On a day when the heat dominated and the cars ran without FRIC, Lewis Hamilton admits it was "a little difficult" to find the right balance.
That, though, didn't stop him from setting the pace.
The Mercedes driver crossed the line with a 1:18.341 at the Hockenheimring to edge his team-mate Nico Rosberg by 0.024s.
The Brackley duo did not have it all their own way, chased hard by the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo. He finished Friday's second practice 0.103s down.
Hamilton, however, feels there are more improvements to be made as he continues to adapt to a car without FRIC.
"It was a little difficult to find a balance today with the track being so hot, it was quite tricky," he said.
"The car is a little bit different now, obviously because we and everyone has made changes set-up is in a different direction to what we've had in the past but it's still fun to drive.
"Finding the sweet spot of the car is just in a different place now. We have to improve our target and get that right."
Asked whether losing FRIC had played a role in Red Bull closing the gap, he added: "I guess we'll find out tomorrow. I couldn't tell you really."
And although the British racer is hoping to secure pole for Sunday's German GP, he concedes there will be opportunities to overtake.
"Pole is important everywhere we go. There's a long run down to Turn Six so there are, perhaps, opportunities if you are second, but it does make it easier if you are on pole."