Nico Rosberg tops Friday running at the Austrian Grand Prix.
Rain lashed down upon the Red Bull Ring as Nico Rosberg ended the day as the fastest man in Austria. Hamilton edged his name close to that of his team-mate as the end of the session approached, but a slowing Haas left Hamilton locking up.
When the second free practice session for the Austrian Grand Prix engaged, the track was littered with a flurry of Formula One cars as teams rushed to start the action. All the while aware a heavy downpour was looming.
When the rain began to fall over the final sector, the first sector remained dry. But with rivers appearing down the pit straight, the track fell quiet as teams rushed back to the pits.
Already, however, Rosberg had gone fastest overall. As the morning pace setter opened the session, lapping immediately in the 1:07s.
Hamilton, on the other hand, did not enter the 1:07s until the later stages. As ultrasoft tyres aided Lewis’ pursuit – ending the lap 19-hundrethds behind his team-mate.
Hamilton’s lap came on the back of a slight lock-up mid lap, as the Mercedes caught the slowing Haas of Gutierrez. His engineer had told Esteban that Lewis was approaching and requested the Mexican slowed down. This however caught Lewis unaware as he locked up following the Haas.
Shortly after Hamilton posted the second fastest lap of the session, Vettel was spinning at the second corner. The Ferrari driver lost control of his car under braking, with his Prancing Horse snapping violently round on him. With Vettel coming to a rest facing in the wrong direction, beached in the gravel.
Following the lengthy rain stoppage, the first drivers to risk slick tyres were Red Bull’s Ricciardo and Verstappen. With the two also among the first to venture out in the wet conditions with intermediate tyres fitted.
While Ricciardo controlled his Bull with relative ease in the mixed conditions, Verstappen found himself spinning at the final corner.
As for Fernando Alonso, the McLaren driver was finding the running useless. Claiming “I’m not learning anything for the last half hour” when informed by the team he could pit if he wished.
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