The Friday in F1 German GP had all the talk about Mercedes and Ferrari pace, while Pierre Gasly apologised for his crash and more on Haas and Racing Point.

As Europe goes through a heatwave, the F1 German GP started with much talk about the weather conditions at Hockenheim, where the hot conditions did play a role on Friday with the data collection as Saturday and Sunday is predicted to be cooler.

Ferrari led the way with Sebastian Vettel topping the first session, while teammate Charles Leclerc headed the second. Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton was third in both along with few kerb moments as Valtteri Bottas had a bigger off in FP1 but was un-harmed.

It certainly looks in the favour of Ferrari but with cooler conditions predicted, Ferrari feels Mercedes and Red Bull Racing will be in play in the next two days. “I am happy with how the practice sessions went,” said Vettel. “It took me a short while before finding the rhythm. We lost a bit of time in the first session when running the mediums because of a red flag.

“I don’t know what programme our rivals were on, and how much they had to turn down the engine mapping because of the heat. It would be nice to have this weather on Sunday. Overall, it was a positive day, mainly because we have understood how to manage the car in these conditions. We got through all our programme aimed at having the car in the best possible set up and we have to continue down this route.”

Leclerc echoed Vettel’s sentiments as he fears for Mercedes and Red Bull’s revival when the conditions cools down a bit. It was opposite feeling at the Mercedes camp with the hot conditions but they felt it was a bit better than Austria, where they struggled hugely.

“We saw lots of overheating, especially in Sector 3,” said Bottas. “We’ve made some progress on our cooling; we would have struggled massively to run here with the package we had in Austria, but with the new package we could actually complete some good long runs.

“The weather is going to be completely different on Saturday and Sunday with lower temperatures and a chance of rain. So we will need to be very dynamic reacting to the weather with the car set-up.” Hamilton had similar feelings too.

Over at Red Bull, it was somber for Max Verstappen as he felt they lacked a bit of balance but he reckons the team is in a good shape still. His teammate Gasly, though, had the late crash in FP2, for which he straightaway apologised.

“We managed to get some decent laps during FP1 and the feeling with the car was good,” said Gasly. “We completed the normal tests and then in FP2, we had a couple of issues which meant we didn’t get a short run on soft tyres and that put us back in the classifications, but the feeling was still good.

“Unfortunately, towards the end of the session I lost the car exiting the final corner during a long run and hit the barrier. Fortunately I wasn’t using my race engine or gearbox, but more importantly I’m really sorry for the boys in the garage and I want to apologise to them as the repairs will make for a long night.”

Aside the Top 3 fight, it looks a mixed bag in the midfield pack with bits and pieces of everyone staking claim for the remaining four places. From Haas to Racing Point to McLaren, Renault and even Alfa Romeo Racing had their go in the Top 10.

As the weather conditions may change, it might open up still. Among the list, Racing Point were the surprise package with their upgrades for F1 German GP, with Lance Stroll finding himself inside the Top 10 in both the sessions, while Sergio Perez got in, in FP2.

“A good day overall but it’s hard to compare with the old parts – especially with such high temperatures – but it definitely feels like an improvement,” said Perez. “The car feels better and I think this direction has more potential.

“We’re still struggling a little bit with the balance, so it was tricky at times and we have some work to do on that – but generally we can be pleased with the level of competitiveness.” Stroll felt similar as well but both cautioned to wait for final judgement.

Their rivals Haas were left confused by the end of the day as Romain Grosjean looked much more in control running the Australian GP spec, with Kevin Magnussen struggling with the latest upgrade. It seems like the updates haven’t done the trick for the team.

“It’s been a good day,” said Grosjean. “I’m generally happy with the car – and have been since the first lap this morning. It was quite exciting to see the lap time in the afternoon being so close to the mix with Bottas and Verstappen.

“Maybe when qualifying time comes it could be a different story, but so far, I’m very happy. We’re evaluating a lot of things here. The long runs, I think we can work on that a little bit, we tried different things but didn’t quite get the right direction.

“I’ve got confidence that we can sort that out for the rest of the weekend. The feeling in the car though has been really good. It looks like the weather might be quite different for the rest of the weekend, it’ll play a part. I’m looking forward to Saturday and Sunday.”

Outside the two, McLaren‘s Carlos Sainz had better FP1 but not so much in FP2, while Lando Norris couldn’t crack on in the Top 10. At the same time, Renault had similar troubles but it looks like Nico Hulkenberg was on a compromised set-up due to the weather.

The team admitted to have had one eye on the wet conditions, which is why Hulkenberg was left behind, while Daniel Ricciardo seemed in a similar boat. The Alfa Romeo duo looked a bit apart but progressed from FP1 to FP2, in terms of their timing.

While Kimi Raikkonen made it inside the Top 10, Antonio Giovinazzi missed on a place due to a compromised quick run. Surprisingly, the Toro Rosso duo were outside the Top 10 despite the upgrades at their disposal, which they were busy running.

Daniil Kvyat looked quicker than Alexander Albon, but they will have to work a bit harder considering the pace around them. And finally, for Williams, it looked a better outing even though they are short on parts as they seemed closer in terms of lap times.

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