Austrian GP - Friday - Practice Session 1 Report

Ring Around The Rosberg

Nico Rosberg, Austrian GP 2014

Nico Rosberg, Austrian GP 2014 

 © Active Pictures

 

Nico Rosberg topped the lap times around the Red Bull Ring during Free Practice 1 for the Austrian Grand Prix. His Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton wound up second ahead of Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) and Felipe Massa (Williams.)

Felipe Massa (Williams) was the first driver out on the track as Formula 1 officially returned to the Austrian track –formerly the A1 Ring, now the Red Bull Ring – for the first time since 2003. He completed one lap around the 2.688–mile (4.326-km) 9–turn track and pitted to have his car checked over.

The ambient temperature at the start of the 90-minute session was 13 degrees Fahrenheit (55 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Centigrade.)

Everybody did their install laps, and 6 minutes into the session Nico Rosberg started a flying lap in his Mercedes. He clocked a 1:19.641. Moments later his teammate Lewis Hamilton crossed the line with a time of 1:18.702. On their next tours, Rosberg set a 1:15.162 and Hamilton did a 1:15.700.

9 minutes into the session, Rosberg lowered his time to 1:14.362. Hamilton lowered his time to a 1:13.261 and Rosberg was now second with a 1:13.508. They were the only two drivers to set times in the first dozen minutes until Caterham's Marcus Ericsson joined them with a leisurely lap of 1:25.644.

The drivers were running Pirelli's medium compound tires with the yellow sidewalls.

16 minutes into the session, Hamilton was now on top with a 1:12.255 while Rosberg was now in the pits. Hamilton, who had completed 10 laps, joined him.

18 minutes into the session, Valtteri Bottas (Williams) moved into third with a time of 1:13.718 while Ericsson parked his car on the track at the exit of Turn 1.

Massa, meanwhile, moved into second with a 1:13.219, and he lowered that to a 1:12.500. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) was now in third place with a 1:12.554.

The order changed rapidly as the track ramped up. 30 minutes into the session, the top 10 were: Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari), Nico Hulkenberg (Force India), Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso), Massa, Jenson Button (McLaren), Alonso, Bottas, Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) and Kevin Magnussen (McLaren).

Everybody was in the pits at the end of 30 minutes as they prepared for the next set of runs. Magnussen was the first out as the final 60 minutes commenced.

44 minutes into the session, Magnussen moved into second with a time of 1:12.313.

Midway through FP1 the top six were: Hamilton, Magnussen, Raikkonen, Hulkenberg, Vergne and Massa as Magnussen slid off the track and continued at Turn 1.

With 43 minutes remaining in the session, Button grabbed the top spot with a 1:11.839.

With 40 minutes remaining in the session, Rosberg was back in front with a 1:11.295.

A few drops of rain were now falling at the final turn and elsewhere. Ricciardo radioed in that the track was greasy.

With 34 minutes remaining in the session, the top six were: Rosberg, Button, Hamilton, Magnussen, Raikkonen and Hulkenberg. Nobody improved their times, so the order remained the same at the one hour mark.

With 27 minutes remaining in the session, the rain had disappeared and the drivers were on the move. Massa moved to second with a 1:11.756, and Sergio Perez (Force India) was now up to fifth.

Meanwhile, Sebastian Vettel came out of the final turn, lost control of his Red Bull, did two 360 degree spins, did not hit anything, and continued.

A number of drivers were going off track at Turn 1: Raikkonen, Bottas, Romain Grosjean (Lotus) and Fernando Alonso (Ferrari.)

With 23 minutes remaining in the session, Ricciardo almost lost control of his Red Bull exiting the final turn but managed to hold on and keep going.

With 22 minutes remaining in the session, Hamilton moved into second with a 1:11.435.

With 20 minutes remaining in the session, the top 10 were: Rosberg, Hamilton, Alonso, Massa, Button, Perez, Hulkenberg, Bottas, Magnussen and Raikkonen. It had started to rain again at several turns, and so every driver was now in the pits.

With 14 minutes remaining in the session, the sun was now shining on parts of the track and several drivers headed out on slick tires. But the track was still slick in places, so the drivers were not going to improve their times just yet.

With 10 minutes remaining in the session, Hamilton became the latest to go off at Turn 1. Jules Bianchi (Marussia), Grosjean, Massa and Vergne followed suit.

With 3 minutes to go, all but five drivers were on the track. But, other than Vergne displacing Raikkonen in 10th spot, the top places remained the same.

The top 10 at the end of FP1 were: Rosberg, Hamilton, Alonso, Massa, Button, Perez, Hulkenberg, Bottas, Magnussen and Vergne.


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