F1 Austrian GP: Mercedes' Rosberg fastest as rain interrupts FP2

Nico Rosberg edged out Mercedes team-mate and Formula 1 title rival Lewis Hamilton to lead a storm-hit, second Austrian Grand Prix practice session

F1 Austrian GP: Mercedes' Rosberg fastest as rain interrupts FP2

The championship leader finished six tenths off his Friday morning benchmark, with Hamilton 0.019 seconds behind, although on a dry track at the end of the session Rosberg set faster times in sectors one and two on the ultra-soft tyres before aborting the lap.

Hamilton had one scare late on when he was on a flying lap, only to brake hard as he came upon a heavily slowing Esteban Gutierrez in his Haas.

Just eight minutes into the session, and with Rosberg leading the way with a lap of 1m07.967s that remained unbeaten, a heavy rainstorm swept in from the eastern side of the circuit.

Over the first few minutes Turns 8 and 9 became drenched, while the rest of the track from Turns 1 to 7 remained dry, the conditions naturally catching out many in the final sector as they attempted to return to the pits.

The driving rain was accompanied by strong winds for around 10 minutes as it eventually made its way across the remainder of the circuit.

Once it finally passed after almost half an hour, it left teams and drivers playing a waiting game for the track to start to dry.

Daniel Ricciardo was the first to test the conditions on intermediate tyres just past the halfway point of the session, and over the next 10 minutes was followed by almost the entire field.

With just under 20 minutes remaining and with the majority of the track then dry, Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel was the first out on slicks, turning to the ultra-softs, while team-mate Kimi Raikkonen followed him out on super-softs.

Vettel, who will receive a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change, eventually finished fourth quickest behind Force India's Nico Hulkenberg, but ending the session by sliding off the track and into the gravel at Turn 2.

Raikkonen had earlier gone off track at Turn 5 after just five minutes, firing across the gravel and into a spin from which he just avoided hitting a barrier, before taking an infield escape road to return to the circuit.

The Finn finished eighth overall, just under nine tenths of a second adrift of Rosberg, with Red Bull duo Ricciardo and Max Verstappen sandwiching the Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz between the Ferraris.

Williams's Valtteri Bottas and McLaren duo Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso occupied the next three places, with the latter far from impressed with his running on intermediates when the track was wet.

Told by his team "You can stay out if you want, but if you're not learning anything you can box", Alonso replied: "I have not been learning anything for the last half an hour."

PRACTICE TWO TIMES:

Pos Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m07.967s - 25
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m07.986s 0.019s 19
3 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1m08.580s 0.613s 28
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m08.589s 0.622s 25
5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m08.649s 0.682s 30
6 Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso/Ferrari 1m08.713s 0.746s 32
7 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 1m08.761s 0.794s 20
8 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m08.820s 0.853s 23
9 Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 1m08.941s 0.974s 24
10 Jenson Button McLaren/Honda 1m08.994s 1.027s 30
11 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1m09.075s 1.108s 26
12 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1m09.184s 1.217s 17
13 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Ferrari 1m09.207s 1.240s 26
14 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m09.226s 1.259s 32
15 Kevin Magnussen Renault 1m09.525s 1.558s 19
16 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1m10.020s 2.053s 23
17 Pascal Wehrlein Manor/Mercedes 1m10.034s 2.067s 20
18 Esteban Gutierrez Haas/Ferrari 1m10.138s 2.171s 16
19 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m10.140s 2.173s 19
20 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m10.400s 2.433s 31
21 Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari 1m10.444s 2.477s 22
22 Rio Haryanto Manor/Mercedes 1m11.328s 3.361s 25


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