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Hamilton Takes Command on Friday for Austrian GP Free Practice

Lewis Hamilton took charge of Friday Free Practice for the Austrian Grand Prix after finishing both Free Practice 1 and Free Practice 2 on top of the time sheets.

Free Practice 1

Free Practice got underway under glorious sunshine. With the track still green drivers were slow to get out of their garages but eventually we got some track action.

Hamilton put his Mercedes in the top spot finishing the session with a best time of 1:05.975 with the soft tyre which is the hardest compound available to the drivers this weekend.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was not too far off Hamilton’s time finishing the session 2nd fastest with a best time of 1:06.165 which was just 0.190s off. Valtteri Bottas in the second Mercedes finished 3rd fastest.

Sebastian Vettel finished 4th fastest for Ferrari with Daniel Ricciardo 5th.

It was not a session without some drama. The green track meant that the drivers did not have to do too much to get out of shape under braking unto T1. Carlos Sainz, Vettel, Raikkonen and Bottas had spins at Turn 1. Elsewhere on track, Verstappen was spat out of Turn 7, and across the gravel trap. He saved his slide just before the barrier but not before clouting the rear right on the tyre wall. He spent some time in the pits while the Red Bull mechanics examined his car for any damage.

 

Free Practice 2

After a little rain shower, Free Practice 2 was underway a little while later. The little bit of rain did not do much to wash out the rubber laid down during Free Practice 1 but the track once again proved to be very tricky.

There were offs from McLaren’s Fernando Alonso who spun at Turn 6 after spending some time in the garage because of floor damage. Carlos Sainz spun a few times and went off at Turns 9 and 10. Daniil Kvyat, who ended his session early due to a brake problem, also ran a bit too hot into Turn 9 and had to take to the run off area.

The best time of the session was once again set by Lewis Hamilton on the ultra softs. His time of 1:05.483 was just under half a second faster than his FP1 time on the soft compound tyres.

Ferrari looked much closer in FP2 with Sebastian Vettel 0.147s off the pace in 2nd with Valtteri Bottas 3rd fastest for the session.

The two Red Bulls of Verstappen and Ricciardo were 4th and 5th fastest respectively with Raikkonen in the second Ferrari in 6th.

Finishing 7th fastest was Kevin Magnussen in the Haas with Alonso 8th fastest.

Rounding out the top 10 were Nico Hulkenberg in the Renault in 9th and Romain Grojean 10th fastest for the session.

The long run pace was very close between Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull. The low degradation characteristics of the circuit should make a one stop race the more likely strategy call.

The battle will have to be won on track and with Hamilton being handed a 5-place grid penalty for a gearbox change Vettel will feel that he, ever so slightly, has the upper hand.

 

About Ritesh K Bhana

Ritesh likes to think he is a true Tifosi, but he still remains fair to other teams. He supports two other teams which are not Red Bull and McLaren. Follow Ritesh on twitter @Humanshield_1

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2017 Belgian GP Broadcast Times

CDTBSTGMT+2Local
Free Practice 1Friday 03:00Friday 09:00Friday 10:00Friday 10:00
Free Practice 2Friday 08:00Friday 13:00Friday 14:00Friday 14:00
Free Practice 3Saturday 04:00Saturday 10:00Saturday 11:00Saturday 11:00
QualifyingSaturday 08:00Saturday 13:00Saturday 14:00Saturday 14:00
RaceSunday 08:00Sunday 13:00Sunday 14:00Sunday 14:00

2017 Drivers Championship

Pos.DriverPoints
1 Sebastian Vettel202
2 Lewis Hamilton188
3 Valtteri Bottas169
4 Daniel Ricciardo117
5 Kimi Raikkonen116
> Full Championship Table

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