German Grand Prix 2010: Friday News Round-up

Lewis Hamilton was left bitterly disappointed, after crashing out of the first practice session at Hockenheim.

The British driver lost control of his car and made heavy contact with the barriers at turn 3 – inflicting significant damage on to his MP4-25.

As a result, the 25-year-old was left frustrated by the accident, which narrowed his participation in Friday afternoon’s session to a mere ten laps.

“Obviously, I damaged the car quite heavily this morning.” said Hamilton. “It was very slippery and I hit the limiter coming out of Turn Three, shifted gear, which spun the wheels, and had an oversteer moment. Itried to correct it and that put me onto the grass, where I was just a passenger.”

“The accident took all four corners off the car, so I was a little bit upset with myself. The guys work so hard during the week to get the car ready, and then you get to the track, do a few laps, and total the car, which isn’t great. It was a huge amount of work for the guys, too, but they’ve just been phenomenal.

“It was positive to get back out there and overcome the difficulties I had in the morning. We missed the afternoon’s rain too, which was good. Now I have a decent idea of where the car is, so hopefully we can make some positive set-up changes overnight.

McLaren also used the session to test its ‘blown diffuser’ system, which Hamilton believes still needs to be fine tuned.

“The new blown diffuser still isn’t perfect – it’s not something you can just put on the car and drive with the same balance that you had before; you’ve got to alter the balance, and modify your driving style. We’re still working on it, but there’s potential there.”

Meanwhile, Mark Webber is confident that Red Bull will give him parity for the remainder of the season.

Following his explosive confrontation with team management, the Australian does not expect the attitude to change within the Milton Keynes-based squad.

“Christian knows how I tick,” Webber told The Guardian following crunch talks with Red Bull’s team principal. “But you constantly learn things about each other and how, when there’s a lot at stake, we handle ourselves. But our discussion was frank and open. I just want the same opportunities and that’s not an unreasonable request.”

When asked if parity had been restored for this weekend’s German Grand Prix, the 33-year-old stated: “Yes, of course. You know, when you’re a boxer, you don’t learn much when you’re winning all the time. Even though we won the race it applies here. When you have some adversity you learn the most whether it’s the team or you as a driver. As Red Bull, we’ve been on the block five minutes. Ferrari and McLaren have been on the block 40 years. These are growing pains but they’re healthy ones.”

“We’ve got two competitive drivers, and two sides of the garage both trying to get on as best they can while driving the team forward. We’ve got strong rivals in McLaren and we’ve got to get everything right to win races. But we still have a sensational base to chase down the McLarens.”

Red Bull will be looking for its third win in succession at Hockenheim, but knows that both Ferrari and McLaren will pose a major threat.

“Ferrari looks extremely competitive and I think McLaren probably had a difficult day today with only one car for the majority of the training so we will see tomorrow,” Sebastian Vettel said, following this afternoon’s practice.

However, Fernando Alonso has played down Ferrari’s pace and believes that the Scuderia will need a perfect weekend to beat the Red Bulls.

“We have seen before on Fridays that we are very competitive and then on Saturday, the Red Bulls are clearly quicker.” he said “So we have to take this result with a grain of salt: in order to be in front tomorrow, we will have to do something out of the ordinary.”

Meanwhile, Michael Schumacher expects to fight for a top-five finish in Sunday’s race – despite a far from perfect performance in practice.

Althought the local hero finished twenty-second in the morning session, he managed to vastly improve in the afternoon – finishing sixth behind his team-mate Nico Rosberg.

As a result, Schumacher expects his weekend to continue to move forwards.

“Today’s sessions were a bit mixed due to the weather conditions but we were able to get the car working by the end so it was a reasonable day,” he said.

“One of my excursions caused some damage to the floor which led to a second excursion afterwards and we decided to stop slightly early this afternoon.

“We are looking reasonable over one lap and on longer runs, confirming what we already hinted at during the last weekend in Silverstone. If everything goes as it should tomorrow, we should reach fifth or sixth position, which is a step forward, and maybe even more in the race.”

In other news, F1’s Global and Technology Partner LG has stated that it expects October’s Korean Grand Prix to take place as scheduled.

Speculation about the uncertainty of the event had swept the Hockenheim paddock, however this has now been ruled out by the Korean company, who is primed to sponsor the inaugural event.

“I live in Korea, I’ve been living there for two and a half years, and this race is going to occur,” LG’s Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Dermot Boden said during an announcement confirming a sponsorship deal with Red Bull Racing.

“The Koreans are passionate, driven and committed. They are very focused on delivering on their Key Performance Indicators and I want to be clear we will have a race in Korea. I strongly believe that and I don’t have any reason to doubt that.

“The Koreans will want to deliver not just a race but an outstanding race and I think they will do that.”

Finally, Planet F1 has reported that all radio communication between the pit wall and the drivers will now be available for broadcasters to air.

Previously teams had been able to censor their communications, however the site reports that the FIA has now repelled this for the German Grand Prix onwards.