Austria FP1: Business as usual for Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton Austria FP1

Mercedes have managed to pick up right where they left-off in preseason testing with a Lewis Hamilton-Valtteri Bottas 1-2 in the first practice session for the Austrian Grand Prix on Friday.

Leading the way with a time of 1:04.816, Hamilton was 0.356 seconds up on teammate Bottas, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen a further 0.246s back.

The class of the running in Barcelona, the Silver Arrows’ performance came as no surprise, particularly as it was confirmed that their secret weapon, Dual Axis Steering (DAS), was indeed on the car.

At the same time, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner hinted on the Sky Sports F1 that a protest could be incoming, and indeed they might have little choice but to protest if this session is any indication.

Outside the top three things were more interesting, with McLaren’s Carlos Sainz a mere 0.013s behind Verstappen in fourth, and Sergio Perez in Racing Point’s ‘Pink Mercedes’ a further 0.081s back.

Sainz’s teammate Lando Norris was sixth with a 1:05.621, followed by Alexander Albon, who set a best time of 1:05.701 in his Red Bull.

Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo best lap of 1:05.860 was good enough for eighth, with the Haas of Kevin Magnussen a pleasant surprise in ninth.

Rounding out the top ten was the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc, 1.108s off Hamilton’s time, although any overreactions about Ferrari’s performance should be tempered by the fact they opted not to run soft tyres.

Lance Stroll was P11 for Racing Point, Sebastian Vettel alongside him in 12th.

Esteban Ocon was 13th for Renault, 0.217s behind teammate Ricciardo.

The Alfa Romeo pair of Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Raikkonen were 14th and 15th respectively, the second-slowest team with five different outfits behind them.

Pierre Gasly was one of the few drivers to make a notable mistake in the session, spinning at the final corner and finishing with a best of 1:06.404.

George Russell and Nicholas Latifi were 17th and 18th for Williams, largely confirming the notion the team’s progress was not enough to lift them off the bottom of the field.

Daniil Kvyat was 19th, only managing 19 laps, while Romain Grosjean brought up the rear after a brake fluid issue sidelined him for most of the session.

Pos. No. Driver Team Best lap Gap Laps
1 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:04.816 42
2 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:05.172 0.356 38
3 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1:05.418 0.602 37
4 55 Carlos Sainz Jnr McLaren-Renault 1:05.431 0.615 41
5 11 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 1:05.512 0.696 33
6 4 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1:05.621 0.805 41
7 23 Alexander Albon Red Bull-Honda 1:05.701 0.885 29
8 3 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1:05.860 1.044 29
9 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1:05.907 1.091 27
10 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:05.924 1.108 31
11 18 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 1:06.074 1.258 34
12 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:06.077 1.261 32
13 31 Esteban Ocon Renault 1:06.270 1.454 22
14 99 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:06.360 1.544 24
15 7 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:06.365 1.549 28
16 10 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 1:06.404 1.588 25
17 63 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1:06.495 1.679 27
18 6 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 1:06.906 2.090 31
19 26 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri-Honda 1:06.943 2.127 19
20 8 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1:46.361 41.545 6