Nico Rosberg has set the unofficial lap record at the Red Bull Ring as he led a Mercedes one-two in the first practice session for the Austrian Grand Prix.

The 4.3-kilometre circuit’s official lap record still stands at a 1:08.082 set by Rubens Barrichello in qualifying for the 2002 race, as Rosberg’s time was set in a practice session.

The previous unofficial lap record was set by Michael Schumacher in free practice the following year with a 1:07.908. Rosberg’s best time in FP1 was three-tenths of a second faster, which sets the tone for the remainder of the weekend as we can expect to see the record continue to fall.

Lewis Hamilton also edged Schumacher’s record as he finished the session in second position, three-tenths of a second clear of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in third.

The Briton endured a messy session which included a spin at Turn 3 into the gravel, and was on his best lap when he ran into traffic which affected his time.

Max Verstappen brought out the second Virtual Safety Car in the session when he ran over the new kerbs at Turn 4, which damaged his steering and saw the Red Bull Racing RB12 end up in the gravel.

His teammate Daniel Ricciardo also hit a bit of trouble after nearly running into Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson at Turn 8 after the Swede ran wide attempting to enter the pit lane which forced Ricciardo to take evasive action.

Despite the near-incident, the Australian finished the session in fifth position while Verstappen was in eighth, four-tenths of a second behind.

Carlos Sainz put his Toro Rosso in sixth position ahead of Felipe Massa’s Williams, while Daniil Kvyat in the sister Toro Rosso narrowly beat Valtteri Bottas for ninth.

Driver Team / Entry Result Laps
1. Nico Rosberg de Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 W07 Hybrid 1:07.373 37
2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 W07 Hybrid + 0.357 34
3. Sebastian Vettel de Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H + 0.649 28
4. Kimi Räikkönen fi Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H + 0.849 31
5. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB12 + 1.155 35
6. Carlos Sainz Jr es Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR11 + 1.430 34
7. Felipe Massa br Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW38 + 1.451 39
8. Max Verstappen nl Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB12 + 1.589 21
9. Daniil Kvyat ru Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR11 + 1.617 32
10. Valtteri Bottas fi Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW38 + 1.625 40
11. Romain Grosjean fr Haas F1 Ferrari VF-16 + 1.705 34
12. Nico Hülkenberg de Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM09 + 1.907 43
13. Jenson Button McLaren-Honda MP4-31 + 1.992 31
14. Fernando Alonso es McLaren-Honda MP4-31 + 2.194 30
15. Kevin Magnussen dk Renault Sport F1 Team RS16 + 2.334 24
16. Pascal Wehrlein de Manor Racing Mercedes MRT5 + 2.402 34
17. Jolyon Palmer Renault Sport F1 Team RS16 + 2.478 28
18. Marcus Ericsson Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C35 + 2.556 35
19. Esteban Gutiérrez Haas F1 Ferrari VF-16 + 2.737 20
20. Felipe Nasr br Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C35 + 2.941 26
21. Rio Haryanto id Manor Racing Mercedes MRT5 + 3.120 21
22. Alfonso Celis Jr. Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM09 + 3.487 37

Image via Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team

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Josh Kruse

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