Ricciardo edges Hamilton in opening German GP practice
German Grand Prix - FP1

Ricciardo edges Hamilton in opening German GP practice

Daniel Ricciardo topped the opening morning of practice for the German Grand Prix.

Friday's session started shortly after it was confirmed Ricciardo will start from the back of the grid on Sunday after exceeding the amount of engine components allotted to each driver in the regulations. His lap of 1:13.525 was enough to pip Lewis Hamilton at the top of the order by just 0.004s.

Hamilton is looking to get his championship challenge back on track after two frustrating races in Austria and the U.K., and comes into this weekend with a newly-signed two-year contract extension with Mercedes. Like Ricciardo, the Mercedes driver started the weekend strongly, finishing 0.2s clear of the next fastest car, Max Verstappen, while championship leader Sebastian Vettel was fourth.

Valtteri Bottas, who had his own contract extension confirmed on Friday morning, was fifth, 0.4s behind Ricciardo's lead time. Kimi Raikkonen was 0.7s off the pace in sixth. Although opening practice never paints a completely accurate picture of the rest of the weekend, Red Bull looked strong in the first and third sector of the circuit.

Haas pair Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen finished comfortably best of the rest behind the lead trio. The team has regularly been in that position on pure pace this season but has squandered multiple opportunities to score big points -- the team is looking to rectify that this weekend and the early indications are that it is in a good position to do so.

Sauber rookie Charles Leclerc was ninth for Sauber, while Renault's Nico Hulkenberg -- who was branded an "amateur" during the session by Fernando Alonso after apparently blocking the Spaniard -- rounded out the top ten. Sergio Perez took the spot between Hulkenberg and Alonso on the timing screens. McLaren's session had been delayed slightly by early set-up tweaks, meaning both Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne finished with fewer laps to their name than everyone bar Renault's Carlos Sainz.

Lance Stroll finished 13th ahead of Sainz, who was hampered by the discovery of a coolant leak 30 minutes into the session. He completed just 10 laps in the opening 90 minutes of the weekend. Brendon Hartley finished 16th for Toro Rosso, with Williams rookie Sergey Sirotkin 16th. Williams, which remains rooted to the bottom of the championship table, has introduced a new front wing for this weekend's race and spent much of the session running flo-viz paint on both of its cars to assess the aerodynamic benefits of the new part.

Force India stand-in Nicholas Lafiti replaced Esteban Ocon for the session and finished 17th ahead of Pierre Gasly. Ferrari junior Antonio Giovinazzi, who took Marcus Ericsson's car for the session, was 19th ahead of Vandoorne.

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