Hamilton edges Verstappen in opening Austria F1 practice

Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton made strong start to the Austrian Grand Prix weekend by topping the opening Formula 1 practice session at the Red Bull Ring for Mercedes, edging out Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

Hamilton bounced back from his disappointing fifth-place finish in Baku two weeks ago by charging to the head of the field in FP1, turning in a fastest lap time of 1:05.975 to finish almost two-tenths clear of the pack.

Mercedes had been due to score a one-two finish in FP1 as Valtteri Bottas sat second heading into the final minutes, only for Verstappen to improve late on and rise to second place, 0.190 seconds off Hamilton’s time.

Verstappen looked poised to improve his time on his final lap of the session before a spin at Turn 3, leaving him to settle for P2 ahead of Bottas, who also turned his car around earlier in the session.

Sebastian Vettel took fourth place for Ferrari – also having survived an early spin – while Baku race winner Daniel Ricciardo wound up fifth in the second Red Bull, six-tenths of a second behind Hamilton at the top, just ahead of Kimi Raikkonen.

Honda’s ‘Spec 3’ power unit gave McLaren an immediate boost in FP1 as both Stoffel Vandoorne and Fernando Alonso finished in the top 10, taking P7 and P9 respectively. Daniil Kvyat split the pair in P8 for Toro Rosso, while Force India’s Esteban Ocon completed the top 10.

Practice in Austria continues with FP2 live on the NBC Sports app at 8am ET on Friday.