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Lewis Hamilton was fastest as F1 returned to Austria (Credit: MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team)
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Mercedes Duo Happy after Acclimatising Day in Austria

The most dominant team of 2014 resumed their positions at the front of the field in Austria as Mercedes finished first and second in both Friday free practice sessions. Championship leader Nico Rosberg topped the first session, while Lewis Hamilton was fastest in the second.

Hamilton was second fastest in the opening session at the Red Bull Ring and quickest in the second session. The Briton, who has won four times in 2014, already feels comfortable driving the circuit, and feels ready to challenge for pole position on Saturday and the race win on Sunday.

“It didn’t feel bad out there today considering this is a new track to me,” said Hamilton. “Already after the first few laps I was feeling comfortable and always seemed to be finding time with new lines and improvements. To be as quick as I was considering others have already driven this track is a great feeling.

“It was very windy out there today, but we got a lot of running and we feel set for the race on Sunday. The high-speed corners were working the rear tyres hard but they seemed to cope well. The feeling was good for both sets of tyres, even in the long runs, so if the car is like this for the race, I’m in a good place. The goal for tomorrow will be pole position but there is still a long straight up to turn two so anything can happen in the race.”

Team-mate Rosberg was fastest in the opening session before slipping behind Hamilton in the second, but felt it was important to get laps under his belt as he learned the track. He also believes there is more time to come and he will have to work hard to match his team-mate and championship rival.

“I did a lot of laps today and on a new track every lap is important for the learning process, so I’m quite happy with that,” said Rosberg. “In general it was a complicated day for me, so there is still some lap time to find compared to my team-mate and there is a lot of work required from me tonight.

“My car is bouncing a lot down the straights and that continues into my braking zones, so it was difficult there. But I’m sure we can improve on that. It is really great to be back on this wonderful track again. Austria definitely needs an F1 race. There we so many fans out there already, which is great to see.”