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Friday in Germany - team by team

29 Jul 2016

A round-up of the opening day's action from the Formula 1 Grosser Preis von Deutschland 2016 at Hockenheim...

Button had problems with intermittent engine braking in FP1 and with a foreign body in his eye in FP2, but overall McLaren once again looked as strong as they had at the Hungaroring last week.

Fernando Alonso - FP1: 1:17.183, P7; FP2: 1:17.225, P10

“It was a nice way to celebrate my birthday here with the team – we spend 200 days a year alongside each other, so that was a fantastic feeling. 

“I now need to focus on the weekend and help improve our pace a little. We felt competitive straight away in the first session – more than in the second, where we lost some performance. But we might need to go back on some set-up changes and find a way to improve the car for tomorrow.

“For this weekend, we need to be realistic: there are three teams that are a little bit quicker than everyone else, then, behind them, there’s a close fight. If we want to beat our direct competitors, we need to get everything right – but that’s likely to prove a little more difficult than it did in Hungary.

“Still, I’d hope and expect that we can score points on Sunday.”

Jenson Button - FP1: 1:17.612, P8; FP2: 1:17.087, P8

“I was driving down the pit straight when I got something in my eye. It wasn’t stuck in my eye, but it was a foreign body, which the hospital washed out and removed. It scratched my eye, so I’ve been given some eyedrops – but all is good. I don’t know what it was – maybe a piece of carbon dust, which has happened to me before.

“The session was okay – the car didn’t feel too bad at all – but I had to stop early because of the problem. The aim for the remainder of the weekend is to be up there behind the top three teams.”

Eric Boullier, Racing Director

“It’s not been the smoothest of days for us today. Neither Jenson nor Fernando really found the perfect balance, and there were a handful of minor issues that affected progress on both sides of the garage. 

“Nevertheless, we think we’ve found a pretty good baseline to carry forward for the remainder of the weekend, and we’ll be digging through the data this evening to ensure that we hit the ground running tomorrow morning. 

“Obviously, it was the right decision that Jenson went for a check-up on his eye. He complained of an irritation in his left eye during one of his FP2 runs, and chose to visit the circuit medical centre for a check-up. He was then transferred to a local hospital for a more detailed analysis, and it’s there that the doctors removed a small foreign body from his eye.”

Yusuke Hasegawa, Honda R&D Co Ltd Head of F1 Project & Executive Chief Engineer

“Today’s free practice sessions ran smoothly for the most part. Jenson had a minor eye irritation during FP2, but thankfully after a precautionary hospital check a foreign body was removed.

“Our testing programme today focused on both the power unit and chassis set-ups to suit the nature of this power-orientated track. It is Honda’s first outing at the Hockenheimring so our engineers were busy in both sessions to fine-tune the power unit’s characteristics, but thanks to some trouble-free running, we were able to accumulate and refine a good amount of data.

“As usual, Fridays are busy for the team to ready the car for tomorrow’s qualifying, and we look forward to what the engineers will bring to the table.”


Raikkonen had a clutch problem for a while in FP1, but that was solved, and Vettel said he was reasonably happy but would wait to make full judgement until tomorrow. Both drivers hoped for improvements overnight.

Sebastian Vettel - FP1: 1:16.667, P3; FP2: 1:16.208, P3

"Overall the outcome of the two sessions has been positive, but we still need to improve our car overnight and do some steps forward. I think the one-lap speed was okay, I haven't seen much from the long runs, I have spent most of the afternoon on Soft tires and they were lasting quite long, so I think overall it was ok but we still have to improve. We have to work on the set up of the car, and bring it a bit better together, so that the car feels better for me on track and it suits my driving, then I can attack better and more. As for the new rules on radio communications, it makes it easier for us, in terms of remembering, so I think it is a straightforward decision."

