Briton Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) completed the best time of the first free practice session of the Austrian Grand Prix, the ninth round of the Formula 1 World Championship, at the Red Bull Ring (4,318 km) in Spielberg.
Leader of the drivers’ classification with 36 points of advantage over his Finnish teammate Valtteri Bottas and 76 over the German Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari), Hamilton signed a time of 1 min 04 sec 838/1000, with soft tires, the fastest at one return.
Vettel, with means, was second at 144 thousandths, ahead of Bottas, with soft, at 161 thousandths and the Monegasque Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), with means, at 303 thousandths.
Bottas experienced a session disturbed by changing his engine due to an oil leak, repaired only an hour before the start of training, Mercedes said. This did not prevent him from completing more laps than his opponents (37).
Ferrari, as announced, tested various parts, trying to understand why its improvements had not worked last week at the French GP.
In the middle of the table, the McLarens stood out, with the Spanish Carlos Sainz Jr seventh at 664 thousandths and the British Lando Norris tenths at 1 second and 287 thousandths.
Sainz will have to start from the end of the grid on Sunday for having taken an improved version of his engine. This is also the case of the Thai Alexander Albon (Toro Rosso), who changed his Honda engine.
– First free practice session:
Lewis Hamilton (GBR / Mercedes) 1: 04.838 (34 laps)
Sebastian Vettel (GER / Ferrari) 1: 04.982 (23)
Valtteri Bottas (FIN / Mercedes) 1: 04.999 (37)
Charles Leclerc (MON / Ferrari) 1: 05.141 (26)
Max Verstappen (NED / Red Bull-Honda) 1: 05.260 (30)
Pierre Gasly (FRA / Red Bull-Honda) 1: 05.378 (30)
Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP / McLaren-Renault) 1: 05.502 (34)
Daniel Ricciardo (AUS / Renault) 1: 05.846 (27)
Kevin Magnussen (DEN / Haas-Ferrari) 1: 05.876 (27)
Lando Norris (GBR / McLaren-Renault) 1: 06.125 (27)
Romain Grosjean (FRA / Haas-Ferrari) 1: 06.135 (20)
Daniil Kvyat (RUS / Toro Rosso-Honda) 1: 06.272 (29)
Alexander Albon (THA / Toro Rosso-Honda) 1: 06.285 (32)
Nico Hülkenberg (GER / Renault) 1: 06.383 (30)
Sergio Pérez (MEX / Racing Point-Mercedes) 1: 06.457 (36)
Antonio Giovinazzi (ITA / Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari) 1: 06.708 (30)
Kimi Räikkönen (FIN / Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari) 1: 06.729 (23)
Lance Stroll (CAN / Racing Point-Mercedes) 1: 06.756 (29)
George Russell (GBR / Williams-Mercedes) 1: 06.805 (28)
Robert Kubica (POL / Williams-Mercedes) 1: 07.665 (28). AFP