Austrian GP: Rosberg outpaces Hamilton in opening practice

Nico Rosberg set the pace in opening practice for the Austrian Grand Prix, beating Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton.

Austrian GP: Rosberg outpaces Hamilton in opening practice
Kerbs
Overview of Red Bull Ring
Pirelli tyres
A Red Bull Racing mechanic with Pirelli tires
Kerbs
Pirelli signage
Pirelli signage
New Ferrari Halo
McLaren rear wing detail
Renault Sport F1 Team motorhome
Sahara Force India F1 Team motorhome

The championship leader's 1:07.373 was already a full second quicker than last year's pole position, as the new track surface proved quicker straight away.

Rosberg finished over three tenths of a second ahead of Hamilton, both men setting their best times on Pirelli's ultrasofts.

Sebastian Vettel was third for Ferrari, but over six tenths slower than Rosberg, ahead of teammate Kimi Raikkonen and Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo.

Carlos Sainz was sixth in the Toro Rosso, ahead of Felipe Massa's Williams and the second Red Bull of Max Verstappen, whose session came to an early finish after he damaged his car over the revised kerbs.

Verstappen was the first man to appear on the timesheets as he completed a lap on supersoft tyres, his run including a big sideways moment at Turn 3.

A five-lap run saw the Red Bull driver lower the benchmark to a 1:10.099 at the 10-minute mark before returning to the pits.

Rosberg shot to the top with the first sub-1m10s lap of the weekend, before Hamilton posted a 1:08.808 as the session reached the 30-minute point.

Rosberg returned to first place with a 1:08.166 before Hamilton triggered a Virtual Safety Car when he lost control of his Mercedes at Turn 3, spinning into the gravel.

Hamilton managed to recover, but the stationary car made Romain Grosjean spin in avoidance. Neither car was damaged and the VSC was removed quickly.

Verstappen then became the first victim of the revised kerbs, the Dutchman losing a part of his front wing after going wide at the final corner.

Teammate Ricciardo also endured some drama after nearly making contact with the Sauber of Marcus Ericsson at Turn 8, the Australian having to go off track after the Swede ran wide when trying to enter the pitlane.

The incident was put under investigation.

Rosberg went even quicker in the second half of the session, posting a 1:07.373 with ultrasofts before going off at Turn 3, the German running through the gravel and having to return to the pits for checks.

A second VSC period was caused by Verstappen after the Dutchman ran over the new kerbs at Turn 4, damaging his steering in the process, ending up in the gravel.

Moments later there was further drama at Turn 8, as Rio Haryanto spun his Manor and then Vettel went wide, the German annoyed after being slowed down by teammate Raikkonen.

"Why don't you tell him that I'm coming on a quick lap," Vettel complained on the radio.

Vettel was briefly second behind Rosberg before Hamilton raised his pace with a run on ultrasofts, the Briton ending up over three tenths off his teammate's best.

With three minutes to go, Ricciardo went off the track again, this time at Turn 6, having to run through the gravel to return to the circuit.

A few seconds later, Daniil Kvyat spun his Toro Rosso at Turn 2.

Free practice 1 results

ClaDriverChassisEngineLapsTimeGapInterval
1  Nico Rosberg  Mercedes Mercedes 36 1'07.373    
2  Lewis Hamilton  Mercedes Mercedes 33 1'07.730 0.357 0.357
3  Sebastian Vettel  Ferrari Ferrari 27 1'08.022 0.649 0.292
4  Kimi Raikkonen  Ferrari Ferrari 30 1'08.222 0.849 0.200
5  Daniel Ricciardo  Red Bull TAG 34 1'08.528 1.155 0.306
6  Carlos Sainz Jr.  Toro Rosso Ferrari 33 1'08.803 1.430 0.275
7  Felipe Massa  Williams Mercedes 38 1'08.824 1.451 0.021
8  Max Verstappen  Red Bull TAG 21 1'08.962 1.589 0.138
9  Daniil Kvyat  Toro Rosso Ferrari 31 1'08.990 1.617 0.028
10  Valtteri Bottas  Williams Mercedes 39 1'08.998 1.625 0.008
11  Romain Grosjean  Haas Ferrari 33 1'09.078 1.705 0.080
12  Nico Hulkenberg  Force India Mercedes 42 1'09.280 1.907 0.202
13  Jenson Button  McLaren Honda 30 1'09.365 1.992 0.085
14  Fernando Alonso  McLaren Honda 29 1'09.567 2.194 0.202
15  Kevin Magnussen  Renault Renault 23 1'09.707 2.334 0.140
16  Pascal Wehrlein  Manor Mercedes 33 1'09.775 2.402 0.068
17  Jolyon Palmer  Renault Renault 27 1'09.851 2.478 0.076
18  Marcus Ericsson  Sauber Ferrari 34 1'09.929 2.556 0.078
19  Esteban Gutierrez  Haas Ferrari 19 1'10.110 2.737 0.181
20  Felipe Nasr  Sauber Ferrari 25 1'10.314 2.941 0.204
21  Rio Haryanto  Manor Mercedes 20 1'10.493 3.120 0.179
22  Alfonso Celis Jr.  Force India Mercedes 36 1'10.860 3.487 0.367

 

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