The young Scuderia Ferrari driver recorded a best time of 1:13.449 in very hot temperatures during Friday afternoon’s second practice of the German GP.

He managed to get just 0.124s ahead of his teammate Sebastian Vettel who had dominated the first session in the morning.

The defending world champion Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes finished extremely close to Vettel with just 0.022s separating the two drivers. In fourth place was the other Silver Arrow driver Valtteri Bottas who finished just another half a second behind Hamilton.

Max Verstappen finished just two-hundredths of a second behind Bottas though had his race simulation preparation compromised by a mechanical problem with his Red Bull RB15.

Verstappen’s Red Bull team-mate, Pierre Gasly, classified down in 15th place and brought a lacklustre day to a miserable close with a hefty crash.

During the long runs, Gasly lost the rear of his RB15 through the final corner and suffered a heavy impact with the wall, sustaining damage to the left-hand side of the car.

It caused the session to be halted while marshals removed the wreckage.

Haas’ Romain Grosjean did well for his team as he finished sixth behind Verstappen in a car named the Australia-spec VF-19 as part of the team’s experiments to discover its problems.

Racing Point introduced the first part of a two-part aerodynamic package – the second stage of which is set for Budapest next weekend – and displayed strong pace.

Lance Stroll was seventh, just eight-tenths down on pacesetter Leclerc, while Sergio Perez rounded out the top 10.

Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen was eighth – having been vocal about traffic earlier in the session – as Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg took ninth.

Hulkenberg spent the final stages of the session in the garage in the wake of a clutch problem as he tried to leave the pit lane.

McLaren had a low-key day by its recent standards; Carlos Sainz Jr. finished 11th and reported a brake issue late on, while Lando Norris was only 16th, split by Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat and Alexander Albon, Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo, and the aforementioned Gasly.

Antonio Giovinazzi and Kevin Magnussen brought up the rear of the midfield for Alfa Romeo and Haas respectively, ahead of the Williams drivers.

George Russell edged Robert Kubica – running the updated aerodynamic package – by less than a tenth of a second, but the pair finished 1.4s off the back of the midfield.

Next up is the final German GP practice session which is set to start at noon on Saturday.

Germany GP – Practice 2 results