Rosberg sets rapid pace in Austria FP1

By on Friday, July 1, 2016
Mercedes AMG Petronas

Mercedes AMG Petronas

Nico Rosberg took advantage of a resurfaced track and softer tyres to clock the quickest ever lap of the Red Bull Ring during the first practice session for the Austrian Grand Prix.

Rosberg set two laps fast enough for top spot in warm conditions and ended the session with a 1:07.373 on the Ultra Soft tyres.

Lewis Hamilton was second for Mercedes, 0.357s behind his team-mate, as both drivers had moments at Turn 3 during the session.

Rosberg went wide and ran through the gravel while Hamilton spun exiting the corner, a move which prompted Haas’ Romain Grosjean to spin in avoidance.

Ferrari proved to be Mercedes’ closest challenger during the session, albeit with Sebastian Vettel 0.649s behind Rosberg, with Kimi Räikkönen two-tenths further back in fourth.

Daniel Ricciardo was the lead Red Bull driver in fifth, despite a trip through the gravel at Turn 6, ahead of Carlos Sainz Jr., Felipe Massa and Max Verstappen.

The Dutchman endured a messy session, first losing an endplate after running wide at Turn 8 before he clipped the newly installed yellow kerbs on the outside of Turn 5.

Verstappen’s front right suspension was damaged in the process and he slid into the gravel, with his session coming to an early end.

Daniil Kvyat and Valtteri Bottas completed the top 10 for Toro Rosso and Williams respectively, with the Russian spinning at Turn 2.

Grosjean placed 11th, ahead of Force India’s Nico Hülkenberg and McLaren pairing Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso.

Kevin Magnussen was 15th for Renault, with Manor’s Pascal Wehrlein a promising 16th, though he is under investigation for allegedly failing to stay above the minimum Virtual Safety Car time.

Jolyon Palmer was 17th, ahead of Marcus Ericsson, who is under scrutiny for crossing the white line on pit entry, Esteban Gutiérrez and Felipe Nasr.

Rio Haryanto was 21st and suffered a spin midway through the session at Turn 8; Haryanto re-joined in front of Ricciardo and is under investigation for failing to re-join the track in a safe manner.

Force India development driver Alfonso Celis Jr. had his third FP1 run of the season in place of Sergio Perez and was 22nd, three-tenths of a second adrift of Haryanto.

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