Red Bull and Ferrari look very closely matched after the second practice session at the Hockenheimring – Sebastian Vettel described the red cars as “extremely competitive”.
But question marks remain over McLaren’s pace following a disrupted session, with the team yet to decide whether they will run their new exhaust-blown diffuser during the rest of the weekend.
Update: McLaren will use their blown diffuser for the rest of the weekend.
Tick/untick drivers’ names to show their laps, click and drag to zoom
The second session was largely dry – the track was damp to begin with and a light shower fell around half an hour into the session which is reflected in a rise in the lap times in the graph above.
Comparing the ultimate lap times for both Ferrari and Red Bull drivers (see below) puts the gap covering all four of them at just 0.107 seconds.
Based on today’s times, with unknown fuel loads, the two cars seem quite evenly matched around the Hockenheimring.
On the face of it McLaren appear to be struggling. But the shape of their session was determined by Lewis Hamilton missing all but the last ten minutes of it as the team repaired his car following his crash in first practice.
That left Jenson Button to shoulder the bulk of the workload and he ran a 19-lap stint at the end of the session. He suffered no apparent problems with tyre degradation – his best lap time at the end of the stint was 1.3s faster than that at the start of it.
Hamilton vaulted up to seventh with his final lap. Curiously, he was 16th fastest in the first sector, fastest of all in the middle sector, then 14th fastest in the final sector.
It remains to be seen whether the exhaust-blown diffuser will stay on the MP4-25. Button’s complaints of rear-end instability in the first session could be another indication he’s not yet happy with it, as was the case in Silverstone.
McLaren’s pace notwithstanding, Mercedes look to be solidly the best of the rest, with Renault needing to make some progress with their set-up overnight to challenge them. Robert Kubica said the car felt “strange”:
The super-soft compound actually performed quite well, possibly helped by the low temperatures, but it was more difficult to judge the hard compound because the track was still a bit damp when I ran with it.
In terms of the balance, the car felt a little bit strange today, so we will investigate to find out what the cause might have been, and we will be hoping for more stable conditions tomorrow.
Further down the grid, Timo Glock was encouraged by the form of his Virgin as he came out on top among the new teams:
This afternoon, we improved the car some more to end the day ahead of Lotus as the best of the new teams and within 0.2sec of Toro Rosso. History has shown that we are strong at improving the car from Friday to Saturday and so I think we have a lot more to look forward to yet this weekend.
It feels like the latest updates have given us another positive step forward for sure, so I’m optimistic about a good performance in front of my home crowd.
All the teams will have been relieved to get some data on how the two dry-weather compounds perform after early forecasts suggested the entire day’s running would be rain-affected. Bridgestone’s director of motorsport tyre development Hirohide Hamashima explained what they discovered:
This afternoon we saw graining of all types on the super soft tyres, on the front and the rear. Interestingly, the front graining did not affect lap time so much today for some drivers. The hard tyre proved very durable, and warm-up was not as challenging as it could have been.
But with more rain expected tomorrow and the possibility of a drier, warmer race on Sunday, there’s still plenty that could catch them out this weekend.
Drivers’ fastest laps
|Pos.||Car||Driver||Car||Best lap||Gap||Lap||At time||Laps|
|2||5||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull-Renault||1’16.294||0.029||13||60||26|
|4||6||Mark Webber||Red Bull-Renault||1’16.585||0.320||17||45||39|
|13||22||Pedro de la Rosa||Sauber-Ferrari||1’17.573||1.308||26||68||39|
|14||14||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1’17.701||1.436||18||49||38|
|16||15||Vitantonio Liuzzi||Force India-Mercedes||1’17.871||1.606||16||47||33|
|17||16||Sebastien Buemi||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||1’18.147||1.882||26||54||45|
|18||17||Jaime Alguersuari||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||1’19.327||3.062||23||46||48|
|21||25||Lucas di Grassi||Virgin-Cosworth||1’20.106||3.841||24||77||31|
Drivers’ ultimate laps
|Pos.||Car||Driver||Car||Ultimate lap||Gap||Deficit to best|
|2||6||Mark Webber||Red Bull-Renault||1’16.224||0.004||0.361|
|3||5||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull-Renault||1’16.294||0.074||0.000|
|12||14||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1’17.305||1.085||0.396|
|13||22||Pedro de la Rosa||Sauber-Ferrari||1’17.526||1.306||0.047|
|16||15||Vitantonio Liuzzi||Force India-Mercedes||1’17.794||1.574||0.077|
|17||16||Sebastien Buemi||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||1’18.118||1.898||0.029|
|18||17||Jaime Alguersuari||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||1’19.273||3.053||0.054|
|21||25||Lucas di Grassi||Virgin-Cosworth||1’20.106||3.886||0.000|
2010 German Grand Prix
- Ferrari face FIA World Motor Sport Council on team orders charge tomorrow
- Ferrari: “Lauda missed out on a fine opportunity to keep his mouth shut”
- Lauda: Ferrari will get a pasting from WMSC
- From the stands: Tommy B and Katy watch the German GP at Hockenheim
- Technical review: German and Hungarian Grands Prix
- From the stands: Nikolai Vogler watches two races in one week
- “I am much quicker than Felipe” – how Alonso urged Ferrari to use team orders
- F1 fans slam rigged German Grand Prix
- 2010 German Grand Prix – the complete F1 Fanatic race weekend review
- Who was the best driver of the German Grand Prix weekend? (Poll)