Sebastian Vettel went quickest in the opening practice session for his home grand prix at the Hockenheimring.
The German driver led a Ferrari one-two, edging team-mate Charles Leclerc by 0.255 to set a best time of 1:14.013 as both used soft compound Pirelli tyres to push Mercedes driver and championship leader Lewis Hamilton out to third place.
Hamilton, and team-mate Valtteri Bottas, both set their best times on medium compound Pirelli tyres, even though both had spent some time on soft rubber earlier in a session run in high temperatures at the Baden-Württemberg circuit.
Bottas had been the quicker of the Mercedes drivers on soft tyres but Hamilton moved ahead on the more durable compound and the five-time champion ended the 90 minutes some 0.3s behind Vettel, but just under five hundredths of a second behind Leclerc despite the slower compound.
Bottas slipped to fifth by flag-fall, and his session ended with a slightly ungainly trip into the gravel two minutes from time as he locked up into Turn 12 and slid off track. He managed to stay out of the barriers, however, and with no visible damage sustained he trundled back to the pits.
Max Verstappen split the Mercedes drivers, finishing in fourth place. The Red Bull set a best time of 1:14.330 to finish 0.317 behind Vettel and just 0.015s behind Hamilton as Red Bull again looked competitive.
Verstappen’s team-mate Pierre Gasly took sixth place in the session, though the Frenchman was almost five tenths of a second behind his team-mate as he complained on vibration issues with his RB15.
McLaren’s Carlos Sainz is current best-of-the-rest behind the drivers from the top three teams in the Drivers’ standings and the Spaniard mirrored the position in FP1 in Germany, taking seventh place, a full second behind Vettel.
He was pushed hard by Haas’ Romain Grosjean, with the French driver just 0.012s behind in eighth place as he reverted to a Melbourne style set-up in a bid to cure the balance issues that have plagued the team in recent months.
It was a less successful session for his team-mate Kevin Magnussen who stopped early in the session with a sensor issue. He returned to the action later on to set a time good enough for P13.
Racing Point, meanwhile, have brought a suite of upgrades to Hockenheim and Lance Stroll proved their worth by claiming ninth place in the session with a best time of 1:15.191, 1.178 behind Vettel. The top 10 order was rounded out by Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo, with the Australian finishing 1.554s behind Vettel.
2019 FIA Formula One German Grand Prix – Free Practice 1
1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 21 1:14.013
2 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 25 1:14.268 0.255
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 32 1:14.315 0.302
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull 28 1:14.330 0.317
5 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 28 1:14.660 0.647
6 Pierre Gasly Red Bull 23 1:14.813 0.800
7 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren 30 1:15.062 1.049
8 Romain Grosjean Haas 30 1:15.074 1.061
9 Lance Stroll Racing Point 26 1:15.191 1.178
10 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 23 1:15.567 1.554
11 Sergio Perez Racing Point 24 1:15.604 1.591
12 Lando Norris McLaren 26 1:15.616 1.603
13 Kevin Magnussen Haas 27 1:15.759 1.746
14 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 30 1:15.776 1.763
15 Alex Albon Toro Rosso 24 1:15.777 1.764
16 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 23 1:15.823 1.810
17 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 26 1:15.953 1.940
18 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 31 1:16.382 2.369
19 Robert Kubica Williams 27 1:16.559 2.546
20 George Russell Williams 23 1:17.126 3.113