Red Bull’s bittersweet Friday at the German Grand Prix continued as Max Verstappen set the pace in FP2 but suffered an engine problem that limited his running.
After Daniel Ricciardo was fastest in first practice at the start of a weekend in which he will start from the back of the grid, Verstappen topped the afternoon session with a 1m13.085s. However, when the Dutch driver started his long run he complained of a strange sound while downshifting and opened team radio for his team to listen before returning to the pits.
While Verstappen spent a while out of the car, Red Bull was able to rectify the issue during the session and get back the car back out on track with three minutes remaining. The lost running left him with only 18 laps to his name compared to 39 for second-placed Lewis Hamilton and 46 for Sebastian Vettel, but the ability to fix the problem will offer Verstappen encouragement.
Once again Hamilton was close behind the lead Red Bull, this time 0.026s off Verstappen, while teammate Valtteri Bottas was third overall, 0.1s off the pace.
Championship leader Vettel was fourth quickest and within a quarter of a second of the fastest time, with Kimi Raikkonen close behind his teammate in fifth place as the top three teams appear very closely matched at this stage of the weekend.
Ricciardo’s grid penalty for taking new power unit components means the Australian is focusing on race pace as he will be forced to start from the back, but he suffered a spin after half an hour of the session. Exiting Turn 8, Ricciardo lost the rear as he got on the power and swapped ends, finishing FP2 in 13th place in the standings.
That opened the door for Haas to finish sixth and seventh with Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen respectively, the U.S. team securing best-of-the-rest status behind the top three in both sessions at Hockenheim.
Grosjean was the final driver within a second of Verstappen’s time, while Charles Leclerc was once again close behind the Haas pair in eighth place. Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Ocon rounded out the top 10, as 0.3s covered ninth to 17th.
Two big names in McLaren and Williams remained at the bottom of the standings, with Fernando Alonso in 17th ahead of the Williams pair of Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin. The Russian went wide at the Sachskurve and had to recover though the gravel, but still ended the session ahead of Stoffel Vandoorne as both teams tried upgrades.
Both Friday sessions ended with a race restart test, with the session being red flagged after the checkered flag and a number of cars waiting in the pit lane before heading round to the grid to restart from a standing start.