Nurburgring – Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel has gone quickest in free practice at his home grand prix. Vettel’s fastest time of 1m30.416s in FP2 is nearly a second and a half quicker than the best time from Friday free practice two years ago (1m31.894s) when the Nurburgring last hosted the German Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W04
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W04

Photo by: XPB Images

Both free practice sessions were held in dry weather – for the first time since Monaco in May. This allowed the teams to thoroughly test the new Aramid (known as Kevlar) construction rear tyres that will be used this weekend (and were also used in free practice for the Canadian Grand Prix). Ambient temperature was 20 degrees centigrade in FP2, with track temperature of 28 degrees centigrade. The drivers used both sessions to assess the new construction of rear tyre, where an Aramid belt replaces the previous steel belt. The front tyres remain unaltered. In the morning, the teams used the medium compound only, before trying the soft compound for the first time in the afternoon.

The work done consisted of trying out both compounds on different fuel loads, to judge the effect of car weight and track temperature on lap times. This information is useful to formulate strategy both for qualifying and the race. At the end of FP2, the teams as usual concentrated on long runs as part of their race simulation.

In FP1, Lewis Hamilton was quickest with a time of 1m31.754s on the medium tyre.

Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery said: “The drivers got the chance to assess both the compounds today with the new construction. It was a successful session and most teams got plenty of work done, which puts them in a strong position going into qualifying and the race.

We’ve seen quite high levels of degradation from the soft compound but it is a very quick tyre and it should be the selected qualifying tyre tomorrow with the main race tyre being the medium tyre. The performance gap between the two compounds is around 1.5s and we are expecting now with what we have seen two pit stops in Sunday’s race.”

Pirelli Motorsport