HOCKENHEIM, July 18, 2014 (F1plus/Graham Keillojh).- The second Friday practice session at Hockenheim was to a large extent business as usual again for Mercedes, as the Silver Arrows filling the top two places. But unlike FP1 this time it was Lewis Hamilton that pipped his team mate Nico Rosberg, and by a mere 24 thousandths of a second.
And the next car up was even closer than in FP1, and this time it was Daniel Ricciardo in the Red Bull filling P3, and doing so with a best mark that was just over a tenth slower than Hamilton’s.
The initial FP2 soft-tyred runs was once again Merc dominated and it looked like Rosberg would continue his momentum from FP1, with a time then some 0.333 seconds under Hamilton’s. It was later after all bolted on the supersofts that Hamilton struck back.
"That was ok, pretty good," said Hamilton afterwards.
"The temperatures are so high that it was very difficult with the tyres, but we learned a lot in that session. As usual qualifying is going to be very important like it is at every circuit we go to."
We also towards the end of the session witnessed a bizarre – and rare – sign of Mercedes disorganisation, as Rosberg entered the pits he was told to drive straight through as Hamilton was in the box getting a tyre change. But it was too late as Rosberg was already lined up behind.
After the rather Keystone Cops showing all was quickly back to normal after a point wherein Nico’s brakes, and perhaps the driver himself too, smouldered.
The final order behind the top three had a slightly unusual look. Kimi Raikkonen – a man that could really do with a bounce back – was up in P4, looking much-improved on the first session. For the other Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso it was curious and subdued time of it however, early on having to pit at the end of a quick lap and receiving a rather mysterious radio message as he did so, and later not getting a clear supersoft run. P9 was his lot.
McLaren showed up well again as in FP1, and this time Kevin Magnussen was up in P5, some six tenths slower than Hamilton, while Jenson Button finished up in P7 a quarter of a second down on the Dane. Also Williams looked much improved on FP1 and Felipe Massa was in P6 in the end within seven tenths of Hamilton. Valtteri Bottas meanwhile was P10, a tenth off the top.
For Sebastian Vettel it was more frustration however as he finished up in P8, some eight tenths shy of Ricicardo’s best.
Elsewhere it was a similar pattern as in FP1. Adrian Sutil showed up well again, in P11 this time, though Esteban Guiterrez in the other Sauber was one second and seven places further back, the Toro Rossos were P12 and P15 with Daniil Kvyat again ahead, while the Force Indias underwhelmed again in P13 and P14 – Sergio Perez ahead only just – as did the Lotuses in P16 and P17.
Kamui Kobayashi had to stop with an hour remaining with what looked a lot like an engine blow out in his Caterham, and ended up last. This left Jules Bianchi to be top of the Marussia/Caterham battle, beating Marcus Ericsson by half of a second.
The times for the afternoon session:
|3||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:18.443||0.102||35|
|8||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:19.248||0.907||35|
|13||11||Sergio Perez||Force India-Mercedes||1:19.581||1.240||28|
|14||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||1:19.593||1.252||32|