Ferrari stole the show on Friday as Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel gave the Prancing Horse their second one-two of the day in second practice for the German Grand Prix.
The heatwave sweeping across Europe ensured Hockenheim was baking hot on Friday, the temperatures climbing to around 35C. Mercedes have brought an upgrade package to Germany, which included new bigger bodywork in a bid to help ease their problems with cooling in warm conditions.
But it wasn’t quite enough to top the timesheets as Ferrari set an impressive pace when attention turned to running the softest of the Pirelli tyres. First Vettel headed the times, then Leclerc – despite not going fastest in any of the three sectors and encountering traffic in the stadium section – usurped him by just over a tenth of a second.
Championship leader Lewis Hamilton went fastest in the final sector, but it wasn’t quite enough and he ended up third – very much in the hunt, 0.146s off the pace. It was less impressive from Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas, the Finn looking scrappy throughout and a mistake on his qualifying simulation left him half a second off Hamilton.
However, a word of caution. These sizzling conditions won’t be repeated for the rest of the weekend, with temperatures dropping into Saturday while Sunday is set to be around 10 degrees cooler. Add to that the prospect of rain across the next two days and it’s suddenly a whole different ballgame.