Fernando Alonso was able to exploit the Supersofts to set the third fastest time, Kimi Raikkonen didn’t get the best out of them, hence his eleventh place.
Spielberg – The old circuits have their history and some of the newest tracks are proving popular, but Formula 1’s return to Austria has shown off the skills of a great track builder known as Mother Nature. The spectators – and there were plenty of them today – get a truly panoramic view of the Red Bull Ring from the main grandstand or from the hillside at the back of the circuit. Today, the fans witnessed Formula 1 cars in action here for the first time since May 2003 and Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen, two of only four drivers to have raced here in F1 on that weekend eleven years ago, posted the third and eleventh fastest times of the day.
For the drivers in the F14 Ts it was the usual Friday programme, splitting work between evaluating updates and seeing what the tyres, in this case the Soft and Supersofts were doing. Light rain in the morning didn’t help, but the weather is the same for everyone. As the weather hots up tomorrow, front tyre graining will probably become a factor to consider when planning race strategy, but before then, the softer of the two compounds will definitely bring the time advantage over a single lap in tomorrow afternooon’s qualifying session. While Fernando was able to exploit the Supersofts to set the third fastest time, Kimi didn’t get the best out of them, hence his eleventh place.
No surprises at the front of the field, with Mercedes still the dominant force. Lewis Hamilton was fastest ahead of Nico Rosberg and these two were the only drivers to break the 1minute 10 second barrier. Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa slotted into fourth and fifth places for Williams, with reigning World Champion Sebastian Vettel rounding off the top six for Red Bull.