The Mercedes of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton led the way in Friday morning’s opening practice for the Formula 1 Grosser Preis von Osterreich 2015, as Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and McLaren’s Fernando Alonso lost much of the session to technical problems. Mercedes’ nearest rival was the third-placed Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen, who finished 0.6s off Rosberg’s benchmark.
Williams’ Valtteri Bottas was fourth, followed by Sauber’s Felipe Nasr, the Red Bulls of Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo, and Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen.
Cool conditions and a rather green track surface combined to make for plenty of off-track moments as the drivers got to grips with the challenging, 4.326-kilometre Spielberg circuit. Rosberg and Hamilton were among those to make mistakes – the Briton at Turn 8 after setting two personal best sector times, and again at Turn 1, where Rosberg later went off.
It was Rosberg who had the upper hand though, edging Hamilton by three tenths over a single lap and also on race pace when the field switched to longer runs in the final part of the session.
Vettel and Alonso, in contrast, were in trouble almost immediately. Alonso had completed just one lap when he lost power at Turn 8 and had to coast back to the pits, where his car remained until the final 15 minutes. McLaren did at least manage to cure some of Alonso’s woes, though he still only completed 10 laps.
Vettel meanwhile lost drive just over 20 minutes into the 90-minute session and despite frantic work from his Ferrari mechanics was unable to add to his tally of four laps.
|Austrian Grand Prix First Practice Results|
|Pos.||Car #||Driver||Best Time||Behind||Gap||Laps|
|11||55||Carlos Sainz Jr||1:11.948||-1.547||-0.043||32|