Lewis Hamilton would’ve ended the opening day of the Styrian Grand Prix as the man on top, had it not been for track limits resulting in his lap time being deleted! Nevertheless the world champion ended the opening day in fourth place.
It was a good opening day for Lewis Hamilton’s side of the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team garage, the British driver looked strong throughout the opening sessions of the weekend as he sets his sights on closing the gap to championship leader Max Verstappen.
Hamilton would’ve ended the day in first had he not exceeded track limits, instead he ends Friday almost +0.4s behind Verstappen. Hamilton is overall very happy with the progress made already at the Red Bull Ring, a circuit which he took one of the best pole’s of his career at last year in the pouring rain.
With rain increasingly expected across Saturday and Sunday, could Hamilton become the rain-master once again?
“Overall, a work in progress – it’s been a beautiful day, a few drops of rain at the start of the second session but the track is awesome. We’re a little bit down, particularly over a single lap, but generally the car felt relatively solid.
“I’m happy with where we’ve got the car to, I’ve been working hard all week trying to figure out where I want the car and I hope the hard work starts paying off soon. Red Bull are throwing some good punches at the moment so we’ve just got to have our guard up and make sure we’re ready for the return.”
“The lap time on the board was nothing amazing” – Valtteri Bottas
For Valtteri Bottas it was perhaps one of the strangest opening days of a Formula 1 weekend he has had so far in his career. The Finnish driver has received a three-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race, for spinning in the pit-lane. A bizarre scene never really seen before!
The day actually started very well for Bottas, he ended the opening session in fourth place which appears to be a better judgement of where his pace puts him, compared to his Free Practice Two position.
Bottas ended the day in twelfth place overall, however he did get caught up in traffic during his faster runs, hampering his best lap time. After the mishap in France, Bottas focused primarily on long runs on Friday, in preparation for the race.
Bottas’s race has already become more difficult however, after the Finnish driver span in the pit-lane just outside the Mclaren F1 Team garage after being released by his own team. It’s an incident that unfortunately for Bottas might be replayed once or twice. Thankfully no one was harmed in what could have been a very nasty incident.
“FP1 felt overall a bit better but in FP2, we had just one run with lower fuel and that was a little messy so the lap time on the board was nothing amazing. But the focus for today was on the long runs, trying to find the long run performance – we prioritised that well today and hopefully that will pay off on Sunday. Lewis and I were running quite different set-ups so we have lots to analyse tonight to find the best bits to take into qualifying and the race.”