Formula 1

Hamilton masters the Red Bull Ring on Friday

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Lewis Hamilton masters the Red Bull Ring to finish the opening day of practice on top of the timesheets Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd.

Lewis Hamilton continued his strong performance from this morning, to top the timesheets of Free Practice 2 for the Austrian Grand Prix.

The Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula 1 Team driver mastered the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, as he sets a time of 1:05.483 to finish ahead of Sebastian Vettel. During the session, Hamilton encountered a drivability issue, which led to the team changing a spark plug, he was able to return to the circuit and continue his strong pace. Vettel finished the session only 0.147 seconds behind Hamilton for Scuderia Ferrari, improving from his pace in the first session where he could only manage fourth.

Valtteri Bottas had some brief incidents during the session, after oversteering at Turn 6 then experiencing understeer, he had to spin the W08 to rejoin the circuit. The Finn finished the session 0.216 seconds off the pace of Mercedes team-mate Hamilton. After a good session this morning, Max Verstappen was forced to sit out half an hour of the session as Red Bull Racing worked on brake issues on the RB13. Verstappen returned to the circuit where he set the sixth fastest time before improving to fourth where he was half a second off the outright pace.

He would finish the session with a time of 1:05.832, only 0.041 seconds ahead of team-mate Daniel Ricciardo whose session was cut short with turbo issues. Kimi Raikkonen finished 0.661 seconds down on Hamilton’s time in sixth as he echoed his position from the morning session in an incident-free run. Kevin Magnussen had a strong performance this afternoon for Haas F1 Team, finishing in seventh with a time of 1:06.591, just ahead of McLaren Honda Racing driver Fernando Alonso.

Alonso spent most of the afternoon in the garage after damage to the floor meant the team needed to fit a new floor. In ninth was the first Renault Sport Formula 1 Team car of Nico Hulkenberg, who at the beginning of the practice complained to the team about the tyres, as he was experiencing front vibrations. Romain Grosjean spent most of his afternoon battling with the VF-17, as he complained of handling issues following a massive hit for the under chassis when he ran wide at Turn 9.

He returned to his Haas garage for his mechanics to check over the car, when he returned to the circuit he ran wide again at Turn 10. He completed the top ten with a time of 1:06.763, to finish ahead of Sahara Force India F1 Team driver Esteban OconStoffel Vandoorne ran as high as eighth but had to settle for twelfth as the other drivers on the grid continued to improve their pace. Behind him was the first Scuderia Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat, who experienced a few problems with the STR12, he reported to his mechanics that he was losing something on the car.

Towards the end of the session, Kvyat came into the pit lane with smoke coming from his car as his brakes were overheating, this filled up the garage as his mechanics went to work. Felipe Massa was disappointed as he finished fourteenth behind Kvyat, he complained to the team of struggling for balance with the FW40. Carlos Sainz Jr run wide at Turn 9, running over the grass and going left at Turn 10, he seemed to be unscathed as he rejoined the circuit but a short time later ended his lap and returned to the garage with a fluid leak, ending his session early.

Sainz finished the session in fifteenth with a time of 1:07.100, splitting the two Williams drivers, as Lance Stroll finished in sixteenth, he also complained to Williams of struggling for balance, just like team-mate Massa. Sergio Perez was behind the wheel of the VJM10 for the first time this weekend, as Alfonso Celis Jr substituted for the Mexican in Free Practice 1. Perez could only finish in seventeenth for Force India, 0.774 seconds behind team-mate Hulkenberg. Jolyon Palmer spent most of his session in the garage with a sensor problem on his RS17.

He managed to get out on track to set a time good enough for sixteenth before returning to the pits with further issues that would end his day early eighteenth. Pascal Wehrlein finished ahead of his team-mate Marcus Ericsson, who continued to have problems with his C36. Ericsson had problems with keeping the car on track as he ran off for the third time of the day as he understeered into the gravel. To the end of the session, the Swede was warned to watch his wheels at Turn 1 and Turn 3, as his tyres were starting to overheat.

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