F1 Winter Break
Verstappen edges Mercedes in German F1 GP practice, penalties for Ricciardo
Posted By: Editor   |  20 Jul 2018   |  5:44 pm GMT  |  58 comments

In the finest example of how race weekend fortunes can be about extremes, Red Bull could potentially have a car lined up at either end of the grid for Sunday’s German GP.

Max Verstappen underlined well-handling Red Bull’s competitiveness by topping free practice ahead of the two Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, whilst team-mate Daniel Ricciardo will start the race from the back of the grid after power unit penalties.

The Australian’s side of the garage have had to take a new MGU-K, control electronics and energy store, which totals up to a 20-place grid drop, which automatically puts him at the back of the grid.

The tactics from Red Bull indicate that they believe they have a very strong chance of winning at the Hungarian Grand Prix – a race which follows the German Grand Prix – so have decided to prevent any possible setback at the Hungaroring by taking penalties now.

“You can overtake so if we do have the penalties and start towards the back, I’ll stay positive and know that there will be some good overtaking,” said Ricciardo, who finished the session down in thirteenth after concentrating on race simulations.

“Ideally we win next weekend [in Hungary] and suck it up here.”

Verstappen’s lap time of 1:13.085 is a new track record at the Hockenheimring and the top five were separated by just 0.342 of a second, but Verstappen’s session wasn’t completely without incident.

The Dutchman radioed to his team with around half-an-hour to go to complain of a problem downshifting through the gears. He was promptly brought back into the pits, but rejoined with a couple of minutes to go, raising hopes that he will remain without any kind of penalty this weekend.

Local favourite Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari finished the session in fourth with team-mate Kimi Raikkonen just over one tenth behind in fifth place.

Whilst Ferrari have had a habit of not showing their full hand during Friday practice, their long run pace was impressive. Their average lap times in the low 1:18’s trumped the times demonstrated by both Mercedes and Red Bull, who appeared to be in the mid-1:18’s.

Haas look set to carry on their recent form of being the ‘best of the rest’, with Romain Grosjean being the only midfielder to get within one second of Verstappen’s benchmark. Team-mate Kein Magnussen followed him up in seventh.

Sauber’s Charles Leclerc was eighth fastest for Sauber, ahead of Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg and Force India’s Esteban Ocon.

The battle for midfield supremacy has triggered both Force India and Renault to bring new front wings to the Hockenheimring, although on face value it doesn’t yet look to be enough to reel in the Haas cars.

F1 brings in 18″ wheel rims for 2021, bans tyre blankets

With Formula One opening up the tender process for supplying tyres from 2020-2023, it has been revealed that this contract will include a switch to bigger wheel rims in 2021, an idea which has been around for a couple of years – an even trialled during in-season testing in previous years.

The winning bidder will keep the tyres specifications as they are for one season, before switching to different tyre specifications for 2021.

The front tyres are set to be narrower, dropping by 35mm to 270mm. The rears will stay the same, at 405mm, while diameters will increase from the current 670m to “700-720mm.”

The requirement for any new supplier to create brand new tyres to the existing specification, only to change specification one year later, would likely put off any new bidders.

Lotus E22 on 18 inch Pirelli tyres.

An idea which has been floating around for some time is to be put into action; tyre blankets will be banned from Formula One.

This means that the tyre supplier will need to factor this in when creating the new compounds from 2020.

“Tyres should provide safe performance when leaving the pits cold,” said the official FIA tender document.

“The glass transition temperature must be chosen so that the tyres are never in a ‘glassy state’ when either the ambient or the track temperature is above 10 degrees centigrade.”

The FIA has added that there will be a need for a tyre capable of running in winter testing, and has also set a requirement for intermediate and wet tyres to be usable without pre-heating.

The FIA added: “The provider should commit to achieving this in 75 percent of circuits in 2020, and to improve their performance with respect to this objective throughout the whole period of the tyre supply.”

