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Spielberg, FP1 & FP2: Racing returns in Austria and Hamilton seizes the advantage

"It’s great to be back. It’s been a long time coming"

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By Olivier Ferret

3 July 2020 - 17:11
Spielberg, FP1 & FP2: Racing (...)

Motorsport fired up once again in Austria today as the 2020 FIA Formula 1 World Championshop at last got underway at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg.

And it was defending champion Lewis Hamilton who seized an early weekend advantage with the Mercedes setting the quickest lap of the day in afternoon practice session.

Hamilton finished almost two tenths of a second clear of teammate Valtteri Bottas, with Racing Point’s Sergio Perez claiming third place. Mercedes’ expected challengers, Red Bull and Ferrari saw their drivers finish well off the pace with Sebastian Vettel more than six tenths of a seconds behind Hamilton in fourth place and Max Verstappen in eighth, almost a full second behind Hamilton.

"It’s great to be back. It’s been a long time coming," said Hamilton afterwards. "The new car obviously feels different than the 2018 car we got to test at Silverstone a few weeks ago, but I think we have also been able to continue to improve the car compared to last year, so that’s a big positive. The track was a little bit greasy and while the grip will pick up, it feels like the track only improved a very small amount. It was looking good out there today, but you can never take too much from practice. You never know what power and fuel other teams are running. So we will take today’s result with a pinch of salt, try and improve the car tonight and come back for the fight tomorrow."

Six-time champion Hamilton was a late starter in the session but when he headed out after 25 minutes on the mediums he quickly worked his way to top spot with a lap of 1:05.095s.

Soon after the field began to make qualifying runs on soft tyres and Sergio Perez and teammate Stroll were immediately to the fore. Perez took P1 with a lap of 1:04.945s, but Stroll made a mistake through Turn 8 and lost time. The pair were then edged out by Bottas who set a new benchmark with a lap of 1:04.501. Sebastian Vettel looked like he might challenge that but in the end his flying lap saw him slot into P3 behind Perez.

It was then Hamilton’s turn and he grabbed P1 with a lap of 1:04.304. The Briton’s effort put him 0.197s clear of Bottas, with Perez and Vettel shuffled back to third and fourth.

Max Verstappen, winner of the last two Austrian Grands Prix, finished in eighth place as the lead Red Bull driver, but his flying lap was 0.911s slower than Hamilton’s best. Alex Albon finished 13th in the second Red Bull Charles Leclerc finished ninth to end a muted opening day for Ferrari.

FP2 results

Pos.DriverCarTimeLaps
01 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W11 1:04.304 42
02 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes W11 1:04.501 37
03 Sergio Perez Racing Point Mercedes RP20 1:04.945 48
04 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari SF1000 1:04.961 48
05 Daniel Ricciardo Renault RS20 1:04.972 36
06 Lando Norris McLaren Renault MCL35 1:05.087 38
07 Lance Stroll Racing Point Mercedes RP20 1:05.135 49
08 Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda RB16 1:05.215 41
09 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF1000 1:05.298 46
10 Carlos Sainz McLaren Renault MCL35 1:05.352 37
11 Esteban Ocon Renault RS20 1:05.415 42
12 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri Honda AT01 1:05.443 34
13 Alex Albon Red Bull Honda RB16 1:05.453 47
14 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Ferrari C39 1:05.608 49
15 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari VF-20 1:05.678 44
16 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari VF-20 1:05.908 50
17 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri Honda AT01 1:06.016 51
18 George Russell Williams Mercedes FW43 1:06.125 40
19 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Ferrari C39 1:06.278 44
20 Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes FW43 1:07.124 45

FP1 results

Pos.DriverCarTimeLaps
01 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W11 1:04.816 42
02 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes W11 1:05.172 38
03 Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda RB16 1:05.418 37
04 Carlos Sainz McLaren Renault MCL35 1:05.431 41
05 Sergio Perez Racing Point Mercedes RP20 1:05.512 33
06 Lando Norris McLaren Renault MCL35 1:05.621 41
07 Alex Albon Red Bull Honda RB16 1:05.701 29
08 Daniel Ricciardo Renault RS20 1:05.860 28
09 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari VF-20 1:05.907 27
10 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF1000 1:05.924 31
11 Lance Stroll Racing Point Mercedes RP20 1:06.074 34
12 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari SF1000 1:06.077 32
13 Esteban Ocon Renault RS20 1:06.270 22
14 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Ferrari C39 1:06.360 24
15 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Ferrari C39 1:06.365 28
16 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri Honda AT01 1:06.404 25
17 George Russell Williams Mercedes FW43 1:06.495 27
18 Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes FW43 1:06.906 31
19 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri Honda AT01 1:06.943 19
20 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari VF-20 1:46.361 6

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