Austria, FP1: Hamilton leads Mercedes 1-2

Practice gets underway in Spielberg


By Olivier Ferret

29 June 2018 - 12:35
Austria, FP1: Hamilton leads Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton topped the first free practice timesheets at the Austrian Grand Prix weekend got underway at the Red Bull Ring, with the champion leading a Mercedes 1-2 ahead of Valtteri Bottas, with Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen third at the Anglo-Austrian team’s home event.

The Dutch driver was the first to set a lap time in the session and he was also an early spinner when he momentarily dropped the rear wheels of his RB14 into the gravel at Turn 4. His car pirouetted through 360 degrees but Verstappen was quickly on his way again.

Mercedes then led the way on superfast tyres until mid-session before Bottas then increased the pace on ultrasofts with a lap of 1:05.354s. His time at the top was brief, however, as Hamilton jumped to the top of the order by a considerable margin.

The times then ebbed and flowed as Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel joined the party and split the Mercedes and then Verstappen also found more pace on ultrasofts with his session-best time of 1:05.072.

The Red Bull driver, who is supported by a huge Dutch contingent in Austria, was the pushed to third place when Hamilton restored supremacy with a time of 1:04.839 and Bottas set his best time of the 90 minutes, a 1:04.966 that left him 0.127s behind his team-mate.

Verstapen then finished third, a tenth clear of Vettel. Daniel Ricciardo finished fifth in the second Red Bull, though he was four tenths adrift of his team-mate.

Kimi Räikkönen took sixth place, almost three tenths down on Ricciardo. Räikkönen was the last man inside a second of Hamilton’s time.

Romain Grosjean took best-of-the-rest honours in the opening session with a time of 1:06.028, 1.189s adrift of first place 0.027s ahead of Force India’s Esteban Ocon.

Sauber’s Charles Leclerc continued his recent good form with ninth place and a time of 1:06.215, while Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly rounded out the top ten. 1.555s on Hamilton’s best.

01 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG 1:04.839 39
02 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes AMG 1:04.966 39
03 Max Verstappen Red Bull Tag Heuer 1:05.072 42
04 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:05.180 29
05 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Tag Heuer 1:05.483 22
06 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:05.776 31
07 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:06.028 31
08 Esteban Ocon Force India Mercedes 1:06.055 40
09 Charles Leclerc Sauber Ferrari 1:06.215 31
10 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso Honda 1:06.394 36
11 Marcus Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1:06.400 32
12 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1:06.464 23
13 Carlos Sainz Renault F1 1:06.427 29
14 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 1:06.455 42
15 Nico Hulkenberg Renault F1 1:06.479 35
16 Lance Stroll Williams Mercedes 1:06.567 32
17 Fernando Alonso McLaren Renault 1:06.612 30
18 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren Renault 1:06.698 30
19 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso Honda 1:06.871 45
20 Robert Kubica Williams Mercedes 1:07.424 38

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