Austrian GP: Rosberg leads FP1 as Vettel, Alonso hit trouble

Nico Rosberg led a Mercedes one-two in opening practice for the Austrian Grand Prix, as both Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso hit problems.

Rosberg set a best lap of 1:10.401 to outpace Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton by three tenths of a second.

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen finished in third over half a second behind, as teammate Vettel managed just four laps before stopping on track with a problem.

Valtteri Bottas was fourth fastest for Williams, with Felipe Nasr completing the top five in the Sauber.

The first car not powered by a Mercedes or Ferrari engine was Daniil Kvyat in sixth, ahead of Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo.

Alonso's weekend started on the back foot as he was seen coasting back into the pits with an apparent problem following his installation lap.

The McLaren driver, also facing a penalty for using his fifth engine of the season, did not return to the track until there were 17 minutes left on the clock.

Alonso then covered just 10 laps before returning to the pits and calling it a day before the session had finished.

Last year's pole-setter Felipe Massa, ninth in the session, set the early pace for Williams under a cloudy sky, with teammate Bottas relegating him to second nearly 20 minutes into the session with a lap of 1:14.160.

Williams' domination did not last long, however, as Rosberg went nearly 1.5 seconds quicker than Bottas just a minute later. Hamilton also set a fast lap to move into P2, two tenths behind his teammate.

Rosberg lost first place momentarily to Raikkonen, to quickly regained the top spot with another flyer, setting a new benchmark of 1:11.389.

Seconds later, Vettel's running came to a sudden stop when he was forced to park his Ferrari after reporting to have lost drive.

The German had failed to set a time up to that point, and although his car was recovered and taken back to the pits, he was unable to return to the track.

After several minutes of quietness, Hamilton improved his time but not position with some 38 minutes left on the clock, although the Briton's run included two offs at Turn 1 and Turn 8.

Pos.  Driver  Team  Time   Gap  Laps 
Nico Rosberg  Mercedes 1:10.401   36
Lewis Hamilton  Mercedes 1:10.709 0.308 28
Kimi Raikkonen  Ferrari 1:11.028 0.627 22
Valtteri Bottas  Williams 1:11.452 1.051 26
Felipe Nasr  Sauber 1:11.633 1.232 28
Daniil Kvyat  Red Bull 1:11.642 1.241 31
Daniel Ricciardo  Red Bull 1:11.724 1.323 29
Max Verstappen  Toro Rosso 1:11.825 1.424 38
Felipe Massa  Williams 1:11.890 1.489 29
10  Sergio Perez  Force India 1:11.905 1.504 37
11  Carlos Sainz  Toro Rosso 1:11.948 1.547 32
12  Pastor Maldonado  Lotus 1:12.004 1.603 34
13  Nico Hulkenberg  Force India 1:12.031 1.630 36
14  Jolyon Palmer  Lotus 1:12.050 1.649 27
15  Marcus Ericsson  Sauber 1:12.159 1.758 30
16  Jenson Button  McLaren 1:12.920 2.519 30
17  Fernando Alonso  McLaren 1:13.272 2.871 10
18  Will Stevens  Marussia 1:13.937 3.536 29
19  Roberto Merhi  Marussia 1:15.459 5.058 11
20  Sebastian Vettel  Ferrari 1:15.684 5.283 4

 

 

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Event Austrian GP
Sub-event Friday practice 1
Track Red Bull Ring
Article type Practice report