German GP: Verstappen leads FP2 despite hitting trouble
Max Verstappen set a new track record to top the times in the second Formula 1 practice session for this weekend's German Grand Prix – by just 0.026s from Mercedes's Lewis Hamilton.
But Verstappen's speed was overshadowed by a problem he suffered on track and that forced him to spend 20 minutes in the Hockenheim pits while his Red Bull mechanics solved the issue.
Twenty five minutes before the end of FP2, pace setter Verstappen reported on the team radio there were problems with his engine - he said: "there is a lot of noise on the downshift" - and returned to the pits.
But he did manage to return to the cockpit of his Red Bull with just three minutes of the session remaining.
The two Ferraris ended practice in fourth and fifth, with Sebastian Vettel ahead of his teammate Kimi Raikkonen, followed by the two Haas machines of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen in sixth and seventh, ahead of Sauber's Charles Leclerc.
Thirty minutes before the end of practice, there was nearly contact at the hairpin between Daniel Ricciardo - who was only 13th quickest concentrating on his race set-up - and Williams's Sergey Sirotkin as the Russian closed the door on the Australian who was attempting to overtake on the inside of Turn 6.
A little later Sirotkin ran wide on the exit of Turn 13 and emerged through the gravel without harm.
Ricciardo also had a quick spin at Turn 8, briefly bringing out the yellow flags, but was able to resume.
Ricciardo's moment with Sirotkin wasn't the only near-miss of practice. Early on, Esteban Ocon was close to making contact with Stoffel Vandoorne's McLaren in Turn 9 as a number of drivers on quick laps encountered slow-moving cars as drivers were preserving their tyres.
Just nine minutes in, Haas's Magnussen was slow in the Turn 6 hairpin, appearing to slightly delay Fernando Alonso, who was on a quicker lap.
Second practice on Friday afternoon took place in baking sunshine, with the air temperature reaching 31 degrees C and all the teams used the time to evaluate how the differing compounds coped with the hot conditions.
Halfway through FP2, it was third-placed Bottas who was the first to set a new lap record, but his teammate Hamilton immediately eclipsed him by 0.079s to record a 1m 13.111s.
Five minutes later, Verstappen lowered the lap record further with his pace-setting 1m13.085s lap, despite traffic in the stadium section at the end of his quick lap.
Renault's Nico Hulkenberg was ninth, the German reporting a "vibration in the steering column" which the team suspects was a tyre balancing issue.
Esteban Ocon's Force India was 10th, while the McLarens and Williams cars finished at the bottom of the timesheets.
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||TAG||18||1'13.085|
|10||Esteban Ocon||Force India||Mercedes||39||1'14.508||1.423|
|11||Sergio Perez||Force India||Mercedes||38||1'14.552||1.467|
|13||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||TAG||36||1'14.682||1.597|
|15||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso||Honda||44||1'14.793||1.708|
|16||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso||Honda||45||1'14.830||1.745|
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