Austrian Grand Prix – Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg & Lewis Hamilton finished at the front of the first practice session in Austria, with Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari falling in behind in P3.
The opening half an hour of practice at the Red Bull Ring produced plenty of drama, as Lewis Hamilton spun early on. Losing control up at Turn 3, Romain Grosjean had to spin his Haas as well to avoid hitting the Merc. Both were able to continue. Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson lost the rear of his car entering the pitlane and had to cross the white line. Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, running alongside, had to take to the escape area to avoid a collision. Ericsson was given a reprimand for his actions.
Nico Rosberg also went off into the gravel, but put in a 1:07.373 on the UltraSoft tyres to finish as quickest man at the end of the ninety minutes. Lewis Hamilton was 0.3 seconds slower with a 1:07.730.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel finished P3, but was annoyed with his team during the session as he came across the slower moving Kimi Raikkonen. He had to use the escape area and questioned Ferrari as to why Raikkonen wasn’t told to let him past. Raikkonen slotted into P4 behind Vettel on the timesheets. All the top four’s times were set on the UltraSoft.
The biggest drama of the session, however, happened to Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. He hit some of the new kerbing at the penultimate corner and sheared off the endplate off his front wing. Shortly after, he hit the new kerbing at the exit of Turn 5 and his suspension failed. His broken car went off into the gravel where he came to a controlled stop in a cloud of dust.
His teammate Daniel Ricciardo finished P5, but his best time of 1:08.528 was set on the SuperSoft. Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz was P6 on the UltraSoft.
Williams’ Felipe Massa finished P7 on the SuperSoft, with Max Verstappen finishing P8 despite his problems. Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat finished P9 with Valtteri Bottas rounding out the top ten for Williams.