Austria FP2: Mercedes 1-2… and 3!

Lewis Hamilton Austria Friday

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes were once again fastest, while the ‘Pink Mercedes’ of Racing Point showed its pace in practice two on Friday in Austria.

Comfortably clear of the rest of the field, Hamilton led the way with a 1:04.304, while teammate Valtteri Bottas was 0.197 seconds behind him.

Backing up their performance in FP1, which itself was a back-up of their performance in testing, it seems readily apparent that the ‘Black Arrows’ are a class unto themselves at the moment.

Indeed, while Red Bull’s Max Verstappen showed some promise on long-run pace, the best any other team could manage on the timesheets was Sergio Perez’s 1:04.945 in the controversial Racing Point, which seems to have the performance to match its visual similarities to last year’s title-winning car.

Making significant ground after a quiet FP1 was the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel in fourth, 0.657s off the lead, but just as importantly for him, three tenths up on teammate Charles Leclerc in ninth.

Fifth was Daniel Ricciardo for Renault, an encouraging 0.011s behind his former teammate Vettel.

Lando Norris was sixth for McLaren, a tenth behind Ricciardo and half a tenth ahead of Lance Stroll in the other Racing Point.

The aforementioned Verstappen, who did not enjoy the cleanest session, was clearly prioritising long-run pace in eighth, as was Leclerc immediately behind him.

Carlos Sainz rounded-out the top ten, his best effort a little over a second off the pace.

Esteban Ocon who lost a piece of bodywork in the early running, was nearly a half-second off teammate Ricciardo in 11th, while Daniil Kvyat briefly caused some excitement with a spin at turn one, before ultimately finishing 12th.

Alexander Albon, like his teammate, suffered a spin in a session that saw little in the way of raw pace, finishing 13th.

Antonio Giovinazzi, repeating his effort from FP1 to finish 14th.

After finishing ninth in the early session, Kevin Magnussen came back down to earth with his P15. Teammate Romain Grosjean was 16th, but would have been pleased to get 50 laps after a brake fluid issue curtailed his morning running.

Pierre Gasly once again struggled in 17th, barely edging the Williams of George Russell.

Kimi Raikkonen also endured a disappointing session in 19th, while rookie Nicholas Latifi seemed more focused on coming to grips with his car than pushing the pace, nearly a second off Raikkonen and plum last.

Pos. No. Driver Team Best lap Gap Laps
1 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:04.304 42
2 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:04.501 0.197 37
3 11 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 1:04.945 0.641 48
4 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:04.961 0.657 48
5 3 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1:04.972 0.668 36
6 4 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1:05.087 0.783 38
7 18 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 1:05.135 0.831 49
8 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1:05.215 0.911 41
9 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:05.298 0.994 46
10 55 Carlos Sainz Jnr McLaren-Renault 1:05.352 1.048 37
11 31 Esteban Ocon Renault 1:05.415 1.111 42
12 26 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri-Honda 1:05.443 1.139 34
13 23 Alexander Albon Red Bull-Honda 1:05.453 1.149 47
14 99 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:05.608 1.304 49
15 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1:05.678 1.374 44
16 8 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1:05.908 1.604 50
17 10 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 1:06.016 1.712 51
18 63 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1:06.125 1.821 40
19 7 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:06.278 1.974 44
20 6 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 1:07.124 2.820 45