Mercedes significant package of upgrades has kept it on top of the timesheets as Friday’s Austrian Grand Prix practice action drew to a close, with Lewis Hamilton leading teammate Valtteri Bottas to a 1-2 result.
The defending World Champion – quickest in Friday’s opening practice session – moved to the front early in the session, posting a 1:04.579 on Pirelli’s Soft compound tyres. Unusually he was not able to post a quicker time on a later Ultrasoft tyre stint, which is likely to cause concern among rival teams.
Teammate Bottas ran second-fastest behind Hamilton early on in the session while running Supersofts, later improving by just one-hundredth of a second on Ultrasoft tyres to finish 0.176 seconds slower than the Englishman.
Hamilton’s main championship rival Sebastian Vettel finished the session third-fastest, using Ultrasoft tyres to get less than a quarter of a second off Hamilton’s ultimate pace.
The German outpaced the Red Bull Racing duo of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen, who finished less than one-tenth of a second apart. Ricciardo’s best time was posted on the Supersoft tyres, while Verstappen’s came on the grippier Ultrasoft rubber.
Kimi Räikkönen was again sixth-fastest in the second Ferrari. The Finn did not have the easiest of sessions and initially struggled to gain much time on Ultrasoft tyres before locking up and running wide at Turn 3.
The Ferrari-powered Haas team continued to lead the midfield charge where the Red Bull Ring’s three DRS zones would play to the strengths of the VF-18. Romain Grosjean led teammate Kevin Magnussen, who had separate off-track moments at Turns 4 and 9 and later had to stop his car when he left the pits with a loose front right wheel for which the American team will cop a hefty fine.
Another driver to come to grief at Turn 9 was Pierre Gasly. The Toro Rosso driver ran wide and clobbered the sausage kerb at the exit of the corner, which broke his front-left suspension and sent him skating into the gravel. The incident led to a brief red flag so marshals could safely extract the Honda-powered STR13. The Frenchman still finished the session ninth-fastest ahead of McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne.
Carlos Sainz finished eleventh-fastest in the Renault, surviving a heavy lock-up on approach to Turn 4 that saw the Spaniard take a brief trip through the gravel trap.
He was chased by the Sauber pairing of Charles Leclerc and Marcus Ericsson, who were split by Force India’s Esteban Ocon. Ericsson was another driver to go off-track, locking up at Turn 3 and running through the gravel trap.
McLaren’s Fernando Alonso had a troubled session after damaging his car’s floor with an off-track moment on his first run. He finished the session second-slowest, quicker only than Williams’ Lance Stroll who also had an off-track excursion through Turn 10.
Saturday’s final practice session takes place at 12:00 local time ahead of qualifying at 15:00 (GMT +2).
|FORMULA 1 EYETIME GROSSER PREIS VON ÖSTERREICH 2018 – FREE PRACTICE SESSION 2 TIMES|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap||Laps|
|1.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport F1W09||1:04.579||37|
|2.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport F1W09||1:04.755||+ 0.176||42|
|3.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF71H||1:04.815||+ 0.236||53|
|4.||Daniel Ricciardo||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB14||1:05.031||+ 0.452||48|
|5.||Max Verstappen||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB14||1:05.125||+ 0.546||48|
|6.||Kimi Räikkönen||Scuderia Ferrari SF71H||1:05.265||+ 0.686||42|
|7.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-18||1:05.429||+ 0.850||38|
|8.||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-18||1:05.559||+ 0.980||41|
|9.||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda STR13||1:05.758||+ 1.179||31|
|10.||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren F1 Team Renault MCL33||1:05.930||+ 1.351||47|
|11.||Carlos Sainz Jr||Renault Sport F1 Team RS18||1:05.999||+ 1.420||38|
|12.||Charles Leclerc||Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C37||1:06.096||+ 1.517||30|
|13.||Esteban Ocon||Force India F1 Team Mercedes VJM11||1:06.133||+ 1.554||43|
|14.||Marcus Ericsson||Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C37||1:06.199||+ 1.620||29|
|15.||Nico Hülkenberg||Renault Sport F1 Team RS18||1:06.273||+ 1.694||42|
|16.||Sergey Sirotkin||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW41||1:06.326||+ 1.747||49|
|17.||Brendon Hartley||Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda STR13||1:06.332||+ 1.753||55|
|18.||Sergio Pérez||Force India F1 Team Mercedes VJM11||1:06.354||+ 1.775||48|
|19.||Fernando Alonso||McLaren F1 Team Renault MCL33||1:06.429||+ 1.850||33|
|20.||Lance Stroll||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW41||1:06.626||+ 2.047||44|
Image via Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team