Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, Hockenheimring, 2018

Leclerc leads Sauber one-two in heavy rain at Hockenheim

2018 German Grand Prix third practice

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An unlikely grid reversal has happened in a rained-out FP3 at Hockenheim, seeing the times topped by Leclerc, Ericsson and Sirotkin. Meanwhile fitness concerns surround non-running Hamilton despite strong performance yesterday.

The last time we saw significant rain during an F1 Saturday was Monza last year, where Lance Stroll pulled an extraordinary lap out of his Williams to take fourth on the grid. If his teammate Sergey Sirotkin can maintain the pace he’s shown this morning then we could see some long-sought-after results for the struggling British team.

However, it’s fairly unlikely; Sirotkin’s time came at the end of a heavily disrupted session where most drivers did nothing but sit in their garages. An initial time set by Nico Hulkenberg, the only driver to put in a timed lap during the first 40 minutes of the session, held for most of the practice while rain lashed down on the track.

The skies cleared with minutes to go, meaning anyone intrepid enough – or with very little to lose – could head out but standing water remained on the racing line in multiple places.

Lewis Hamilton eventually went out in the final three minutes of the session, amidst rumours he is unwell and reports that he seems to be walking with difficulty but didn’t set a time. For most cars that did, you’d have to assume are not representative unless qualifying is during another downpour, with the lead time falling 30 seconds against FP2.

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
116Charles LeclercSauber-Ferrari1’34.5778
29Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’35.0000.4239
335Sergey SirotkinWilliams-Mercedes1’35.3340.7579
45Sebastian VettelFerrari1’35.5730.9965
510Pierre GaslyToro Rosso-Honda1’35.6591.0826
628Brendon HartleyToro Rosso-Honda1’36.1511.5746
727Nico HulkenbergRenault1’36.8732.2964
87Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’37.7553.1784
918Lance StrollWilliams-Mercedes1’38.3933.8167
108Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari2
1120Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari2
1233Max VerstappenRed Bull-TAG Heuer1
1314Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Renault1
142Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren-Renault2
153Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-TAG Heuer1
1655Carlos Sainz JnrRenault2
1777Valtteri BottasMercedes2
1831Esteban OconForce India-Mercedes2
1911Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1
2044Lewis HamiltonMercedes2

Third practice visual gaps

Charles Leclerc – 1’34.577

+0.423 Marcus Ericsson – 1’35.000

+0.757 Sergey Sirotkin – 1’35.334

+0.996 Sebastian Vettel – 1’35.573

+1.082 Pierre Gasly – 1’35.659

+1.574 Brendon Hartley – 1’36.151

+2.296 Nico Hulkenberg – 1’36.873

+3.178 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’37.755

+3.816 Lance Stroll – 1’38.393

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

PosDriverCarFP1FP2Total laps
1Max VerstappenRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’13.7141’13.08553
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’13.5291’13.11170
3Valtteri BottasMercedes1’13.9031’13.19071
4Sebastian VettelFerrari1’13.7961’13.3101’35.573+22.26374
5Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’14.2671’13.4271’37.755+24.32869
6Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’13.5251’14.68259
7Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’14.6911’13.97365
8Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’14.8531’14.18966
9Charles LeclercSauber-Ferrari1’15.0971’14.3741’34.577+20.20374
10Nico HulkenbergRenault1’15.2821’14.4961’36.873+22.37767
11Esteban OconForce India-Mercedes1’14.50841
12Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’15.4151’14.55268
13Carlos Sainz JnrRenault1’15.7691’14.59255
14Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’14.7831’35.000+20.21747
15Pierre GaslyToro Rosso-Honda1’16.0711’14.7931’35.659+20.86682
16Brendon HartleyToro Rosso-Honda1’15.8641’14.8301’36.151+21.32187
17Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Renault1’15.5441’14.83652
18Lance StrollWilliams-Mercedes1’15.6291’15.2691’38.393+23.12475
19Sergey SirotkinWilliams-Mercedes1’15.8761’15.4081’35.334+19.92684
20Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren-Renault1’16.1491’15.45450
21Nicholas LatifiForce India-Mercedes1’16.02327
22Antonio GiovinazziSauber-Ferrari1’16.13623

2018 German Grand Prix

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Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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12 comments on “Leclerc leads Sauber one-two in heavy rain at Hockenheim”

  1. It is definately time to change up the rules, otherwise this mindbogglingly boring sauber domination is never going end.

  2. Are the costs really that much that pirelli can manufacture 13 dry tyres but only 7 wets? Really boring that whenever it rains in FP3, there’s no action. And like today, when it could rain in quali, if they had the tyres, it would actually be beneficial to do wet running to help understand how the tyres are working and setups etc. Only really need 1 more wet and 1 more inter set, that are to be reserved for practice sessions, and then we may actually get cars doing more than 2 laps.

    1. @hugh11 also they could just have one big batch of rain tires and bring them everywhere as they won’t exactly be used up under normal circumstances. On the other hand they are probably too rubbish for non-inters conditions anyways, so….

    2. @hugh11 They often say they don’t run because of the wet tyre limits but even when they had a lot more inter/wet tyres available they never used to do much (If any) running in a very wet practice session so I think you could give them another 10 sets of each & nothing would change.

      I think it was FP2 at Spa in 2005 where nobody completed a lap & later in the year at Suzuka where only 5-6 cars set a time & they had a lot more sets of wets back then.

      1. @stefmeister That could be explained by the fact it didn’t rain in quali or the race though, and I’d assume they knew that it wouldn’t so there was no need to do any wet running in practice, especially in FP2 on the Friday. Whereas here it could be beneficial as there’s a pretty high chance of it raining. Same thing as Monza last year too.
        I dunno, I like @mrboerns idea of just bringing the tyres they didn’t use at previous races along, which makes lots of sense as it won’t add any extra cost and gives them more tyres to use.

        1. @hugh11

          That could be explained by the fact it didn’t rain in quali or the race though

          For the 2 examples I listed rain was forecast for quali or the race.

          For Spa it was Wet for FP2 with rain forecast for the race on Sunday & still only a handful of cars went out during the wet FP2 with none completing a lap. For Japan later in the year it was wet for the Saturday morning practice sessions & was forecast to still be wet for qualifying later that day.

    3. The number of wet tyres Pirelli brings is predicated by the amount their experience says teams will use. No point bringing a tyre if it has no chance of being put on a car due to team habits.

  3. What kind of rubbish sport do we all follow where they actively try and dry a wet track despite a wet track being the best thing the sport brings

    1. The sort where teams try anything to improve their performance and get the best result they can.

  4. It’s 20 sec slower than dry track, now 30 like the article says; still a lot, mind you.

  5. I meant not 30*

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