The sound of Formula 1 returned to the hills of Spielberg, after an 11 year hiatus, with the First Free Practice of the Austrian Grand Prix weekend where it was pretty much business as usual as Mercedes dominated the top of the timing screens, Nico Rosberg ending the 90 minutes session faster than teammate Lewis Hamilton.
Rosberg’s best time of 1:11.295 was 0.14 up on Hamilton’s best. Despite this, after the session the team decided to change the ERS cooling pump on the championship leader’s W05. Earlier in the session Rosberg had reported that the car had switched off out on track.
Best of the rest was Fernando Alonso third fastest in the Ferrari, just under half a second down on the top time. Teammate Raikkonen was 11th on the timing screens when the checkered flag waved to end FP1.
Williams’ good form continued with Felipe Massa ending the session fourth fastest, with teammate Bottas eighth.
Jenson Button also showed good pace in the McLaren on his way to setting the fifth quickest time, ahead of the Force India duo of Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg, sixth and seventh respectively. Kevin Magnussen was ninth.
Ominously for their rivals, Mercedes powered drivers occupied eight of the top nine spots on the timing sheets at the end of FP1.
Best of the Red Bull herd, on their home track, was Jean Eric Vergne in the Toro Rosso with the 10th best time, his rookie teammate Daniil Kvyat 12th, Canadian GP winner Daniel Ricciardo 13th and Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel 15th.
The world champion survived a big moment as he spun at speed and got on the grass exiting the tricky final corner. He did well to keep it out of the wall and prevent what could have been a big shunt. Ricciardo had a similar, although less dramatic moment, shortly afterwards.
There was intermittent rain during the course of the session which curtailed running to some degree. The circuit situated in the Styrian mountains in has only nine corners, but the slow-and-fast nature provided a challenge as drivers pushed the edge in their quests for an optimum lap time. Racing should be of the highest order… (GP247)Austrian Grand Prix, Free Practice 1 – Friday, 20 June 2014
|6||11||Sergio Perez||Force India-Mercedes||1:12.009||0.714||33|
|7||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||1:12.072||0.777||20|
|13||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:12.570||1.275||28|
|15||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:12.988||1.693||25|