Valtteri Bottas set the fastest time in practice Saturday for the Eifel Grand Prix as the teams scrambled to understand the Nürburgring track after bad weather meant no running in Friday's sessions.
Bottas set the pace in 1 minute 26.225 seconds, with Lewis Hamilton .136 off his Mercedes teammate in second. Ferrari showed a return to form after a run of uncompetitive races, with Charles Leclerc third fastest, .456 off Bottas, and Sebastian Vettel fifth.
Lance Stroll didn't take part for Racing Point. The team said the Canadian “is not feeling 100% this morning" and a decision would be taken on whether he was fit to compete in qualifying later Saturday. Nico Hülkenberg could be a late replacement after the German previously stood in for Racing Point's other driver, Sergio Perez, in August.
Without Friday practice, teams had just one hour to refine their setups, warm up for qualifying and try to figure out strategy for Sunday's race. Setting fast times wasn't the priority.
It will be the first F1 race since 2013 at the Nürburgring and is named the Eifel Grand Prix after a nearby mountain range. Williams drivers George Russell and Nicholas Latifi both spun as they and other younger drivers tried to learn a track where they have not previously raced in F1.
Racing at the Nürburgring in October — later than any previous F1 race there — means coping with the coldest conditions this season and a high risk of rain in the race. The main challenge will be keeping the tires warm enough for maximum grip without wearing them out.