Lewis Hamilton made it all square at Mercedes after going fastest in Free Practice 2 for the Austrian Grand Prix.
Hamilton headed teammate Nico Rosberg by three tenths around the Red Bull Ring, after the latter beat the Brit to top the timesheets in this morning’s first session.
Hamilton’s afternoon-best of a 1:09:542 was set on the super-soft tyre compound, as the three-pointed star and the rest of the grid continue to grabble with Formula One’s return to a track last visited in 2003.
The struggle was indeed apparent, with the likes of Jules Bianchi, Adrian Sutil, and Hamilton all running wide at Turn Eight throughout the session, and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen very nearly dropping it on the exit of the final turn just as Sebastian Vettel had done in the morning session.
Both Ferrari and Red Bull endured a poor day at the office, with the former struggling with front-end grip and overly-aggressive power delivery yet again, whilst both struggled with tyre degradation on the prime-tyre stints towards the end of the session.
This left Fernando Alonso and Vettel sandwiching the Williams duo of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa in 4th and 5th, and over half a second shy of the leading Mercedes duo.
Behind the top six wound up McLaren’s Jenson Button-seemingly enjoying the teams new-for-Austria updates with a noticeable improvement on front-end grip aiding both himself and teammate Kevin Magnussen, who finished 9th and just 0.016 shy of 8th place man Daniel Ricciardo.
Of note and outside the top ten was Max Chilton’s best time of 1:12:229; enough to place the Brit in 18th and ahead of the best effort Romain Grosjean could muster up in his Lotus-Renault in 19th.
It might well be a long weekend for Grosjean on that basis, yet it promises to be an exciting one around the short & fast ‘Ring following the today’s track action.