German GP, Practice Two: Charles Leclerc fastest for red-hot Ferrari
Double one-two for Ferrari on Friday in hot Hockenheim; Hamilton third while Bottas struggles; Gasly crashes Red Bull
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 26/07/19 8:27pm
Ferrari maintained their early German GP advantage over Mercedes in Practice Two as Charles Leclerc set the pace ahead of team-mate Sebastian Vettel, with championship leader Lewis Hamilton third.
Leclerc sealed Ferrari's second one-two of the day with a 1:13.449, a tenth ahead of Vettel who was 0.022s faster than Hamilton in the lead Mercedes - painting an intriguing picture heading into Saturday's qualifying.
Red Bull, however, couldn't enter the fight in second practice with Max Verstappen fifth, while Pierre Gasly, who was already down in 15th, had a huge shunt at the final corner during his race simulations.
"That is a confidence-denting, and car-denting moment for Red Bull and their young driver," said Sky F1's David Croft as Gasly wrecked his RB15 after running over the gravel and into the barriers.
Ferrari ahead of Mercedes
Soaring temperatures in Hockenheim made it the warmest session of F1 2019 so far and Ferrari were red hot to start the weekend with back-to-back one-twos, somewhat surprisingly ahead of home favourites Mercedes.
Mercedes, who are running an anniversary-themed white and silver retro livery as well as upgrades, have struggled with cooling issues this season and, while competitive in the morning on harder tyres, couldn't match Ferrari's straight-line speed during the qualifying simulations on softs.
Bottas was fourth, but ragged around his crucial flying lap and finished six tenths down on Ferrari's benchmark.
"I am surprised," said Sky F1's Paul Di Resta. "I think it had Mercedes written all over it especially with this upgrade, but they've looked shaky. Ferrari are looking strong.
"The temperatures are helping them but it's the first and second sectors where Ferrari are getting the job done."
Mercedes will be hopeful that a drop in temperature, and possible rain, will help them on Saturday and Sunday.
"We have seen that Ferrari were really strong in the corners today which would have been us in the past but I think we all limited by [tyre] overheating," explained Mercedes boss Toto Wolff.
Verstappen, not far away from the session-topping Vettel in first practice, couldn't get close to the Ferraris in the sweltering afternoon session and was just behind Bottas.
But the Dutchman did have a much better than day at Gasly, who came into the weekend full of confidence after enjoying his best race of the season last time out in Silverstone.
A big crash towards the end of Friday's running puts him on the back foot for qualifying and the race - the last thing the under-pressure Frenchman needed.
"It's frustrating to lose a car at that point in the session," said Red Bull's Christian Horner. "Off the back of a good result in Silverstone it's not the start to the weekend you want.
"It's an annoying accident but it is what it is."
Who's leading the midfield?
Gasly's woes allowed a usual midfield runner into the top-six and it was Romain Grosjean who capitalised in his Australia-spec Haas, lapping just 0.7s slower than Leclerc.
Lance Stroll was another surprise top-10 runner in both sessions, also within a second of the leading time as he finished Friday in seventh.
Kimi Raikkonen, Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez completed the top-10, though McLaren will be confident of fighting back to continue their impressive form on Saturday.
Williams propped up the timesheets again, three-and-a-half seconds off the pace, though team boss Claire Williams is confdent the team have taken steps on their "road to recovery" with their Hockenheim upgrades.
German GP Practice Two Timesheet
|1) Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||1:13.449|
|2) Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||+0.124|
|3) Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||+0.146|
|4) Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||+0.662|
|5) Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+0.684|
|6) Romain Grosjean||Haas||+0.730|
|7) Lance Stroll||Racing Point||+0.819|
|8) Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||+1.009|
|9) Nico Hulkenberg||Renault||+1.023|
|10) Sergio Perez||Racing Point||+1.069|
|11) Carlos Sainz||McLaren||+1.213|
|12) Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||+1.351|
|13) Daniel Ricciardo||Renault||+1.561|
|14) Alexander Albon||Toro Rosso||+1.613|
|15) Pierre Gasly||Red Bull||+1.640|
|16) Lando Norris||McLaren||+1.798|
|17) Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||+1.957|
|18) Kevin Magnussen||Haas||+2.021|
|19) Robert Kubica||Williams||+3.451|
|20) George Russell||Williams||+3.531|
Watch the German GP live only on Sky Sports this weekend. Find out more here to watch the 2019 season live