FP1: Another Mercedes P1 at the Red Bull Ring

Michelle Foster

Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes’ run of P1s in first practice for the Austrian Grand Prix climbed to six in a row as Lewis Hamilton set the pace on Friday morning.

After a tyre meeting with Pirelli reportedly saw the teams vote 5:5 against reverting to the 2018 tyres, this year’s rubber was once again put to the test in FP1 for the Austrian Grand Prix.

A midsummer heat wave meant the track temperature was up to 43’C as 19 of the drivers took to the track in Spielberg.

The one that didn’t, Valtteri Bottas, sat in the pits while Mercedes replaced his W10’s power unit – reverting to an old spec one – after discovering an oil leak.

Mercedes tweeted: “Valtteri Bottas’ start delayed due to an oil leak. The boys in the garage are currently swapping the Power Unit in order to properly inspect it out of the car.”

Last year’s winners, Red Bull, were the first out on track with Max Verstappen putting the first lap of FP1 while Pierre Gasly clocked the opening time, a 1:08.299.

Ferrari took over at the front with Sebastian Vettel lowering the benchmark to a 1:06.160 before Verstappen took over at the front.

While the 2018 Austrian GP winner laid down fastest laps, his team-mate Gasly was stuck in the pits with a damaged front wing.

He wasn’t the only driver riding the kerbs a bit too hard.

Gasly’s troubles with the kerbs were by no means over as on his next hot lap he again mounted the kerb having just put in a fastest middle sector time.

Verstappen lowered his benchmark time to a 1:05.488 on the medium Pirellis with Lewis Hamilton, finding a way through the traffic, up to second on the softs.

Bottas, on track with a new old spec engine in his car, was third fastest at the 40-minute mark when the drivers hand their first set of tyres back to Pirelli.

With a new set of soft tyres on his Mercedes, Bottas went quickest with a 1:05.2 while Hamilton went purple in the first sector only to run wide and over the kerbs. He was forced to back off.

Charles Leclerc was the next to hit the front before joining the kerb-climbing squad, mounting the sausage kerbs at the final corner. He asked Ferrari if he had broken “something” but was told that “everything is OK with the car”.

Bottas returned to the front ahead of Leclerc and Verstappen with Hamilton P and complaining about having “no front end”. He pitted, 0.340s down on his team-mate.

While many of the drivers were mounting the kerbs left, right and centre, Lance Stroll became the first to suffered a notable problem as his SportPesa Racing Point snapped as he middled the kerb, losing bits of his RP19 He limped back to the pits.

With 20 minutes remaining in FP1, Hamilton hit the front for the first time on Friday with a 1:04.838 for the five-time World Champion.

And although the Brit pitted soon after with damage to the end plate of his front wing, his team remained unbeaten as the chequered flag came down on FP1.

Vettel put in a late run on the medium Pirellis to go second, 0.144s down, while Bottas was third, a further 0.017s off the pace.

Leclerc was fourth ahead of Verstappen, Gasly, Carlo Sainz and Daniel Ricciardo. Sainz is running a new engine at the Red Bull Ring.

Kevin Magnussen and Lando Norris completed the top ten.

The session was red flagged with three minutes left on the clock as Nico Hulkenberg lost his front on the kerbs.

1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:04.838 32 laps
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 0.144s 21 laps
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 0.161s 35 laps
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 0.303s 24 laps
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull 0.422s 30 laps
6 Pierre Gasly Red Bull 0.540s 30 laps
7 Carlos Sainz McLaren 0.664s 32 laps
8 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1.008s 25 laps
9 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1.038s 25 laps
10 Lando Norris McLaren 1.287s 27 laps
11 Romain Grosjean Haas 1.297s 20 laps
12 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1.434s 27 laps
13 Alex Albon Toro Rosso 1.447s 30 laps
14 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1.545s 30 laps
15 Sergio Perez Racing Point 1.619s 34 laps
16 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing 1.870s 28 laps
17 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Racing 1.891s 23 laps
18 Lance Stroll Racing Point 1.918s 27 laps
19 George Russell Williams 1.967s 28 laps
20 Robert Kubica Williams 2.827s 28 laps

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