Hamilton sets blistering pace in Austria

Lewis Hamilton topped the times in FP2

Lewis Hamilton topped the times in FP2

Lewis Hamilton fired a warning shot to his rivals as he posted the fastest time in the opening day of practice ahead of Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver responded to his team-mate Nico Rosberg, who topped the times in Free Practice 1, with an 1.09.542s effort nearly four tenths quicker than his opposite number.

Fernando Alonso was third fastest for Ferrari but the Spaniard was almost a second adrift of Hamilton.

Williams appear to be poised to challenge the top order once again this weekend with drivers Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa fourth and fifth respectively. The pair were separated by just two thousandths of a second.

Although competing at their home circuit, Red Bull endured a difficult day with reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel sixth and Daniel Ricciardo eighth, behind the upgrade laden McLaren of Jenson Button.

Despite limited knowledge of the Red Bull Ring, which returns to the F1 calendar for the first time since 2003, Mercedes remained as the squad to beat.

Hamilton set the pace from the outset on soft compound tyres as he pipped Rosberg by 39 thousandths at the end of the opening runs.

Equipped with super-soft tyres for the second half of the session, the Brit continued to top the timesheets posting a string of quick laps.

He immediately improved his personal best by seven tenths before shaving off another tenth from his time.

Rosberg struggled early on with his new set of tyres but as the session progressed he managed to cut the deficit to Hamilton to just 0.377s.

The German trialled a new skid block in the morning free practice session designed to create more sparks from the cars as the championship continues to work on improving its appearance to fans.

While Alonso seem settled behind the wheel of the F14 T in third, his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen was unable to dial himself into the circuit and could only set a time good enough for 11th position.

The Finn wasn’t the only driver to encounter problems with both Red Bulls requiring floor repairs after excursions in Free Practice 1. Vettel suffered a high speed spin at the final corner while Ricciardo escaped a trip onto the grass at the same turn.

McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen finished ninth ahead of Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne who completed the top 10.

F1 Austrian Grand Prix Free Practice 2 Results

Position Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m09.542s   37
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m09.919s +0.377s 50
3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m10.470s +0.928s 40
4 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m10.519s +0.977s 44
5 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m10.521s +0.979s 39
6 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m10.807s +1.265s 39
7 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m10.813s +1.271s 44
8 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m10.920s +1.378s 36
9 Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m10.936s +1.394s 45
10 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m10.972s +1.430s 39
11 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m10.974s +1.432s 45
12 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m11.261s +1.719s 45
13 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m11.296s +1.754s 36
14 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m11.491s +1.949s 42
15 Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1m11.765s +2.223s 30
16 Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m11.806s +2.264s 42
17 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m11.935s +2.393s 39
18 Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m12.229s +2.687s 43
19 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m12.262s +2.720s 46
20 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m12.279s +2.737s 36
21 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1m12.937s +3.395s 24
22 Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m13.596s +4.054s 48

F1 Austrian Grand Prix Free Practice 1 Results

Position Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m11.295s   19
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m11.435s +0.140s 32
3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m11.606s +0.311s 23
4 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m11.756s +0.461s 27
5 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m11.839s +0.544s 33
6 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m12.009s +0.714s 33
7 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m12.072s +0.777s 20
8 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m12.114s +0.819s 21
9 Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m12.313s +1.018s 36
10 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m12.364s +1.069s 30
11 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m12.365s +1.070s 21
12 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m12.372s +1.077s 35
13 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m12.570s +1.275s 28
14 Esteban Gutierre Sauber-Ferrari 1m12.984s +1.689s 19
15 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m12.988s +1.693s 25
16 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m13.168s +1.873s 28
17 Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1m13.642s +2.347s 27
18 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m13.738s +2.443s 26
19 Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m13.857s +2.562s 28
20 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1m14.611s +3.316s 24
21 Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m14.691s +3.396s 9
22 Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m17.501s +6.206s 8


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