Formula 1 News

Rosberg fastest in first Austria practice

Mercedes started the weekend strong again with Hamilton second in the time sheets. Alonso third best clock.
Friday, June 20, 2014

SPIELBERG BEI KNITTELFELD, Austria, June 20, 2014 (AFP) - Current Formula One leader Nico Rosberg showed he remained the man to beat by setting the fastest lap in Friday's first free practice session ahead of Sunday's Austrian Grand Prix.

Rosberg lapped the 4.3-kilometre Red Bull Ring track in 1min 11.295sec, 0.140sec faster than Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton and 0.311sec ahead of two-time champion Fernando Alonso.

Hamilton initially set the pace but Rosberg quickly showed he was at ease on the historic Spielberg track, coming off after just 19 laps, while the Briton completed 32.

Although racing at home, Red Bull's four-time champion Sebastian Vettel and Canadian Grand Prix winner Daniel Ricciardo struggled on the course, under an overcast sky and amid light rainy conditions.

Ricciardo set the 13th fastest lap, 1.275sec behind Rosberg, while Vettel had to settle for 15th at 1.693.

Friday's free practice was the drivers' first real opportunity to get to know the track and gather information ahead of Sunday's race.

The last time Spielberg hosted a Formula One event was in 2003.

But drivers have insisted this initial lack of knowledge will hardly matter once the first free practice is done and dusted.

The tricky last turn leading into the final straight proved especially challenging, with Vettel briefly spinning off after going wide in the corner, while Ricciardo also bit into the side of the track.

But the first practice was probably most disappointing for Caterham's Marcus Ericsson and Adrian Sutil of Sauber, whose session ended prematurely as their cars encountered technical problems.

"It's like the car just kind of switched itself off coming out of turn one," Caterham quoted Ericsson in a tweet, after the driver saw his car lifted off the track having completed just eight laps.

Sutil got one more lap in but "due to a broken hose, the turbo in Adrian Sutil's car does not work properly. He cannot get out again", Sauber said.

Mercedes is looking to prove it has put its power problems from Montreal behind it and to keep a resurgent Red Bull at bay.

A second practice session was planned for 2:00pm (1200GMT).

The provisional times for FP1:

Pos No Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:11.295 19
2 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:11.435 0.140 32
3 14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:11.606 0.311 23
4 19 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1:11.756 0.461 27
5 22 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:11.839 0.544 33
6 11 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1:12.009 0.714 33
7 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1:12.072 0.777 20
8 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1:12.114 0.819 21
9 20 Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1:12.313 1.018 36
10 25 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Renault 1:12.364 1.069 30
11 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:12.365 1.070 21
12 26 Daniil Kvyat STR-Renault 1:12.372 1.077 35
13 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:12.570 1.275 28
14 21 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1:12.984 1.689 29
15 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:12.988 1.693 25
16 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:13.168 1.873 28
17 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1:13.642 2.347 27
18 17 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1:13.738 2.443 26
19 4 Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1:13.857 2.562 28
20 10 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1:14.611 3.316 24
21 99 Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1:14.691 3.396 9
22 9 Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1:17.501 6.206 8

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