December 7, 2016 Switch to Italian Version

Formula One: Rosberg and Vettel fastest in Austrian Practice, Ferrari show great pace

Home / Formula1 / Formula One: Rosberg and Vettel fastest in Austrian Practice, Ferrari show great pace

Maurizio Arrivabene and Felipe MassaNico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel have finished as the fastest drivers in the two Friday Practice sessions for the Austrian Grand Prix.

Vettel suffered gearbox problems in the first session but bounced back to show possible pole position pace in practice 2; despite team principal Maurizio Arrivabene almost being run over by Felipe Massa in the Williams.

Last year’s Austrian Grand Prix winner Nico Rosberg picked up where he left off at the Red Bull Ring by topping the first practice session ahead of team-mate Lewis Hamilton. The pair were separated by 3 tenths at the end of the session, with Rosberg setting a 1’10.401. Lewis Hamilton seemed to be frustrated at the end of the session after a number of lock-ups and in car setup changes. His irritable response at a cockpit change showed this, “How many changes do you guys want me to do, can I just focus on driving?”

Kimi Raikkonen took 3rd in the session and thanks to either an increase of pace or the short lap length of just 2.6 miles, he was just 6 tenths down on Rosberg in P1. Team-mate Vettel was no where to be seen however. The German suffered a gearbox issue after losing power in 4th gear on only his 4th lap. He would end the session in stone-dead last. Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene suffered a scary moment during the session after not looking when he crossed the pit-lane from the pit-wall to the garage. Williams had just released Felipe Massa from his pit-box when the Brazilian came across a startled Arrivabene. Thankfully Massa was paying attention and managed to stop, with the pair laughing off the incident after the session.

One Williams had gained the respect of the Ferrari team principal as the other went about setting the 4th fastest time in the session. Valtteri Bottas was the first driver to be over a second slower than Hamilton at the track where he and his team-mate locked out the front-row. Bottas was followed by Sauber’s Felipe Nasr, who put in a good lap to put his car in 5th; the position he finished in at the season-opener in Australia.

Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo put their Red Bull’s 6th and 7th in practice 1 at their team’s home and own circuit. It’s looking as though the race will be difficult for the home heroes thanks to a 10 place grid penalty for Ricciardo after the team have been forced to go over their quota of Renault engines for the season. Kvyat currently doesn’t have a penalty, but that may change.

Max Verstappen followed the Red Bull senior drivers for Toro Rosso and also picked up the highest amount of laps in the session after completing 38; over half of the 71 scheduled laps for the Grand Prix on Sunday. Felipe Massa, advocate of the green cross code, and Sergio Perez completed the top 10; with Rosberg in P1 and Perez in P10 separated by 1.5 seconds.

McLaren-Honda were already on the back-foot before they even turned a wheel in practice. Penalties look set to strike both drivers thanks to engine changes; with a stonking 20 place penalty set for Alonso. However it only got worse for Fernando who quickly coasted back down the pit-lane with a problem at the start of the session before switching off the car. He did manage to get back out on track, with a revised nose adorning his MP4-30, but he would only complete 10 laps to go 17th fastest; only ahead of the two Manor drivers and Sebastian Vettel.

Austria Practice 1 time-sheets:

POS

Driver

Team

Time

Laps

1

Nico Rosberg

Mercedes

1’10.401

36

2

Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes

1’10.709

28

3

Kimi Raikkonen

Ferrari

1’11.028

22

4

Valtteri Bottas

Williams

1’11.452

26

5

Felipe Nasr

Sauber

1’11.633

28

6

Daniil Kvyat

Red Bull

1’11.642

31

7

Daniel Ricciardo

Red Bull

1’11.724

29

8

Max Verstappen

Toro Rosso

1’11.825

38

9

Felipe Massa

Williams

1’11.890

29

10

Sergio Perez

Force India

1’11.905

37

11

Carlos Sainz

Toro Rosso

1’11.948

32

12

Pastor Maldonado

Lotus

1’12.004

34

13

Nico Hulkenberg

Force India

1’12.031

36

14

Jolyon Palmer

Lotus

1’12.050

27

15

Marcus Ericsson

Sauber

1’12.159

30

16

Jenson Button

McLaren

1’12.920

30

17

Fernando Alonso

McLaren

1’13.272

10

18

Will Stevens

Manor

1’13.937

29

19

Roberto Merhi

Manor

1’15.459

11

20

Sebastian Vettel

Ferrari

1’15.684

4

Rain was feared to hit the Red Bull Ring in practice, but thankfully the circuit was only met with a mere few drops which allowed for the teams to complete substantial running in the second 90 minute session.