There will also be three compounds at each race, as expected, with the simplified hard, medium and soft names. The FIA characterises the tyres as follows:

– Hard compound: 2s degradation achieved at 22% race distance Base lap time

– Medium compound: 2s degradation achieved at 18% race distance 1.2s/lap quicker than Hard compound

– Soft compound: 2s degradation achieved at 10% race distance 2.2s/lap quicker than Hard compound

The FIA has also set the types of strategy it would like to see during a race. For a typical circuit it wants the following:

– 1x Medium Compound + 1x Hard Compound = 1-Stop Race

– 1x Soft Compound + 2x Medium Compound = 2-Stop Race

– 3x Soft Compound + 1x Medium Compound = 3-Stop Race

There are also requirements for the future tyres to not need to be run to excessive wear, but still have a ‘cliff’ in performance, which they suggest they achieve by having different performing layers within a tyre.

The FIA also prefer the tyre to be able to “recover” once a car is out of dirty air, and not continue to suffer from high degradation once the car is clean air.

1 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 1:13.085s – 18 Laps
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m13.111s 0.026s 39
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m13.190s 0.105s 39
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m13.310s 0.225s 46
5 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m13.427s 0.342s 41
6 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m13.978s 0.888s 34
7 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1m14.189s 1.104s 36
8 Charles Leclerc Sauber/Ferrari 1m14.374s 1.289s 41
9 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m14.496s 1.411s 31
10 Esteban Ocon Force India/Mercedes 1m14.508s 1.423s 39
11 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m14.552s 1.467s 38
12 Carlos Sainz Renault 1m14.592s 1.507s 43
13 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m14.682s 1.597s 36
14 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m14.783s 1.698s 38
15 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso/Honda 1m14.793s 1.708s 44
16 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso/Honda 1m14.830s 1.745s 45
17 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Renault 1m14.836s 1.751s 38
18 Lance Stroll Williams/Mercedes 1m15.269s 2.184s 36
19 Sergey Sirotkin Williams/Mercedes 1m15.408s 2.323s 41
20 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren/Renault 1m15.454s 2.369s 34

By: Luke Murphy

All images: Motorsport Images

Who do you think is looking good at Hockenheim so far? What do you think of the new tyre rules? Leave your comments in the section below.

Featured News
Editor's Picks
Share This:
Posted by:

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

James, why on earth would Red Bull not change the ICE and TC on Ricciardo’s car at the same time whilst they are taking penalties? He’s already at the limit and those parts clearly wont last the rest of the season, wouldn’t it be better to build a stockpile while they have the chance?


Not many questions get answers (anymore). My understanding was that there was a rule change to stop teams doing that this year. If memory serves, it was after Lewis did the same in Belgium 2016 to “bank” more parts for the rest of the season.


Because Renault was not willing to provide a new engine, as stated by Horner in an interview.


Very ambitious aims for the tyres… I hope they allow a lot more testing to get this right?!


@ Editor…Why have you chosen not to publish the FP1 details as well for comparison purpose?


Below is race sim figures from F1 site, which differs from what this article says.

Wonder what the difference comes from.

Long-run pace deficit (seconds per lap)

1 Red Bull

2 Mercedes +0.2s/lap

3 Ferrari +0.2s/lap

4 Renault +1.3s/lap

5 Force India +1.5s/lap

6 Sauber +1.6s/lap

7 Haas +1.6s/lap

8 Toro Rosso +1.6s/lap

9 McLaren +1.9s/lap

10 Williams +2.2s/lap


Does that mean Danny Ric will have the newer Renault components that Red Bull turned down previously? But that the Renaults have been using recently? Supposed to be lighter with a slight boost in speed.


AFAIK that was all about the MGU-K. Did Ricciardo not already change that component last race?


Also, isnt this a free practice 2 report? What happened in FP1? I know thats a bit picky but feels like this site has been going downhill.


