Nurburgring Practice 1: Hamilton on top as Mercedes keep winning momentum

Lewis Hamilton strikes first at Nurburgring

Lewis Hamilton strikes first at Nurburgring

Mercedes has kept its race winning momentum going on the opening day of the German Grand Prix weekend, with Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg topping the timing sheets in the morning free practice session at an overcast Nurburgring.

Despite letting it be known that he is yet to feel 100% comfortable in the Silver Arrows, Hamilton was fastest of all by nearly a quarter second with his time of 1:31.754.

Speaking to the BBC before practice, the 2008 world champion said, “It’s an incredible car; just not as easy as what I’ve experienced before because I drove a car for a long period of time so every year it evolved and I’ve just arrived in a car that’s been developed for Nico [Rosberg] and for Michael [Schumacher], so it’s taking some time to adapt it to how I like to drive.”

Whatever the case the German team – still haunted by the tyre gate saga – has found the sweet spot with Rosberg three quarters of a second up on next best Mark Webber in the Red Bull, who won last time out at Nurburgring in 2011; also the venue of his first ever F1 race back in 2009.

Fernando Alonso oversees his Ferrari being recovered during FP1

Fernando Alonso oversees his Ferrari being recovered during FP1

Adrian Sutil was fourth fastest with Force India, suggesting that VJ Mallya’s team which was on form at Silverstone has carried its strong pace to Germany, although Paul Di Resta could only manage the 11th fastest time.

Fifth fastest was Kimi Raikkonenin in the Lotus. The Enstone squad has a few new bits bolted on to the E21.

Felipe Massa was sixth fastest, but the weekend in Germany got off to a bad start for Ferrari with Fernando Alonso limping around to the pits without completing a lap. His team had to work on his F138 race car throughout the ninety minutes. The world championship hopeful has started the weekend on the back foot. Surprisingly, Jenson Button was seventh fastest in the McLaren, which has not looked this strong in an FP1 session all year. Teammate Sergio Perez was tenth.

Sebastian Vettel went quickest early on but then focused on what appeared to be heavy load runs and ended the session eighth fastest. Romain Grosjean was ninth in the Lotus.

Sebastian Vettel was

Sebastian Vettel ended FP1 in eighth

 

Surprisingly out of the top ten were the Toro Rosso pair of Daniel Ricciardo and Jean Eric Vergne who ended the session 13th and 14th respectively. At Silverstone they were mixing it among the top ten.

Notably last time Formula 1 was at Nurburgring (in 2011) at the end of FP1 Alonso topped the timing screens  with a best time of 1:31.894. This in the era of blown diffusers which augmented downforce substantially. Some how the technical gurus, at the pinnacle of the sport, have managed to recoup the downforce through other means…

German Grand Prix, Free Practice 1 – Friday, 5 July 2013 

Pos No Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 10 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:31.754 25
2 9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:31.973 0.219 25
3 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:32.789 1.035 22
4 15 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:32.822 1.068 16
5 7 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 1:32.956 1.202 22
6 4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:33.065 1.311 18
7 5 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:33.139 1.385 24
8 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:33.213 1.459
9 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:33.260 1.506
10 6 Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1:33.456 1.702
11 14 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:33.493 1.739
12 11 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1:33.810 2.056
13 19 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 1:33.901 2.147
14 18 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari 1:33.976 2.222
15 16 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1:34.025 2.271
16 17 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1:34.200 2.446
17 12 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1:34.437 2.683
18 20 Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1:35.674 3.920
19 23 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1:35.987 4.233
20 21 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1:36.078 4.324
21 22 Rodolfo Gonzalez Marussia-Cosworth 1:37.459 5.705
22 3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari

  • realf1fan

    It seems Hamilto is getting more use to the WO4 and this could mean trouble for the rest, this in his first season at the Silver Arrows .
    Nico is finding out the difference between a 7xWDC and pure raw talent.

  • Lol.

    And is doing a pretty good job of beating him too, I might add.

  • Butterfly

    There’s a reason why everybody’s been saying for years that Hamilton and Alonso are top dogs.

    Still, I reckon the Austrians over at Merc aren’t too happy about Hamilton kicking Rosberg.