2016 German Grand Prix Practice Review

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Lewis Hamilton wins the Hungarian Grand Prix ahead of Nico Rosberg in second place and Daniel Ricciardo in third place. Ferrari, Williams, Force India and McLaren all managed to pick up some much needed points from the event.

Heading into the race this weekend, it was announced that former Ferrari Technical Director James Allison has left the team with immediate effect. To read more about this, then please read my article here:- https://jonesonf1.wordpress.com/2016/07/27/james-allison-leaves-ferrari-with-immediate-effect/.

The Hockenheimring circuit is located in Hockenheim 20 kilometers from Heidelberg, hosted the Formula One German Grand Prix for the first time in 1970. The originally circuit built in 1932 used roads in the forest and it was almost eight kilometers long and only for motorcycle racing. In 1936 the circuit was expanded to be used as a test track for cars. It was last rebuilt in 2002 and the new track guarantees exciting races and plenty of overtaking opportunities.

The Herman Tilke-designed track is almost completely flat and has long straights followed by slow corners and hairpins. Top-speed and good torque is vital and the circuit is one of the hardest on brakes. The circuit is 4.574 km long and features 17 corners and 6 straights. The minimum track width is 15 meters and the direction is clockwise. The circuit has a capacity of 120,000 spectators, most of them located in the grandstands surrounding the Motodrom stadium section. One of the grandstands are sponsored by Mercedes-Benz.

Do you want to stay at a hotel really close to the circuit? The hotel Motodrom is actually integrated into the main stand of the Hockenheimring, directly on the start/finishing straight. From the restaurant you can get an unique view over the racetrack.

In 2006 Bernie Ecclestone announced that there would only be one Formula One race in Germany per year from 2007, alternating between Nurburgring and Hockenheimring. The organizers have an agreement to host the race at Hockenheim until 2018. In 2015, for the first time since 1960, there was no German Grand Prix as Nurburgring opted out due to financial problems.

Practices 1, 2 and 3

Just before the start of Practice 1, it was announced by the FIA that the Halo safety device would be delayed until the 2018 season. If you want to find out more about this, then please read my article here:- https://jonesonf1.wordpress.com/2016/07/28/f1-strategy-group-agrees-frontal-cockpit-protection-for-2018/

The main headline from the Practice sessions is that Mercedes and Ferrari look to have the driver-car package to beat this weekend as weather conditions and tyre management which will test the drivers, teams and the cars throughout Friday and Saturday practice sessions.

Nico Rosberg tops the timesheets in FP1 and FP2.

Nico Rosberg tops the timesheets in FP1 and FP2.

Practice 1 saw Nico Rosberg tops the timesheet with a time of 1.15.517 followed closely by Lewis Hamilton with a gap of 0.326 seconds behind, Sebastian Vettel was in third with a gap of 1.150 seconds behind, Kimi Raikkonen in fourth with a gap of 1.335 seconds behind and Max Verstappen in fifth with a gap of 1.410 seconds behind Rosberg.

Daniel Ricciardo is sixth with a gap of 1.572 seconds behind, Fernando Alonso is seventh with a gap of 1.666 seconds behind, Jenson Button is eighth with a gap of 2.095 seconds behind, Daniil Kvyat is ninth with a gap of 2.49 seconds behind and Carlos Sainz Jr is tenth with a gap of 2.527 seconds behind Rosberg.

Just before FP2, it was announced by the FIA that there will be a new procedure under a wet Safety Car during the races. If you want to read more about this, then please read my article here:- https://jonesonf1.wordpress.com/2016/07/29/f1-makes-tweaks-to-wet-safety-car-starts/.

Practice 2 saw Rosberg tops the timesheet with a time of 1.15.614 followed closely by Hamilton with a gap of 0.394 seconds behind, Vettel was in third with a gap of 0.594 seconds behind, Verstappen in fourth with a gap of 0.842 seconds behind and Ricciardo in fifth with a gap of 0.876 seconds behind Rosberg.

Raikkonen is sixth with a gap of 0.898 seconds behind, Hulkenberg is seventh with a gap of 1.167 seconds behind, Button is eighth with a gap of 1.473 seconds behind, Perez is ninth with a gap of 1.534 seconds behind and Alonso is tenth with a gap of 1.611 seconds behind Rosberg.

In the intra-team fight at Mercedes, Rosberg out-paced Hamilton by over three tenths as he made it a perfect Friday on his return to Hockenheim, where he won Germany’s last grand prix in 2014. It will be a welcome boost for Rosberg, who lost the championship lead to Hamilton in Hungary and has seen his teammate win five of the last six races.

But during FP2, Jenson Button’s session was significantly shortened by a trip to the local hospital for what McLaren later confirmed was an eye irritation. Sergio Perez finished ninth in the other Force India after getting airborne early in the session when re-joining the track at Turn 1.

Just shortly after FP2, it was announced by the FIA that there will be a new procedure under double yellow flags. If you want to read more about this, then please read my article here:- https://jonesonf1.wordpress.com/2016/07/29/f1-makes-tweaks-to-wet-safety-car-starts/

Practice 3 saw Rosberg tops the timesheet with a time of 1.15.738 followed closely by Hamilton with a gap of 0.057 seconds behind, Ricciardo was in third with a gap of 0.099 seconds behind, Raikkonen in fourth with a gap of 0.164 seconds behind and Vettel in fifth with a gap of 0.366 seconds behind Rosberg.

Verstappen is sixth with a gap of 0.444 seconds behind, Bottas is seventh with a gap of 0.662 seconds behind, Massa is eighth with a gap of 0.892 seconds behind, Alonso is ninth with a gap of 1.178 seconds behind and Hulkenberg is tenth with a gap of 1.234 seconds behind Rosberg.

But during FP2, we saw Daniil Kvyat twenty minutes into the session saying to his team via the radio that he has problems with the brakes. Also, we saw the stewards investigating the incident between Romain Grosjean and Lewis Hamilton for an unsafe release in the pitlane after Grosjean had to stop in the pitlane to avoid an incident with Hamilton who was going rather slowly.

Shortly after the stewards announced there is an investigation between himself and Hamilton, on the rundown to the hairpin; we saw Grosjean going off the circuit and spinning onto the grass and reported suspected gearbox issues and aero issues. Grosjean coasted the car back to the pits in order for the Haas team to check it over.

At the end of the session, Sebastian Vettel sustained front wing damage to his Ferrari after going too far onto the “sausage” kerb. But he managed to get it back to the pits safely and will be replaced before qualifying later on this afternoon.

You would be stupid not to bet against the Mercedes drivers of Hamilton and Rosberg to gain pole position again this weekend. As the Mercedes drivers seem to be performing brilliantly at the moment and the momentum is with them from all the track mileage and their strong form from the last race. Vettel, Raikkonen, Ricciardo, Verstappen, Perez, Hulkenberg or Sainz Jr also cannot be discounted for the pole also as they are consistently within the top ten places at the moment.

However, I think that Toro Rosso, McLaren and Force India have shown that they could throw themselves into the mix and could qualify well here to be in the hunt for some decent points this weekend. We all look forward to the qualifying session of the Grand Prix with excitement…

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