Formula 1 News

FRIC all difference to Mercedes in FP1

Much of the discussion in advance was of FRIC, bit FRIC or no FRIC Mercedes remains on top with Rosberg claiming the best times in the morning session.
Friday, July 18, 2014

HOCKENHEIM, July 18, 2014 (F1plus/Graham Keilloh).- Even with the much-discussed removal of FRIC suspension systems up and down the grid, the top two this morning in Hockneheim remained of the familiar sort. At home in advance of the German Grand Prix once again the Mercedes dominated FP1.

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And continuing the home supremacy it was Nico Rosberg that pipped his team mate this time, with a session-topping 1m 19.131, some 65 thousandths under his team mate Lewis Hamilton’s best.

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It was a slightly scrappy session generally, with many lock-ups and runs through run-off areas – including for both Mercedes drivers – on show, drivers possibly feeling their way in adapting their approach and set-up to life without the FRIC systems.

Elsewhere any post-FRIC effects were hard to discern at this stage. Fernando Alonso – a man with fine pedigree at this track – showed up well for a run to P3 in the final FP1 order, and getting within three tenths of Rosberg’s best. Whether it reflects a post-FRIC benefit, improvement from Ferrari generally or perhaps another of its Friday false dawns remains to be seen.

For Alonso’s stable mate Kimi Raikkonen there was more frustration however, as he had to abort early with a water pump problem before setting a time, which lost him upwards of half an hour of running. He emerged later to set eighth best time, albeit close to eight tenths off Alonso’s best.

McLaren and Red Bull showed up well however in FP1. Daniel Ricciardo finished up in P4 and Sebastian Vettel (who topped the times for a while) in P6, them 0.566 and 0.966 seconds respectively off Rosberg. While Jenson Button was P5 in the final order and Kevin Magnussen P7, them 0.702 and 0.974 off.

Toro Rosso had an encouraging start to the weekend with Daniil Kvyat ending up in P9 with a 1m 20.337 and Jean-Eric Vergne P12 a quarter of a second shy. Sauber showed up much better than usual too with Adrian Sutil getting P10 with a 1m 20.505. Giedo van der Garde ran in the other car and ended up P16, another around a quarter of a second off his team mate’s best.

Force India had been expected to be one of the winners from the passing of FRIC, but there was little evidence of it here as they finished up an underwhelming P13 and P14, Nico Hulkenberg ahead by a mere six thousandths.

Lotus appeared to remain in the doldrums in P17 and P18, Grosjean ahead, while another expected post-FRIC effect might be coming to pass with Kamui Kobayashi beating Jules Bianchi by around four tenths in P19 and P20. Marcus Ericsson just pipped Max Chilton also in the final two places.

It threatened to be more wretched luck for Susie Wolff standing in at Williams for Valtteri Bottas for this session, as on her opening lap she slowed to a crawl due to an ‘upshift problem’. Thankfully she was able to make it back to the pits, where the problem was remedied swiftly, and Wolff then briefly topped the times, as well as set a series of respectable marks close to, and sometimes beating, those of the permanent driver Felipe Massa. In the end her best was just over two tenths over Massa’s, them in P11 and P15 respectively. Pat Symonds said in advance that anything within half a second would represent a good job.

The times for the session:

Pos No Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:19.131 29
2 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:19.196 0.065 25
3 14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:19.423 0.292 21
4 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:19.697 0.566 27
5 22 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:19.833 0.702 24
6 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:20.097 0.966 28
7 20 Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1:20.105 0.974 32
8 7 Kimi RŠikkšnen Ferrari 1:20.210 1.079 21
9 26 Daniil Kvyat STR-Renault 1:20.337 1.206 28
10 99 Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1:20.505 1.374 18
11 19 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1:20.542 1.411 19
12 25 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Renault 1:20.586 1.455 23
13 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1:20.592 1.461 22
14 11 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1:20.598 1.467 24
15 41 Susie Wolff Williams-Mercedes 1:20.769 1.638 22
16 36 Giedo van der Garde Sauber-Ferrari 1:20.782 1.651 23
17 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:21.603 2.472 20
18 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1:21.854 2.723 30
19 10 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1:22.572 3.441 31
20 17 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1:22.982 3.851 24
21 9 Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1:23.256 4.125 35
22 4 Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1:23.299 4.168 22

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