Nico Rosberg was fastest in the first practice session of this weekend Austrian Grand Prix. The current championship leader was .3 of a second faster than his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton while Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was third.
It was a messy session for both the Mercedes drivers with Hamilton the one who made more of the mistakes. Hamilton had a spin, but the virtual safety car hampered his best lap.
Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen were next, followed by Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo. Max Verstappen session end after he ran wide onto a new kerb which has been introduced to stop drivers abusing track limits but Verstappen told his team over the radio that he believed the yellow kerbs were “really dangerous”.
The incident brought out the virtual safety car, just as Hamilton was on what was looking like being his fastest lap. Other driver had issues too with Romain Grosjean losing control while trying to avoid Hamilton. One of the reasons for the problems maybe because the circuit has been resurfaced since last year’s race.
Ferrari had planned to run there updated halo head protection at the beginning of the session this was abandoned the plan when Vettel’s car hit problems. The problem forced the team to fit a new gearbox and means he will drop five places on the grid.
Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz was sixth ahead of the Williams of Felipe Massa, Verstappen and team-mate Daniil Kyvat with Valtteri Bottas rounding out the top ten.
Saubers Marcus Ericsson has been put under investigation for coming into the pits too fast and crossing the white line forcing Ricciardo to take avoiding action.
Manor’s Pascal Wehrlein is also being investigated for speeding when the Virtual Safety Car was deployed as Verstappen’s car was recovered.