Kimi Raikkonen - FP1: 1:16.852, P4; FP2: 1:16.512, P6

"On Friday it's always difficult to have a clear idea of where you are, from tomorrow we'll understand more, but the session today was not too bad. For sure there's some work to be done to improve, but more or less we are about there. Obviously we want to be in the front, so this evening we are going to focus on fixing some things and improve in certain areas, then I'm sure we'll be okay."


Leclerc did another confident job for the team in FP1 before Gutierrez carried on the work in FP2 when he got his car back. Grosjean, however, lost a chunk of FP2 with a water leak.

Romain Grosjean - FP1: 1:18.589, P14; FP2: 1:17.602, P14

"We tried a few things today, taking the time to assess the track as a new venue for us. We focused on understanding how the tires work here. Unfortunately, we had our issue in the afternoon so we couldn’t do a long run, which is a bit of a shame. There’s plenty of work to be done tonight, including a few things we’re still investigating. We managed to try a few setups. Hopefully for tomorrow, we’ll pick up the best option."

Esteban Gutierrez - FP2: 1:18.005, P16

"It was a productive afternoon. We managed to complete our full program and got the most out of the time we had on track. Considering that Romain couldn’t go out, it was good that we switched the plan to run the two compounds on longer runs which gathered important information for the race. We’re happy with the mileage and tests we carried out and now we need to analyze all the data in order for us to optimize everything we can for tomorrow."

Charles Leclerc - FP1: 1:18.882, P17

"It’s always amazing to be back in the Haas Formula One car. It was a good session. We did many laps with two new sets of softs and then a race simulation for 15 laps. So, it was many laps and a lot of experience. I learned a lot, so all good.

"Every time I jump in the car I have more confidence. It’s only the third time I go in it. The car that feels less and less normal is the GP3 car because getting back to the GP3 car is a really big difference.

"Haas F1 Team is doing a great job. It’s only their first year in Formula One. It’s crazy what they’re doing for their first year in Formula One. I’m really impressed by them. They will just keep improving, I’m sure."

Guenther Steiner, team principal

"A very solid and standard FP1. Charles did a very good job in his third FP1 for us and we would like to thank him for that. Romain completed everything we needed to do this morning and we got all the data required. In the afternoon, Esteban was back in the car and was quickly up to speed working with the data collaborated earlier from Charles. We were going to split the work on the tires but, unfortunately, we had a water pipe break on Romain’s car and we had to stop him from going back out. Esteban stepped in and ran the test for both types of tires. Overall, we managed to get all the data we needed for tomorrow for FP3 and qualifying. Hopefully, we’ll come back stronger in the morning."

Red Bull

Verstappen spent FP1 familiarising himself with the track, and was happy later on with his speed on single and long runs. Ricciardo also felt that the pace was there to match Ferrari and that the race pace was good, so there’s strong optimism in this camp.

Daniel Ricciardo - FP1: 1:17.089, P6; FP2: 1:16.490, P5

"I enjoy the track around here actually. It’s cool and it’s got pretty good flow. The last sector is fun, but it’s tricky with the tyres. You’ve got some tight corners which seem to be harder on the rear tyres but then the last sector has got a lot of longer corners where you can hurt the front, so trying to balance the car isn’t always easy. But I felt we got on top of it more in FP2 so I’m pretty happy where we are now. We looked quite close to the Mercs on high fuel so that was promising. This afternoon’s race stint looked really good so if we can replicate what we did then on Sunday I think we can have a strong chance in the race. I’m obviously trying to keep up with all the rule changes but I’ve never been too fussed really. I think if it’s the same rules for everyone then let’s go and race and deal with what we’ve got."

Max Verstappen - FP1: 1:16.927, P5; FP2: 1:16.456, P4

"A good start to the day and weekend in general. The first session I was learning the lap with the car, we had a bit of front locking that we will hopefully get rid of tomorrow. The second session was good, definite progress from the first as I continued to learn the track and get used to the car here. Everyone knows this track is quite hard on the tyres so no real surprises there. We are not too far off Mercedes, we are matching Ferrari and the long runs were all pretty positive. We will have to wait and see how some of the rules work, from what I have heard in general it shouldn’t be too bad. I think the radio rules make it nicer for the fans so they can hear what is going on and not just listen to commentary. I think the fastest way around the track is within the track limits so we will try and keep to that. I don’t mind what the other drivers have said about last weekend, I’m happy and confident with my driving and defending, they can talk to me if they want but I don’t feel any pressure from them."

Force India

Force India were the only team to run the medium tyre in FP1 as they worked on set-up and evaluation before looking for pace in FP2. Both drivers were happy with progress and their potential for the race.

Sergio Perez - FP1: 1:18.628, P16; FP2: 1:17.148, P9

"It think we were the only team to run the medium compound today alongside the soft and supersoft, which allowed us to get a lot of data about each of the three different tyres. The mediums are performing quite well, which is a bit of a welcome surprise. It’s still early, but I think the weekend has a lot of potential and we’re in a good position to make the most of it. There are still some areas to improve when it comes to car balance, but we should be able to sort it overnight after looking at the data we collected."

Nico Hulkenberg - FP1: 1:18.591, P15; FP2: 1:16.781, P7

"I am pretty happy with today and it was a fairly straightforward start to the weekend. We ran all morning on the medium compound, which looks like a good tyre, and we worked with the soft and supersoft this afternoon. The pace looks alright and I felt pretty comfortable in the car, especially in the second session as the track improved. There’s obviously still quite a bit of work to get where we want to be, but overall it’s a positive start and I am looking forward to building on it."

Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal

"We are feeling happy with the work we’ve carried out carry out today, but we remain cautious because the temperatures weren’t as high today as what we are expecting for the rest of the weekend. We evaluated the three different tyre compounds and the updates we brought to the car for this race, and we were able to complete our programme without any issue. The drivers were happy with the balance of the car right from the start, so we were able to concentrate on fine-tuning the set-up to get the most performance out of the VJM09. In the end, we got some positive feedback and that’s always good."


Both drivers were happier with their cars’ pace by FP2, when they were pushing hard after their rivals in the P17 to P22 bracket.

Pascal Wehrlein - FP1: 1:19.975, P22; FP2: 1:18.193, P19

"At the end, I was quite happy; we made some progress today. To begin with, my fastest lap time was on the soft tyres, so the lap time wasn’t representative, but in second practice we were on the same strategy as everyone else and we aren’t far off the guys around us, so it’s a good sign.

"I hope we can improve for tomorrow. I really want to deliver a good job overall this weekend."

Rio Haryanto - FP1: 1:19.167, P21; FP2: 1:18.591, P21

"Yes coming to the Hockenheimring, we knew it would be challenging, but we are close to the cars around us and everything we have achieved today was pretty much as we expected. We will look at the data tonight and do our best in qualifying tomorrow.

"I think the tyre choice will be a challenge. Looking at the long runs today, it seems that the two tyre compounds are working very differently."

Dave Ryan, Racing Director

A reasonably positive first day today. We managed to get a good read on the cars and now it’s a case of evaluating the data and deciding how best to tackle tomorrow. We appear to be fairly competitive versus the cars around us; it’s looking pretty close and another 0.2s would put us up to P16 based on how things stand this afternoon."


Ocon impressed with the same pace as Magnussen in FP1, despite delays due to a power steering fault. Both the Dane, and Palmer, who took over his own car for FP2, said there are several improvements that need to be made overnight.

Kevin Magnussen - FP1: 1:18.933, P18; FP2: 1:18.056, P17

"I completed plenty of laps today and we didn’t have any issues with the car, which is always promising. We do have a few areas to work on but we did make decent progress through the day. We can make some improvements on how we use the supersoft tyre and with our brake balance too. That’s all part of the work we do on Friday then overnight ahead of tomorrow’s final practice and qualifying."

Jolyon Palmer - FP2: 1:18.313, P20

"This morning was pretty easy for me as I wasn’t in the car so this afternoon was pretty full. We ran a good number of laps in the afternoon – the joint highest tally - but it’s fair to say we still have some improvements to be made with the car. The good thing is we have a lot of data and as we saw in Budapest it is possible to unlock quite a bit more pace."

Esteban Ocon - FP1: 1:18.981, P20

"We managed to go through all the test items we were supposed to do and I’m happy with my performance throughout the session. I was the same speed as Kevin which is very promising; I was quite pleased with that. We had a little issue with the power steering but didn’t lose much time because of that; I think it went well overall."

Bob Bell, chief technical officer

"A good day’s work. We completed a promising run programme with plenty of laps from all three drivers. We finished pretty much all of our planned assessments which means we have all the information we require to make an educated decision on direction for qualifying tomorrow and the race on Sunday."

Toro Rosso

A new aero package baselined well as Sainz learned the track and Kvyat enjoyed a clean weekend for a change thus far. The worry is whether the STR11 can improve as much as they expect rivals to tomorrow.

Carlos Sainz - FP1: 1:18.044, P10; FP2: 1:17.342, P11

"It was good to drive here for the first time with an F1 car – it was obviously quite challenging, but I enjoyed it. The conditions out there today were tricky, especially with the wind that picked-up during this afternoon's FP2 and there was also a bit less grip on track. We don't look too bad here, but we still need to keep finding time – I think the others could improve massively for tomorrow and we have to make sure we do the same. It's very competitive out there and the long straights don't make it easy for us, but this doesn't mean we won't stop working on it! I'm feeling positive and I look forward to the rest of the weekend."

Daniil Kvyat - FP1: 1:18.008, P9; FP2: 1:17.367, P12

"It was quite a clean Friday, something we had been missing for a while, so we definitely have a good baseline for the rest of the weekend. Of course, we still have a few bits and pieces to digest and to correct for tomorrow and if we do it right we should get better and better. I felt quite good in the car and I enjoy driving here, it's a pleasant track from the good old days."

Phil Charles, Chief Race Engineer

"We fitted a new aero package today and as usual this requires some specific and dedicated runs to confirm it performs as expected. I am pleased to say that so far all the analysis done has given ‘green lights' – although, as always, we will need some time to really tweak and optimise around what the package brings us – and that was true between FP1 and FP2 today. In terms of our performance, I think it is again very tight in the mid pack and I had perhaps hoped to be a little more competitive here than we are. It is no secret that we have tended to rank a little on the low side recently in the speed trap rankings and this has been a significant source of lap time loss to our competitors today. Unfortunately, this has become quite a recurrent pattern as other power units have received upgrades in recent races. As a result, today's setup work has focused somewhat on trying to maximise performance around what the new package brings us, but also to get a good compromise of a ‘raceable' package from an overtaking point of view for Sunday, without compromising cornering performance. 

"Daniil has performed relatively well today after taking a new direction on the setup side – I am hopeful this will pay dividends tomorrow and on Sunday as well."


Rosberg had a clean day and was generally the quickest, though Hamilton went ahead briefly on the soft tyre in FP2. Neither had any problems, and despite the apparent gap to his team-mate (0.326s in FP1 and 0.394s in FP2), Hamilton described it as a “chilled” day.

Nico Rosberg - FP1: 1:15.517, P1; FP2: 1:15.614

"A good start to the weekend. It's great to be back here in Hockenheim at this historic track. The tarmac is old, so the way the tyres work is completely different to in Hungary where the tarmac was new. Here it's much more snappy and more of a challenge. But in general our car was working well out there today. Saying that, in Hungary we were very quick on Friday but then on Saturday and Sunday everyone was very close. So, we are warned by that to not get over-excited on a Friday. It's a good start but we'll see more tomorrow."

Lewis Hamilton - FP1: 1:15.843, P2; FP2: 1:16.008, P2

"It's been a very chilled Friday. The weather has been good and the track feels great. It's the original track surface, so it's nice and bumpy and has lots of character. We had a fairly straightforward two sessions today. No real surprises and a good first step for the weekend. We'll see where we are in qualifying tomorrow."

Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical)

"A good day to start the weekend, with no major issues on either side of the garage, a full programme completed and our pace looking reasonably good. The main focus has been on understanding the Soft and Supersoft tyres - particularly on long runs, to see which race strategies will make most sense on Sunday. There was a little bit of stress this afternoon with race direction concerning track limits at T1 - particularly concerning Lewis' position with two reprimands already to his name - so we compromised our programme somewhat to ensure that he avoided a third. Overall, though, it's great to be back at the Hockenheimring and we're looking forward to a good battle in qualifying tomorrow."


The team focused on aero evaluation of the different front wing packages in FP1 and tyre work in FP2, and while the high-fuel runs weren’t too bad, there’s work to do tonight in single-lap qualifying runs.

Valtteri Bottas - FP1: 1:18.210, P12; FP2: 1:17.425, P13

"Today was quite a standard Friday to be honest. We’ve been doing shorter and longer runs to try out the front wings and get information on the tyres. Everything we needed to do today we managed to complete. Personally, I think we can be better than this and I’m sure we can be more competitive going into tomorrow. Qualifying is going to be very close because the track here is quite short so the time differences are going to be very small."

Felipe Massa - FP1: 1:18.322, P13; FP2: 1:17.686, P15

"It was a very difficult Friday to be honest. I struggled to find a good balance with the car and to understand how the tyres are working around here. It also wasn’t a good day in terms of laptimes as we struggled with the consistency of the tyres. There’s definitely work that we need to do ahead of FP3 and qualifying tomorrow."

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering

"We concentrated on aerodynamic testing for most of the morning, focussing on the front wings in particular. We looked at the different specifications of the different front wing packages across the two cars. In the afternoon we concentrated on tyre work. We’re a little bit out of position on low fuel runs. On the high fuel runs it’s slightly better but the field’s a little bit mixed up so it’s very difficult to tell. We’ll have a clearer picture tomorrow, but I think we’ve probably got a bit of work to do tonight. The good thing is that the areas we need to work on are very clear. Weather wise I think it’s going to be a straightforward weekend and if it does rain tomorrow then it shouldn’t be too heavy as far as our forecasts are showing."


Nasr struggled with a driveability issue all day, while Ericsson was delayed towards the end of FP2 with fuel pump problems.

Marcus Ericsson - FP1: 1:18.198, P11; FP2: 1:18.130, P18

"It's been a decent Friday. I was able to run a good amount of laps in both sessions. We tried the new rear wing again in FP1, and finally see the numbers we want to. We will continue with our indepth analysis, but it seems to be a step forward. We also plan to keep this rear wing for the rest of this weekend, which is a positive sign. Let's see where we stand tomorrow."

Felipe Nasr - FP1: 1:18.961, P19; FP2: 1:19.295, P22

"It was a difficult day for me. I did not feel comfortable in the car. The handling as well as the driveability of the car is quite weak at the moment. We were not able to get the tyres to work properly, likewise with the set-up of the car. We will look into different areas of the car to understand where the issues come from. We need to sort it out for the rest of the weekend."


Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director:

“With the drivers not having been to Hockenheim for a couple of years, today was really all about reacquainting themselves with the track and collecting data that was relevant to the current performance levels of the 2016 cars and tyres. Despite some changeable and slippery conditions – especially in the morning – the teams generally achieved their objectives and we’ve got a lot of data to look at now. It’s clear that the supersoft enjoys quite a notable performance advantage here, so naturally the teams have concentrated a lot on that, as well as maximising the opportunities offered by the soft tyres. However, there’s still quite a lot of learning and analysis still to be done.”