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Austrian GP 2018

JUNE 29, 2018

Practice 2 Report - Carry that through

Lewis Hamilton, Austrian GP 2018
© Martin Trenkler

By Dan Knutson in Spielberg

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton carried his speed from Free Practice 1 through into Free Practice 2 as he again clocked the fastest time in his upgraded Mercedes. His teammate Valtteri Bottas once again went second quickest.

"It is pretty tight at the front as there is not much difference between the cars," Mercedes boss Toto Wolff told Sky TV, "but it was a good start for us. Having had an engine upgrade in France we had a major chassis upgrade here and everything seems to be working so far. The car looks pretty good and you can see that from the onboards that there is great stability in the car and it is easier to drive. Now we have to carry that through the weekend."

The line-up for the weekend was: Mercedes - Hamilton and Bottas; Ferrari - Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen; Red Bull TAG Heuer - Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen; Force India Mercedes - Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon; Williams Mercedes -Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin; Renault - Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz; Toro Rosso Honda - Brendon Hartley and Pierre Gasly; Haas Ferrari - Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen; McLaren Renault - Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne; Sauber Ferrari - Marcus Ericsson and Charles Leclerc.

Hamilton had been quickest in FP1, turning a 1:04.839 on Pirelli's ultra soft compound slicks. The other two compounds available were the soft and super soft.

Grosjean and Sirotkin were the first out in FP2.

The ambient temperature at the start of the 90-minute session was 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 81 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Centigrade). There was a 60 percent chance of rain.

Raikkonen used the super softs to set the bar at 1:05.711 followed by an 1:05.466 early in FP2. Ten minutes into the session Vettel, on the softs, beat that with a 1:05.273 and then a 1:04.949. The Mercedes drivers had yet to emerge.

Meanwhile, Ericsson ran wide in Turn 4 and went around the outside of the gravel trap to get back on track.

Hamilton and Bottas took to the track 15 minutes into the session. Hamilton used the softs to go second with a 1:05.035. Then he took the lead after clocking a 1:04.579. Bottas, on the super softs, took second place with a 1:04.767.

Meanwhile, Sainz took to the gravel in Turn 4.

So, with 30 minutes expired, the order was: Hamilton, Bottas, Vettel, Ricciardo, Verstappen, Raikkonen, Magnussen, Gasly, Grosjean and Vandoorne.

And now the qualifying simulations began on fresh ultra soft tires. Vettel went quicker but could not move up from third. Ricciardo also could not improve from fourth.

Gasly went off at Turn 10 after he broke the Toro Rosso's front suspension on the curbs. That brought out the red flags 35 minutes into the session. The restart came six minutes later.

Hamilton's go on the ultras resulted in a slow lap. Ditto for Bottas. Hamilton was unable to improve on his second attempt either.

With 35 minutes remaining, the order was: Hamilton, Bottas, Vettel, Ricciardo, Verstappen, Raikkonen, Grosjean, Magnussen, Gasly and Vandoorne. The ultra softs were not improving the times all that much.

With less than 20 minutes go, Gasly returned to the track in his repaired Toro Rosso.

The long runs began in the last third of FP2. The top 10, therefore, remained the same.