Lewis Hamilton leads Austrian Grand Prix practice with record lap

Mercedes Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton set the fastest-ever lap around the Red Bull Ring to top opening practice for the Austrian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton leads Austrian Grand Prix practice with record lap

The three-time F1 world champion used soft tyres, the hardest of the three compounds available this weekend, to clock a 1m05.975s.

That was just over two tenths faster than the circuit's previous fastest lap, which Hamilton set in the second part of qualifying last year.

It also put him three tenths clear of Red Bull's Max Verstappen, who used super-soft tyres to leapfrog Valtteri Bottas late on and deny Mercedes a one-two.

Verstappen had set the session's first benchmark, a 1m08.429s, and that early effort on softs kept him on top until the Mercedes drivers emerged on ultra-softs 25 minutes into the session.

Bottas won that initial civil war on a 1m06.845s, before Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel joined the fight on the half-hour mark.

Vettel recovered from a spin after hitting the inside kerb at Turn 1 to edge Bottas with a 1m06.826s, but moments later Hamilton lapped three tenths quicker than his Baku aggressor on a 1m06.526s.

After a mid-session lull Bottas bolted on super-soft tyres to jump to first on a 1m06.345s, before Hamilton set a series of fast laps on soft tyres.

He claimed top spot from Bottas with a 1m06.329s then improved again to his session-best 1m05.975s.

Verstappen improved twice in the final 10 minutes to jump to third and then second, ahead of Bottas, and had posted the fastest first sector of the session before a spin at the tight Turn 3 at the top of the hill in the final minute.

He had also clipped the wall on the outside of the Turn 6 gravel trap half an hour into the session after a sideways moment, causing light damage to his right-rear wheel.

Bottas suffered a late spin and wound up third fastest, 0.370s slower than Hamilton after failing to improve on his super-soft lap, with Vettel a further tenth back in fourth.

Daniel Ricciardo failed to match Verstappen's pace and was 0.6s behind Hamilton in sixth, just ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, who also spun at Turn 1, and Stoffel Vandoorne, who used ultra-soft tyres to star in his McLaren.

Force India reserve driver Alfonso Celis Jr substituted for Sergio Perez to take part in his first practice session of the season.

Celis was 1.7s slower than team-mate Esteban Ocon and wound up 18th fastest, ahead of the two Saubers.

Sergey Sirotkin also replaced a 2017 regular, driving Nico Hulkenberg's Renault for his third appearance of the year.

The Russian reserve was 17th quickest, 0.9s slower than Jolyon Palmer in the sister RS17.

PRACTICE ONE TIMES:

Pos Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m05.975s - 38
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 1m06.165s 0.190s 23
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m06.345s 0.370s 35
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m06.424s 0.449s 28
5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m06.620s 0.645s 32
6 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m06.848s 0.873s 24
7 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren/Honda 1m07.283s 1.308s 31
8 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Renault 1m07.437s 1.462s 31
9 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1m07.510s 1.535s 28
10 Esteban Ocon Force India/Mercedes 1m07.511s 1.536s 39
11 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1m07.550s 1.575s 29
12 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1m07.594s 1.619s 30
13 Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso/Renault 1m07.633s 1.658s 32
14 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1m07.649s 1.674s 31
15 Lance Stroll Williams/Mercedes 1m08.041s 2.066s 35
16 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m08.074s 2.099s 20
17 Sergey Sirotkin Renault 1m08.586s 2.611s 27
18 Alfonso Celis Force India/Mercedes 1m09.280s 3.305s 15
19 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber/Ferrari 1m09.323s 3.348s 29
20 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m10.853s 4.878s 12


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