Rosberg continues to set Hockenheim pace


Ahead of today's second practice session the air temperature is 25 degrees C, whilst the track temperature is 38 degrees. It remains bright and sunny however, there are dark clouds in the distance which supports UBIMET's forecast of rain during this session.

Nico Rosberg was quickest in this morning's session, topping a timesheet that had more than a hint of Noah's Ark about it.

Behind the two Mercedes (natch!), came the Ferraris, Red Bulls, McLarens, Toro Rossos... and Ericsson. Followed by the Williams and force Indias.

Other than the sheers pace of the Silver Arrows - Rosberg was 0.326s quicker than his teammate and 1.150s quicker than third placed Sebastian Vettel - was the amount of cars that ran wide, particularly in T1.

As in Austria, Britain and Hungary, the FIA is seriously coming down on those who exceed the track limits, whilst performing U-turns on just about every other issue.

With Charles Leclerc and Esteban Ocon on duty earlier, this afternoon sees Esteban Gutierrez and Jolyon palmer get their first running of the weekend.

With a serious threat of rain, we are likely to see the drivers keen to get to work from the outset.

The lights go green and Haryanto leads Nasr on to the circuit. The Haas duo perform practice starts.

Soon there are 8 drivers on track, including the two who missed this morning's session and the Ferrari duo. All are on softs.

Haryanto posts 25.806 but this is instantly beaten by Nasr who crosses the line at 21.155. Vettel subsequently posts a far more sensible 18.433 and Raikkonen 18.490.

As Grosjean looks to be seeking out the old circuit, albeit heading in the wrong direction, at T6, Hulkenberg goes quickest (18.363).

Charlie Whiting confirms that "any driver who is judged to have left the track three times at Turn 1 will be reported to the stewards". This should be fun, especially as every single driver went off several times at T1, Verstappen no less than 14 times.

"Help me with the brake balance as I don't know what to do," says Grosjean following a spin at T6. "It's not working." The Frenchman had a difficult morning, then again he had a difficult Hungary...

A 17.978 sees Verstappen go quickest, only to be leapfrogged by teammate Ricciardo (17.716) moments later.

Rosberg posts 18.324 to go third as Hamilton looks to improve on 34.581. Next time around the Briton fails to improve, having gone off at T1.

Vettel complains that his steering wheel is not straight.

Purples in S1 and S3 sees Rosberg go quickest with a 17.415. Moments later, Hamilton, who is quickest in S2 and S3, stops the clock at 17.067.

Just 15 minutes into the session and Verstappen has been off at T1 twice, once more and he's reported to the stewards. Hamilton is warned by his team that he too is close to being reported.

Vettel complains that due to various issues including traffic and balance, he has not had a decent lap.

Heading back to the pits, Hamilton leaves it very late and has to cut across the white line at the pit entry.

Twenty-five minutes in and Haryanto and Hulkenberg make the switch to supersofts. Perez also.

Hulkenberg goes quickest in S1, despite an off in T1, going on to maintain the pace in S2. At the line the German posts 16.781 to go quickest.

Raikkonen, also on supers, goes quickest in S1, as Perez goes third overall (17.348). The Finn subsequently crosses the line at 16.512.

As more and more drivers make the switch to supers, Button posts 17.087 to go fourth. The Briton subsequently reporting that his cockpit is getting "quite warm".

After a cool down lap, Raikkonen goes quickest again in S1 before losing pace in S2.

Now Rosberg goes quickest in S1, as Ricciardo goes quickest overall with a 16.490. However, moments later Rosberg bangs in a 15.614 to go top by a whopping 0.8s.

Hamilton posts 16.008 to go second, but like this morning he is 0.3s off his teammate's pace.

Verstappen improves to third (16.456), albeit 0.842s off Rosberg's pace.

Approaching 'half-time', it's: Rosberg, Hamilton, Verstappen, Ricciardo, Raikkonen, Hulkenberg, Button, Perez, Bottas and Grosjean.

Check out our Friday gallery from Hockenheim, here.

As in Hungary - though he did go on to win - Hamilton appears very scruffy, with lock-ups and offs. Once again, he appears to be pushing too hard.

Vettel digs deep and produces a 16.208 to go third, albeit 0.594s off Roberg's pace, though only 0.200 of Hamilton's.

"Guys, the understeer mid-corner has come back," sighs Grosjean. "Yeh, we see that," comes the reply.

On two successive laps Vettel runs wide in T1, the German subsequently locks-up as he enters the pits.

"No more running wide at Turn 1, no more running wide at Turn 1," Hulkenberg is warned.

Now fully focussed on Sunday afternoon, on high fuel the Mercedes duo remain the pace-setters, both lapping in the mid 1:20s.

Of the front runners all are on the supersofts bar Vettel who is on the softs. The German is lapping in the low-to-mid 1:21s.

Getting it all wrong at T6, Perez reports a bad front-left flat-spot.

Verstappen runs wide in T1 again, which by our reckoning is about the seventh time.

Stuck behind Haryanto and Magnussen, Vettel's frustration is getting the better of him. "This is a **** spot, I'm wasting my time," he complains.

Grosjean's session is over, his car has a leak and consequently the Frenchman is on the pitwall.

It is reported that Button has had to go to the medical centre due to an eye irritation he was suffering in the cockpit.

Hamilton has to take to the grass as Ricciardo passes Haryanto as the Mercedes exits the pits, meaning the cars are three abreast. "That was really dangerous," says the Briton, unaware which of the Red Bull drivers it was.

Elsewhere, Massa and Raikkonen enjoy a little bit of argy-bargy as the Ferrari driver is determined to get past the Williams.

Elsewhere, Ricciardo backs off after losing time behind Vettel.

The session ends with Rosberg quickest again, ahead of Hamilton, Vettel, Verstappen, Ricciardo, Raikkonen, Hulkenberg, Button, Perez and Alonso.

Sainz is eleventh, ahead of Kvyat, Bottas, Grosjean, Massa, Gutierrez, Magnussen, Ericsson, Wehrlein, Palmer, Haryanto and Nasr.

Check out our Friday gallery from Hockenheim, here.

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Published: 29/07/2016
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