No, you’re wrong. It’s been customary on this site to focus on FP2, together with the entire day’s trends. So on JaonF1 FP2 shiners tend to outshine FP1 shiners, which (indeed) is a pity sometimes.


Oh I didn’t realise, fair enough


Fp2 is the more important session, it’s when the quali sims and long runs happen. The track evoloution between fp1 and 2 tend to make the earlier session relatively meaningless performances wise. This is why the teams do more reliability checks and general aero work in fp1.


Still find this grid penalty system frustrating. I dont understand why we cant have enough engines to go racing, not buying the green or cost saving argument.

As for tyres that seems like one hell of a design brief. I dont mind bigger rims, sure. I suppose I feel the tyre warmers make for safer racing. Also they are old news and cant imagine they cost is too ridiculous. Dont they convey to the fans that this is a special machine, needing special treatment? We arent talking about road speeds here Mr Todt.

On the marbles

Don’t understand, or don’t agree? I’d have thought the arguments for limiting engine numbers were fairly straightfoward, what is it you don’t understand? I can follow what you mean if you don’t like it, many others feel the same but surely you can understand the logic behind it?


Sorry if my point wasn’t clear, Ill do my best to lay out what I’m trying to say here….

I don’t agree F1 should be limiting the number of engines to the degree they are currently doing so.

My understanding of the logic and arguments behind limiting the number of engines (PU’s) is –

1. cost saving and

2. improving the perception of F1’s green credentials to the public.

I’m not sure F1 achieves cost saving by limiting engines? I recall an interview with Toto where he explained that money is shifted towards understanding fatigue cycles rather than decreased. I understand racing teams spend whatever they have to win, just not sure limited PUs actually save money.

I believe that perhaps the perception of F1’s green credentials is improved with stricter and stricter PU use at events. I think this is a sham when we have a calendar that defies geography and relies on air freight. There are better ways to really ‘be’ a more green sport than limiting engines so heavily. For me, limiting engines as a green move feels contrived.

So I think if we are not really cost saving and we are not really a whole bunch greener by limiting PU’s, than give teams more PUs. If access to more PUs (and gearboxes) meant less grid penalties that would improve my experience as a spectator.

Just my 2cents, happy for discussion.


Tight first day with even Grosjean less than a second away. Pity of course for Ricciardo as the Red Bulls seem fairly competitive. Looking forward to some close qualifying times and a great battle on Sunday. Marc

Tornillo Amarillo

At the back of the grid:

Williams’ new front wing was working better, lets see tomorrow in FP3.

Lance’s chances to get a Force India drive next year seem real 🙂



I know you are a fan of Stroll, so l understand you would be happy with this, l on the other hand not so much as l don’t see what he has done to merit the seat. Anyways, nothing is signed yet l believe but lf they do, l hope Stroll wil show himself worthy of the seat. Marc


These new proposed tires sum up everything that is wrong with F1.


Sebee, not another thing that ‘sums up everything that is wrong with F1’?! That list is nearly as long as the ‘final nail in the coffin’ one or the even longer list of ‘final death knells’!

What is a knell anyway?


Hi Sebee,

What is wrong with F1 is in fact this track…they (and I use the term ‘they’ quite liberally) should never have messed with it!

I will still watch of course, but, as the camera shots from the helicopter show how the forest has slowly consumed the old layout…it will be with a heavy heart.

RIP Hockenheim!


Changes for sake of gimmicks and needless complexity.

Hundreds of millions spent by each team on cars, and then put on gimmick tires instead of best possible quality tire. There was none of this multiple tire compound crap when Hockenheim was Hockenheim, and F1 was great.


How so?



Why does Pirelli make a tire that gets glassy?

Do they just like to play God?

Why not make a tire that

is purposely slower

and never gets



Only michelin and Bridgestone can make tires to those specification – bye bye pirelli. And why change the tires? Won’t the cost of redesigning the entire suspension and kinematics induce more costs than savings.


