Lewis Hamilton has remained atop the timesheets as Friday’s second practice session for the Austrian Grand Prix came to a close.

The Mercedes driver narrowly edged Ferrari rival and championship leader Sebastian Vettel in another incident-filled session where the entire field struggled for grip around the Red Bull Ring circuit.

After breaking the unofficial lap record in FP1, Hamilton lowered the benchmark on an Ultra Soft tyre run with a 1:05.483 to finish less than two-tenths of a second clear of Vettel, who showed improved pace and consistency on both low- and high-fuel runs during the session.

Vettel managed to split the Mercedes by leapfrogging Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas to the tune of less than one-tenth of a second, although Bottas could have gone quicker were it not for an error in the final sector on a particularly quick lap.

It was a rather untidy session by Bottas’ standards. Not only did his error at Turn 9 cost him a potential shot at top spot on the timesheets, but he also had a wild spin at Turn 6 where he was lucky not to hit the barriers.

Fourth- and fifth-fastest were the two Red Bull Racing runners of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo, although both lost track time: Verstappen missed most of the first 30 minutes of the session while a brake issue was rectified, while Ricciardo’s session was brought to an early end with a turbo problem.

A few brake lock-ups aside, Kimi Räikkönen had a relatively quiet FP2 run en route to finishing sixth-fastest, while Kevin Magnussen enjoyed a positive session to put his Haas Ferrari seventh-fastest. Showing the American team’s pace was no fluke, teammate Romain Grosjean finished tenth-quickest.

The pair sandwiched McLaren’s Fernando Alonso – despite a wild spin through Turn 6 late in the session – and Renault’s Nico Hülkenberg, having his first track hit-out after lending his car to reserve driver Sergey Sirotkin in FP1.

Hülkenberg’s teammate Jolyon Palmer had another wretched session, managing just seven laps before his RS17 was sidelined with more mechanical dramas.

Fellow Renault-powered runners Carlos Sainz Jr and Daniil Kvyat also had foreshortened sessions and finished down the order: the former damaged his car with a wild off at Turn 9, while the latter saw his rear brakes catch fire.

Another team to struggle was Williams, which saw Felipe Massa 14th-fastest and rookie teammate Lance Stroll two spots further back. The Mercedes-powered FW40 looked to be handling poorly through the Red Bull Ring’s higher-speed corners, as evidenced by Stroll having numerous off-track excursions through Turns 9 and 10.

The Sauber Ferraris were well off the pace and languished at the bottom of the timesheets. Pascal Wehrlein narrowly outpaced teammate Marcus Ericsson – who seemed to spend more time off track than on it – but both were over a second slower than Force India’s Sergio Pérez, who had a similarly untidy session.

Saturday’s final practice session will begin at 11:00 local time (GMT +2).

Driver Team / Entry Time Tyre Laps
1. Lewis Hamilton uk Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08 1:05.483 Pirelli Ultra Soft 30
2. Sebastian Vettel de Scuderia Ferrari SF70H 1:05.630 Pirelli Ultra Soft 50
3. Valtteri Bottas fi Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08 1:05.699 Pirelli Ultra Soft 41
4. Max Verstappen nl Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13 1:05.832 Pirelli Ultra Soft 33
5. Daniel Ricciardo au Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13 1:05.873 Pirelli Ultra Soft 27
6. Kimi Räikkönen fi Scuderia Ferrari SF70H 1:06.144 Pirelli Ultra Soft 54
7. Kevin Magnussen dk Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17 1:06.591 Pirelli Ultra Soft 43
8. Fernando Alonso es McLaren-Honda MCL32 1:06.732 Pirelli Ultra Soft 27
9. Nico Hulkenberg de Renault Sport F1 Team RS17 1:06.735 Pirelli Ultra Soft 42
10. Romain Grosjean fr Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17 1:06.763 Pirelli Ultra Soft 52
11. Esteban Ocon fr Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10 1:06.849 Pirelli Ultra Soft 50
12. Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren-Honda MCL32 1:06.859 Pirelli Ultra Soft 37
13. Daniil Kvyat ru Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR12 1:06.906 Pirelli Ultra Soft 34
14. Felipe Massa br Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40 1:07.065 Pirelli Ultra Soft 50
15. Carlos Sainz Jr es Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR12 1:07.100 Pirelli Ultra Soft 24
16. Lance Stroll ca Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40 1:07.468 Pirelli Ultra Soft 46
17. Sergio Pérez Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10 1:07.509 Pirelli Ultra Soft 41
18. Jolyon Palmer Renault Sport F1 Team RS17 1:07.623 Pirelli Soft 7
19. Pascal Wehrlein de Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36 1:08.782 Pirelli Ultra Soft 49
20. Marcus Ericsson se Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36 1:08.870 Pirelli Ultra Soft 51

Image via Sky Sports F1

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.