FP1: P1 for Mercedes, drama for Red Bull


Mercedes claimed the expected 1-2 in Friday’s first practice in Austria, a session in which Red Bull were in the thick of the drama.

While Nico Rosberg raced to a 1:07.373 on his ultrasoft tyres, his team-mate Lewis Hamilton had a bit of trouble with the traffic.

Struggling to find a clear track, Hamilton was 0.713s off the pace before finally putting in a clean lap that saw him close the gap to 0.357s.

Sebastian Vettel was best of the rest behind the Mercedes pairing as he brushed aside an earlier leak which cost him a few minutes at the start of the 90-minute session.

Vettel was expected to run the revised halo for a lap on Friday morning but instead his mechanics worked furiously to fix his SF16-H. He finished 0.649s off the pace.

His team-mate Kimi Raikkonen was P4 ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, who had a rather action-packed morning.

Ricciardo was lucky to avoid contact with Marcus Ericsson as the Sauber driver ran out of grip as he entered the pits, which resulted in him running wide and crossing the white line. Ricciardo took avoiding action while Ericsson now faces the stewards for crossing the white line.

Later Ricciardo was almost caught out by Rio Haryanto as the Manor driver returned to the circuit after running wide. Ricciardo slowed down to avoid him and Haryanto is under investigation for returning to the track in an unsafe manner.

But while Ricciardo avoided incidents, Max Verstappen did not.

He lost his front wing end plate on one of the new “dangerous” yellow kerbs and then lost his steering when he hit another. “Unbelievable those yellow things,” he lamented as his RB12 ground to a halt in the gravel.

He was P8, finishing the session behind Carlos Sainz and Felipe Massa while Daniil Kvyat and Valtteri Bottas completed the top ten.

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