Bridgestone and Michelin are not even in the running. The only other mildly interested manufacturer is Hankook who would have to design a tire for one year only before engineering a new one for the 18 inch rims.

Essentially, Pirelli have been given a free pass with this brief.


They pretty much redesign the suspension every year anyway looking for gains so I don’t see it being an issue.


James, after the British gp Kimi made comments that ‘mecedez is easier to follow than other cars’ any ideas why this may be?


I remember Kimi saying Mercedes is easier to follow compared to Red Bull.

The reason is simple: Dirty air, which basically is any kind of airflow behind a car having a negative impact on a following car (Hit or miss). A straightforward example is the following car suffering from reduced down force on the front wing.

And because every team/car has a unique design, the dirty air behind them is unique too and so are the negative effects on a following car.

Red Bull’s chassis generates the highest amount of down force and so logically the amount of dirty air should be a bit higher. And don’t forget the high rake Red Bull uses.


Lol at mclaren – down in 17 and last!


Absolutely rediculous that Daniel has to start from the back through no fault of his own.


It happens to all. I agree with you btw.


I hope the switch to 18 inch wheels will allow the teams to use correspondingly bigger brake discs. The photo of the E22 with the larger wheels over the discs sized for 13 inchers shows this combination to look ridiculous. Bigger brakes = even better stopping power than today as well as a better aesthetic.


“The FIA has added that there will be a need for a tyre capable of running in winter testing, and has also set a requirement for intermediate and wet tyres to be usable without pre-heating.”

Will they come with studs or chains?


Starting right at the back used to be a big story, but no longer. Not for the top three teams. RIC will be p6 within 15 laps, or less with a SC. He will then have 52 laps or so left to challenge the five drivers ahead.

Would be nice to see RIC v Max at some point, with no holds barred!


@ Phil Glass…Yes, that would be great but Red Bull will be doing everything they can..and more to prevent that happening. As soon as Ricciardo got onto the gearbox of Verstappen at Silverstone they pulled him in for tyres when they didn’t have to.


More conspiracies Kenneth?


What’s your explanation for it Tim? we discussed it widely, but no one came up with credible alternative.


Like 18” tires, love the no blankets rule (stupidest waste of money ever with zero road relevance), not sure about the tire recipes but they seem well-intentioned… thank you Ross Brawn?


Tyres are boring — should be banned. That said, it seems to me that Pirelli want to keep the supply contract and F1 has obliged them by including in the tender a poison pill (double R&D) for any other supplier.



What is meant by “glassy” tires?


The compound reacts with heat (or lack of) and loses its stickiness and therefore ability grip. The problem is that it’s pretty much irreversible!

Stephen Taylor

James what do think about Stoffel Vandoorne at the moment do you think he will be out of F1 next season and why do think he is struggling so much to get even within sight of Alonso? What are the team saying about him? His confidence seems totally shattered and in my opinion he hasn’t been helped by the Alonso factor and a poor car.


Interesting developments for 2021. It’ll be strange seeing cars with low profile tyres, but I think it’s probably a move in the right direction. And I love the idea of removing tyre blankets – out laps will become even more important and the driers who can get heat into the tyres quickly will benefit. Now, if only they could get rid of the halo…


Whilst the grid penalty for an engine swap appears very unfair on the driver and race fans, anything that does not include the driver could prove far more damaging in the long run.

An example.. Hamilton and Vettel are head to head in drivers championship with four races remaining. One team decides to sacrifice the constructors trophy in order to give their driver four one race engines with party mode +++.hence winning the drivers trophy.

Or Williams may decide that they are coming tenth no matter what so do the same engine swap every race giving their drivers points positions and holding on to them with their mega sponsorship.


I am in favor of any rule change that will improve the spectacle for the viewers. This rule change regarding the tires might help in that respect.

Also surprised by the pace RB is showing, didn’t expect that tbh. So we might see a 3 ways contest for the podium. Looking forward to that.

Top Tags