Hamilton on top as Vettel splits Mercedes in F1 Austrian GP FP1

Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time in opening practice for the Formula 1 Austrian Grand Prix as Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel split the two Mercedes

Hamilton on top as Vettel splits Mercedes in F1 Austrian GP FP1

Championship leader Hamilton took control of the session at the end of his running on a second set of soft tyres.

His 1m04.838s eclipsed Vettel's best by 0.144 seconds after the Ferrari lapped out of sync compared to the rest of the frontrunners.

Valtteri Bottas was just 0.017s behind Vettel in the second Mercedes, while Charles Leclerc completed the top four as Ferrari ran through development items to establish why some upgrades introduced last weekend in France did not work as expected.

None of those four drivers made the early top positions at the Red Bull Ring, as Max Verstappen kicked off his team's home race by setting the initial pace on medium tyres.

He traded times with Hamilton before Leclerc moved to the top of the pile on a fresh set of medium tyres.

Leclerc's 1m05.409s was a tenth quicker than Verstappen managed, before Bottas put Mercedes ahead with a 1m05.299s on softs.

He improved to a 1m04.999s after that but failed to make further progress thereafter following a couple of lock-ups and complaints about his braking.

Bottas had already had a delayed start to the session after Mercedes discovered an oil leak an hour before FP1 began.

That meant he completed opening practice with an old-spec engine.

As he failed to improve, Hamilton nipped ahead after a series of laps that threatened a new fastest time but never quite delivered.

Vettel then joined in on a new set of medium tyres with around 20 minutes to go and leapt to second.

Verstappen slipped to fifth, four tenths off the pace. He looked capable of setting a faster time after posting the best middle sector of anyone, but did not improve his best.

Red Bull team-mate Pierre Gasly was just over a tenth slower than Verstappen as he kicked off his weekend in encouraging fashion.

Carlos Sainz Jr won the best-of-the-rest battle with a new upgraded Renault engine in his McLaren.

The Spaniard was only a tenth slower than Gasly and four tenths clear of the works Renault of Daniel Ricciardo.

Kevin Magnussen's Haas and the second McLaren of Lando Norris completed the top 10. With just over three minutes remaining, the session was red-flagged.

Nico Hulkenberg ran wide exiting the penultimate corner and broke his front wing on the yellow sausage kerbs that line the run-off area.

He rejoined via the grass at the final corner and broke more of his car, peppering the circuit with chunks of debris.

FP1 results

Pos Driver Car Gap Laps
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m04.838s 34
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 0.144s 23
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 0.161s 37
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 0.303s 26
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda 0.422s 30
6 Pierre Gasly Red Bull/Honda 0.540s 30
7 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren/Renault 0.664s 34
8 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1.008s 27
9 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1.038s 27
10 Lando Norris McLaren/Renault 1.287s 27
11 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1.297s 20
12 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Honda 1.434s 29
13 Alexander Albon Toro Rosso/Honda 1.447s 32
14 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1.545s 30
15 Sergio Perez Racing Point/Mercedes 1.619s 36
16 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1.870s 30
17 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1.891s 23
18 Lance Stroll Racing Point/Mercedes 1.918s 29
19 George Russell Williams/Mercedes 1.967s 28
20 Robert Kubica Williams/Mercedes 2.827s 28

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