Rosberg: Tyre usage decisive in Austria

By on Friday, July 1, 2016
Mercedes AMG Petronas

Mercedes AMG Petronas

Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg reckons tyre usage will be crucial as he chases a hat-trick of victories at the Austrian Grand Prix.

Rosberg secured victory at the Red Bull Ring in 2014 and 2015 and, having won in Baku, maintained his form by leading the way during both practice sessions on Friday.

A resurfaced track and softer compounds compared to 2015 has led to a reduction in lap times and Rosberg believes that has influenced tyre usage.

"There are some changes to the circuit this year with the new asphalt and kerbing," he said.

"From my point of view those changes are pretty cool and it's still a really enjoyable track to drive.

"The new asphalt seems to be suiting our car quite well, maybe better even than the old tarmac, but tyre usage will be the decisive factor this weekend as we saw quite a lot of graining during our dry running.

"In the wet this afternoon, I found a good balance with the car, so overall I'm pretty happy with our first day."

Team-mate Lewis Hamilton was only 0.019s adrift during the second session, albeit with the caveat that Rosberg was on course to improve his time prior to abandoning a lap.

"It was a tricky day getting up to speed and getting laps out on track," he said.

"It started coming together this morning but then the rain in the second session meant we had to adapt our programme.

"Luckily, the high track temperatures meant the circuit dried out very quickly, so I was able to get more running on the Ultra Soft tyre before the session finished and to get a feel for the balance and performance.

"We didn't have any problems today, which is definitely a positive, and there's definitely more to come."

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