Austrian GP: Vettel fastest in FP2, Hamilton struggles

Sebastian Vettel set the pace in second practice for the Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring for Ferrari, lapping 0.011s faster than the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg – as Lewis Hamilton struggled down in fifth.

Hamilton failed to set a representative time on the supersoft tyre, after three big moments on his push laps.

Kimi Raikkonen was third fastest in the second Ferrari, with Pastor Maldonado breaking into the top four in his Lotus.

The story of the session

With rain threatening in the Tyrolean Alps, the majority of teams went out straightaway. Vettel bounced back from his FP1 transmission scare, swapping the top time early on with Ferrari teammate Raikkonen.

Raikkonen set a 1m10.298s on his second flying lap, faster than Rosberg managed in the opening session, but Nico responded with a second-fastest 1m10.368, just 0.07s shy at that point.

Hamilton went second quickest on 1m10.361s, then improved to the top spot with 1m10.137s after 15 minutes, a tenth and a half faster than Raikkonen.

Vettel matched Raikkonen's time to the thousandth of a second to go P3 after 25 minutes, then improved his first sector time by a fraction before aborting the lap.

Raikkonen was the first of the frontrunners to try the supersoft after 30 minutes, setting the pace with a 1m09.860s.

Raikkonen improved his sector-two time on his next push lap, but had a huge moment through the last two corners, which ruined his laptime. He later locked up and wrecked his tyres, which meant he was forced to abort a long run on this set.

Rosberg, who had slipped to fourth, was next to try the softer rubber, going quickest on 1m09.611s.

Hamilton went off at Turn 1 on his first lap on the supersofts, had a big moment in the first downhill left-hander on his next lap and then had a huge opposite-lock slide at the last corner on his final try. He failed to improve his time on any of these laps.

Vettel ultimately grabbed the top spot with 1m09.600s, 0.011s quicker than Rosberg. But Vettel's session was clouded by another gearbox problem, which caused him to cruise back to the pits and abort his final run.

Maldonado went fourth fastest on 1m09.914s, with Le Mans winner Nico Hulkenberg sixth quickest, just 0.023s behind Hamilton, ahead of Romain Grosjean in the second Lotus. 

Dramas for those behind

The Toro Rossos showed strong pace again, despite their Renault power deficit, but the session wasn't without drama: eighth-quickest Max Verstappen complained: "I've got a headache", while Carlos Sainz ploughed through the gravel at Turn 4, just missing the tyrewall. He was 11th.

Felipe Nasr broke into the top 10 in his Ferrari-powered Sauber, lapping ninth quickest ahead of the second Force India of Sergio Perez.

Red Bull was off the pace, with Daniil Kvyat 12th and Daniel Ricciardo down in 17th.

Also slower than expected were Williams duo Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa: 14th and 15th respectively, as they concentrated on high-fuel runs.

Fernando Alonso was 16th as he debuted McLaren's short nose, which apes Williams's and Red Bull's design, while Jenson Button used the old version.

Button reported a "massive loss of power" just after the halfway point, and he took an early bath. Alonso was also forced out before the end of the session with an unspecified problem.

Button was 18th fastest, only six tenths clear of the fastest Manor of Will Stevens.

Plenty of cars overshot Turn 1, including both Toro Rossos, as track temperatures were very low right from the start of the session.

Pos.  Driver   Team  Time   Gap  Laps 
Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:09.600   28
Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:09.611 0.011 50
Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:09.860 0.260 41
Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:09.914 0.314 44
Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:10.137 0.537 49
Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:10.160 0.560 49
Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:10.267 0.667 38
Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 1:10.356 0.756 48
Felipe Nasr Sauber 1:10.495 0.895 39
10  Sergio Perez Force India 1:10.585 0.985 46
11  Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:10.631 1.031 50
12  Daniil Kvyat Red Bull 1:10.686 1.086 48
13  Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:10.744 1.144 40
14  Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:10.746 1.146 34
15  Felipe Massa Williams 1:11.011 1.411 42
16  Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:11.517 1.917 17
17  Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:11.676 2.076 38
18  Jenson Button McLaren 1:11.919 2.319 17
19  Will Stevens Marussia 1:12.522 2.922 34
20  Roberto Merhi Marussia 1:13.094 3.494 34

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Event Austrian GP
Track Red Bull Ring
Drivers Kimi Raikkonen , Lewis Hamilton , Nico Rosberg , Pastor Maldonado , Sebastian Vettel
Teams Ferrari , Mercedes , Lotus F1 Team
Article type Practice report