericsson and Max Chilton completed the timesheets.
|4||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||1:19.697||+0.566||27|
|6||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||1:20.097||+0.966||28|
|9||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||1:20.337||+1.206||28|
|12||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso||1:20.586||+1.455||23|
|13||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||1:20.592||+1.461||22|
|14||Sergio Perez||Force India||1:20.598||+1.467||24|
|16||Giedo van der Garde||Sauber||1:20.782||+1.651||23|
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic