German F1 Grand Prix 2018 Qualifying: Results, Times from Friday's Practice

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJuly 20, 2018

HOCKENHEIM, GERMANY - JULY 20:  Daniel Ricciardo of Australia driving the (3) Aston Martin Red Bull Racing RB14 TAG Heuer on track during practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Germany at Hockenheimring on July 20, 2018 in Hockenheim, Germany.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Max Verstappen made it two in a row for Red Bull Racing when he finished fastest in the second free practice session at the 2018 Formula One German Grand Prix on Friday.

Verstappen paced Mercedes pair Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas. Hamilton had earlier finished adrift of Ricciardo at the end of the first session.

The day began in bittersweet fashion for Daniel Ricciardo, as he topped first practice after finding out he will start Sunday's race from the back of the grid.

The Australian posted a mark of one minute, 13.525 seconds to go quickest early on Friday, as he was 0.004 seconds quicker than Lewis Hamilton.

Ricciardo's Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen was third, while world championship leader Sebastian Vettel was down in fourth. However, neither Vettel nor his fellow Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen used the quickest tyre compound in FP1.

Here's a recap of the action so far from the Hockenheimring, with the drivers back in action later in the day for FP2.

FP2 Recap

The session belonged to Verstappen, who was 0.026 of a second quicker than Hamilton:

It was also a record-setting day for Verstappen:

One of the notable aspects of Verstappen's time was how he made history even after having to overcome car trouble. The 20-year-old found himself in the pits at a key moment:

While Red Bull will be delighted to have topped both practice sessions, not everybody is convinced the team has produced a precursor for a win in the race proper.

Among them, BBC Sport's Andrew Benson noted how the issue with the engine was just one hiccup for Verstappen, who was also "not able to complete a race-simulation run, trying the car on heavy fuel."

Significantly, Benson did detail how "Ferrari appeared to have a small advantage over Mercedes" on long runs. Sebastian Vettel couldn't keep up with either Bottas or Hamilton, but did appear faster on ultra-soft, soft and medium tyres, per Benson.

It's a fact likely to build confidence among Ferrari that one of Verstappen or Kimi Raikkonen can set a faster pace during qualifying, before standing up to the demands of Sunday's race better than the rest.

Vettel still impressed despite being fourth-fastest in FP2.
Vettel still impressed despite being fourth-fastest in FP2.CHRISTOF STACHE/Getty Images

At the moment, though, Verstappen has offered another reminder of his status as the burgeoning star of F1. The youngster still needs a big win to boost his sixth place in the Drivers standings, but it won't be easy with improvement likely from both Mercedes and Ferrari as the weekend progresses.

FP1 Recap

Here are how the timesheets are shaping up after the first practice session in Germany:

Ricciardo has been enduring some misfortune and inconsistent form as of late, so the news that he will start this race at the back of the grid would not have been welcome.

Journalist Luke Smith provided more details on the nature of the penalty:

Elsewhere, it was a relatively slow start to qualifying, with none of the big hitters really keen to reveal just how much they have to offer in the initial exchanges.

The drivers were having some issues adjusting to the track as they upped their pace, too, with Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas both drifting off the racing line and into trouble. Nico Hulkenberg also ended up in the gravel.

Per the Pirelli Motorsport Twitter account, although there was some sloppy driving early on, FP1 was set to be valuable for the drivers:

As the clock ticked down, the lap times started to drop, with Hamilton the man who initially went quickest. The Briton, however, was on the ultrasoft tyre, with the Ferrari pair of Vettel and Raikkonen on the slower soft compound to begin with.

Interestingly, both Ferrari drivers opted against using the ultras, leaving the Mercedes and Red Bull men to battle it out at the top of the standings.

In the end, somewhat ironically, it was Ricciardo who discovered some extra pace around the Hockenheimring, edging out Hamilton. While he will have a lot of ground to make up on Sunday from the back of the grid, he can at least be content with the fact his car appears to have the pace to do so.  

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