Sebastian Vettel bounced back from a gearbox problem in the first practice session on Friday in Austria to post the fastest time in FP2, edging out Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg at the top of the timesheets.
Ferrari entered this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix with hopes of challenging the German marque at the head of the field after finishing off the podium for the first time in 2015 at the Canadian Grand Prix.
Vettel managed to make the most of the super-soft tires in FP2, posting a fastest lap of 1:09.600 to edge out Rosberg by just 0.011 seconds for first place.
However, the session was far from perfect for Ferrari as Vettel suffered yet another issue on his car, forcing him to pull out of the final 25 minutes of second practice as a result.
The German driver had lost time in the morning due to a gearbox problem, and although the one-lap pace of the SF15-T car is clearly impressive, Ferrari may struggle come the race due to a lack of practice running with Vettel.
Kimi Raikkonen underpinned Ferrari’s good pace by finishing third in the final classification, just ahead of Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado.
Defending world champion Lewis Hamilton could only finish the session in fifth place, recording a time that was half a second down on both Vettel and Rosberg at the front.
Coming off the back of his victory at Le Mans, Nico Hulkenberg managed to impress in the Force India to finish sixth in FP2, with teammate Sergio Perez ending 10th overall. Romain Grosjean, Max Verstappen and Felipe Nasr finished seventh, eighth and ninth respectively.
With Ferrari now putting up more of a fight to Mercedes at the front, the stage is set for a closely-fought battle for pole position on Saturday. You can watch qualifying live from the Red Bull Ring on NBCSN and Live Extra from 8am ET tomorrow.