Sebastian Vettel had the best bounce back from his first practice gearbox issues that he could have hoped for after going from last to 1st. The German put in a scintillating lap-time of 1’09.600 on the super-soft tyres to pip Nico Rosberg by just 1 hundredth of a second. Vettel’s gearbox came back to haunt him near the end of the session as the team called him in as a precaution. The second Ferrari of Raikkonen was also right at the sharp end in 3rd place; 2 tenths off of his team-mate. This pace could mean that Ferrari are in with a shout of denying Mercedes pole position in Austria; just as Williams did a year ago. This is presupposing that Vettel doesn’t get a 5 place grid penalty if he changes his gearbox.

Lotus had their best performance of the season so far last time out in Canada with a double points finish. They continued to look quick in Austria, with Pastor Maldonado right up near the front in 4th place; 3 tenths down on Vettel. He managed to place ahead of Lewis Hamilton, who couldn’t put a good lap together on the Super-Softs, meaning that his best time of 1’10.137 was set on the slower compound. He later maintained that he was happy with the car and that he had been on a lap 4 tenths quicker than his team-mate before making a mistake.

Whilst the rest of the field used last week’s break from Formula One to relax and prepare for Austria, Nico Hulkenberg was winning the Le Mans 24 Hours on his first attempt with Porsche. Hulkenberg hadn’t stood on the top step of the podium since winning the GP2 championship back in 2009, but he was soon back in the cock-pit of the mid-field Force India. The German finished FP2 in 6th place; half a second down on Vettel and ahead of fellow former GP2 champion Romain Grosjean for Lotus who hadn’t taken part in FP1 after reigning GP2 champion Jolyon Palmer took to the track.

Max Verstappen finished the session in 7th, but he had struggled with a headache and possible dehydration during the session. Nevertheless he completed 48 laps of the circuit meaning that today he has complected 86 laps; 15 more than the race distance on Sunday. He finished just ahead of Felipe Nasr and Sergio Perez; who once again propped up the top 10. This time, Vettel in 1st and Perez in 10th were separated by 9 tenths.

McLaren continued to be plagued by mechanical issues, with McLaren pitting both drivers to save their Honda engines from damage. They were joined by Daniel Ricciardo who was also hit by problems and a 10 place grid penalty for an engine change.

Austria Practice 2 time-sheets:

POS

Driver

Team

Time

Laps

1

Sebastian Vettel

Ferrari

1’09.600

28

2

Nico Rosberg

Mercedes

1’09.611

50

3

Kimi Raikkonen

Ferrari

1’09.860

41

4

Pastor Maldonado

Lotus

1’09.914

44

5

Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes

1’10.137

49

6

Nico Hulkenberg

Force India

1’10.160

38

7

Romain Grosjean

Lotus

1’10.267

48

8

Max Verstappen

Toro Rosso

1’10.356

39

9

Felipe Nasr

Sauber

1’10.495

46

10

Sergio Perez

Force India

1’10.585

50

11

Carlos Sainz

Toro Rosso

1’10.631

48

12

Daniil Kvyat

Red Bull

1’10.686

40

13

Marcus Ericsson

Sauber

1’10.744

34

14

Valtteri Bottas

Williams

1’10.746

42

15

Felipe Massa

Williams

1’11.011

38

16

Fernando Alonso

McLaren

1’11.517

17

17

Daniel Ricciardo

Red Bull

1’11.676

38

18

Jenson Button

McLaren

1’11.919

17

19

Will Stevens

Manor

1’12.522

34

20

Roberto Merhi

Manor

1’13.094

34

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Jordan Groves
Jordan Groves
18 years old, UK. Formula One & Formula E Correspondent for RTR Sports. Fan of Formula One, Formula E, NASCAR, IndyCar, BTCC and many more! Follow me on Twitter: @jgroves1996

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