Daniel Ricciardo started the German Grand Prix weekend with the fastest time of first practice but will start from the back of the grid on Sunday.
A time of 1m13.525s left Ricciardo just 0.004s clear of Lewis Hamilton, but a number of new power unit components taken by Red Bull this weekend — with the team considering next week’s race in Budapest to offer a better chance of victory — means he will start from the back of the grid.
Although FP1 times are less representative than the second practice session, Red Bull may come to rue that decision with Max Verstappen backing up the early pace with the third-fastest time, 0.189s adrift of his teammate. Red Bull also scored a double podium on Formula 1’s last visit to Hockenheim in 2016.
The top six featured the usual contenders, with Sebastian Vettel fourth ahead of Valtteri Bottas — fresh from signing a new deal for 2019 with Mercedes — in fifth. While Bottas was just 0.378s off the overall pace, fellow Finn Kimi Raikkonen was a little under three quarters of a second slower than Ricciardo in sixth.
Haas started strongly with Romain Grosjean in seventh and Kevin Magnussen eighth — albeit both over a second off the pace — ahead of Charles Leclerc in ninth as Ferrari-powered cars again featured heavily in the top 10.
Nico Hulkenberg was 10th but went off at high speed entering the stadium section, bouncing through the gravel and fortunately rejoining the track without damage after having regained control of his Renault.
On the other side of the garage, Carlos Sainz saw his running limited by a coolant leak that was traced back to an issue with a seal. Sainz was confined to the garage for much of the second half of the session, completing just 10 laps in total.
While Renault had one car in the top 10 and one suffering problems, the same was the case at Sauber as Antonio Giovinazzi — replacing Marcus Ericsson in FP1 — had part of his engine cover detach as he exited the pits early in the session. Giovinazzi returned with many of the car’s internal components on display, while the engine cover was quickly removed by a marshal.
There was little running for McLaren, with Fernando Alonso completing just 13 laps and Stoffel Vandoorne — slowest overall — only managing one more, although both cars were testing a number of new items. There was also a new front wing on display at Williams, with the whole wing painted yellow with flo-viz paint (pictured above) to understand how the airflow works as the team looks to fix a number of aerodynamic issues with the FW41.
Nicholas Latifi also made another appearance for Force India during FP1, with the Canadian showing up well on what was his second Friday outing for the team. Latifi was 17th quickest but just 0.6s slower than teammate Sergio Perez.