The 11th round of the 2018 FIA Formula One World Championship began with practice Friday at the Hockenheimring in Baden-Württemberg as teams prepared for the German Grand Prix Sunday.
Two 90-minute sessions – FP1 and FP2 – on the 4.574-kilometer (2.842-mile), 17-turn circuit were run under predominantly sunny conditions with Haas F1 Team drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen back at the historic venue for the first time since 2016 when the German Grand Prix last appeared on the Formula One calendar.
Both drivers began FP1 on the Pirelli P Zero Yellow soft tire before transitioning to the Purple ultrasoft, utilizing one set of each compound. Grosjean’s quick time of 1:14.691 came on his 14th lap shod on ultrasofts. He ran 29 laps and was the seventh-fastest driver. Magnussen’s best time was a 1:14.853 on his 20th lap, also set on the ultrasoft compound. He ran 28 laps and posted the eighth-quickest time.
Speeds picked up and lap times dropped in FP2. Grosjean wrapped FP2 as the sixth-quickest driver with a time of 1:13.973, which was .718 of a second better than his best lap in FP1. His quick time came on the 12th of his 34 laps on a set of ultrasoft tires. Magnussen shaved .664 of a second off his FP1 time with a lap of 1:14.189 to move up seventh fastest. His fast lap came on his 12th tour, also while utilizing the ultrasoft tire. He completed 36 laps.
Between the two sessions, Haas F1 Team ran a total of 127 laps – 63 by Grosjean and 64 by Magnussen.
“It’s great to be back in Germany. It’s a big country for motorsport. I have some good memories from my earlier career here and it’s always good to come back. I’m pretty happy with our day. It’s not going too bad. We were the fourth fastest team again. That’s where we want to be. It’s been very warm today – that may not be the case over the weekend – so we’ll keep an eye on that, but so far the car’s been working very well. The car’s been happiest in the high-speed sections – we love high speed. The tires haven’t been having a good time in general – for everyone, I guess – but it’s hard to keep them cool. We’re hoping for a dry race as it’ll be easier for everyone, but there’s nothing we can do about it. We have to choose the right tire, at the right time. It should be a bit cooler for the race, which will help in managing those tires, and allow us to be able to push a bit more.”
“It’s a good track. I’m enjoying driving here and it went well today. We’ve been happy with our day. We need to look into finding a bit more pace on the long run, on high fuel, but low fuel looks to be very competitive. It’s a pretty low-grip track, so the car does a lot of things, like you do have a bit of understeer, and you do have a bit of oversteer. The car is moving around. That’s just how it is here, but our car seems to be working alright. Tire wear, in terms of actual wear, isn’t so bad, but degradation is high because the temperatures get very hot – you overheat the tires. We’ll work on that and, hopefully, make some steps, also I think the weather’s going to be a bit colder the next few days, so it might not be such a big problem. So far though, it all looks good.”
Guenther Steiner – Team Principal:
“It was a pretty good Friday. We’ve still got work to do on our long runs, but all in all, it was a positive day. The weather forecast is that it could be showers tomorrow, so we need to be looking into that one, and also the temperatures will go down on Sunday. So, our guys still have work to do before qualifying and the race.”