• German GP - FP1

Rosberg pips Hamilton to top spot in first practice

Laurence Edmondson at Hockenheim
July 18, 2014
© Sutton Images

Nico Rosberg set the fastest time during the first practice session for the German Grand Prix, beating Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton to the top spot by 0.065s.

Hamilton was quicker in the first two sectors but struggled to get his car hooked up in the stadium section in the final sector where Rosberg made the difference. Fernando Alonso was third fastest, 0.292s off Rosberg's Mercedes, keeping up Ferrari's recent run of being best of the rest in the early sessions of a grand prix weekend. Daniel Ricciardo put Red Bull fourth fastest, but despite the removal of FRIC suspension systems from all cars - which was thought to be a Mercedes' strength - he was still over half a second off the pace of Rosberg and Hamilton.

Williams was hoping to gain from the removal of FRIC, but Felipe Massa was outside the top ten while Susie Wolff finished the session 15th in her first full practice session at a grand prix. After oil pressure issues brought Wolff's Silverstone FP1 debut to an end after just four laps, it looked as though a repeat might occur at Hockenheim as her opening lap was spent stuck in first gear. However, she managed to nurse the car back to the pits where the Williams team were able to fix the issue and send her back out. By the end of the session, Wolff was just 0.227s off her team-mate Massa and completed a total of 24 laps.

Jenson Button was fifth fastest as McLaren looks to build on its strong showing at Silverstone two weeks ago, with the second Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel sixth and the second McLaren of Kevin Magnussen in seventh. The Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen was eighth quickest as he returned to the Ferrari cockpit for the first time since his hefty accident on the first lap of the British Grand Prix.

Daniil Kvyat and Adrian Sutil rounded out the top ten, with an impressive performance from the latter who on Thursday described his Sauber as "a bit of a diva" in the way it refused to respond to his demands. Giedo van der Garde was 16th fastest in the second Sauber as he took to the wheel of Esteban Gutierrez's car for the morning session.

If any team appears to be struggling with removal of FRIC it is Lotus, with both drivers filling the void between the midfield pack and Caterham and Marussia. Romain Grosjean was 0.8s off the pace of van der Garde, despite the Lotuses typically being quicker than the Saubers at recent races.

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