Sebastian Vettel edges Lewis Hamilton in Austrian FP3

It started to rain in the third and final practice session ahead of this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix. Nico Rosberg was fastest in the first practice session before Sebastian Vettel overcame mechanical issues to go fastest in free practice two.  It was the Ferrari driver who remained at the top for Saturday morning’s practice although just 17 thousandths of a second clear of Lewis Hamilton.

Most of the fastest times were set in the first half of the session due to the rain that came in the second half. The rain started to fall heavily with about 25 minutes remaining. Kimi Raikkonen ran through the gravel at Turn 6 while Rosberg came off at Turn 2. Some drivers went out on the intermediate tyre but Nico Hulkenberg reported there was no grip at all as he slid off the track at Turn 4. Carlos Sainz and Vettel both also had offs at the track condition got worse.

Sergio Perez suffered a right front puncture during the session while Marcus Ericsson reported a lack of energy on the pit straight. Romain Grosjean encountered a gearbox issue during the session while Fernando Alonso compounded McLaren’s difficult weekend so far by coming to a halt on the pit straight. Both McLarens will take 25 place grid penalties for various changes, including a full engine change for Jenson Button. Alonso’s stop brought out a red flag as the rain started to fall.

Free practice 3 results:

  1. Sebastian Vettel – 1:09.994 – 16 laps
  2. Lewis Hamilton – 1:10.011 – 16 laps
  3. Kimi Raikkonen – 1:10.177 – 12 laps
  4. Sergio Perez – 1:10.221 – 14 laps
  5. Nico Rosberg – 1:10.332 – 23 laps
  6. Felipe Massa – 1:10.408 – 18 laps
  7. Valtteri Bottas – 1:10.417 – 14 laps
  8. Max Verstappen – 1:10.436 – 23 laps
  9. Pastor Maldonado – 1:10.576 – 12 laps
  10. Romain Grosjean – 1:10.863 – 8 laps
  11. Nico Hulkenberg – 1:11.009 – 14 laps
  12. Marcus Ericsson – 1:11.058 – 22 laps
  13. Daniil Kvyat – 1:11.139 – 14 laps
  14. Fernando Alonso – 1:11.168 – 13 laps
  15. Daniel Ricciardo – 1:11.819 – 10 laps
  16. Felipe Nasr – 1:11.906 – 9 laps
  17. Jenson Button – 1:12.616 – 16 laps
  18. Will Stevens – 1:13.328 – 14 laps
  19. Roberto Merhi – 1:13.960 – 8 laps

Sebastian Vettel overcomes problems to go fastest in Austrian FP2

After completing just four laps in the first practice session – which was topped by Nico Rosberg – Sebastian Vettel came back to top the times in FP2.

A number of drivers instantly took to the track for installation laps while Vettel completed the first flying lap. Kimi Raikkonen instantly went faster than his team-mate but then locked up his tyres into Turn 1. Romain Grosjean was back in the car after sitting out FP1  to allow test and reserve driver Jolyon Palmer some time in the car.

Fernando Alonso was running McLaren’s new shorter nose while Jenson Button continued with the old specification. Following issues in FP1, Alonso completed 17 laps. He was forced to stop as a precaution in the second practice session after Button’s car suffered an ignition plug problem. As a result McLaren missed the opportunity to complete option tyre runs.  Many drivers complained about tyres and the handling of their cars as they progressed through the session.

Kimi Rakkonen was the first driver to put the super soft tyres on but Rosberg instantly beat his time on the option tyre run. Then Vettel went fastest by just hundredths of a second. A yellow flag was brought out at Turn 3 with twenty minutes of the session remaining. It was due to Roberto Merhi taking a trip across the gravel, something which then happened to Pastor Maldonado as well.

Free Practice Two results:

  1. Sebastian Vettel – 1:09.600 – 28 laps
  2. Nico Rosberg – 1:09.611 – 50 laps
  3. Kimi Raikkonen – 1:09.860 – 41 laps
  4. Pastor Maldonado – 1:09.914 – 44 laps
  5. Lewis Hamilton – 1:10.137 – 49 laps
  6. Nico Hulkenberg – 1:10.160 – 49 laps
  7. Romain Grosjean – 1:10.267 – 38 laps
  8. Max Verstappen – 1:10.356 – 48 laps
  9. Felipe Nasr – 1:10.495 – 39 laps
  10. Sergio Perez – 1:10.585 – 46 laps
  11. Carlos Sainz – 1:10.631 – 50 laps
  12. Daniil Kvyat – 1:10.686 – 48 laps
  13. Marcus Ericsson – 1:10.744 – 40 laps
  14. Valtteri Bottas – 1:10.746 – 34 laps
  15. Felipe Massa – 1:11.011 – 42 laps
  16. Fernando Alonso – 1:11.517 – 17 laps
  17. Daniel Ricciardo – 1:11.676 – 38 laps
  18. Jenson Button – 1:11.919 – 17 laps
  19. Will Stevens – 1:12.522 – 34 laps
  20. Roberto Merhi – 1:13.094 – 34 laps

Nico Rosberg leads the way in Austrian FP1

Nico Rosberg topped the times in the first free practice session for this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix. Last year’s race winner finished three tenths clear of team-mate Lewis Hamilton while Kimi Raikkonen was sixth tenths off the lead Mercedes in third.

After the installation runs and laps, Rosberg led the times on the extra tyre compound with a 1:11.389. Sebastian Vettel came to a stop on track after just four laps, revealing to the team that he had “lost drive”. In the pit-lane there was drama as Felipe Massa narrowly avoided hitting Ferrari boss Maurizio Arrivabene as he crossed to the pit wall. 2014 pole sitter Massa went on to finish the session in ninth place while team-mate Valtteri Bottas was fourth.

Jolyon Palmer was in action for Lotus while Romain Grosjean watched the action from the pit wall. He ended the session in 14th just hundredths of a second shy of team-mate Pastor Maldonado. Max Verstappen struggled with the handling of his car throughout the session while Jenson Button struggled with tyre temperature. Button’s team-mate Fernando Alonso had issues of his own early on when he was forced to coast back to the pit-lane after an electrical harness connection issue following his installation lap. Despite what the team described as a “minor gearbox issue” he was able to get back on track but just completed 10 laps.

Free Practice 1 results:

  1. Nico Rosberg – 1:10.401 – 36 laps
  2. Lewis Hamilton – 1:10.709 – 28 laps
  3. Kimi Raikkonen – 1:11.028 – 22 laps
  4. Valtteri Bottas – 1:11.452 – 26 laps
  5. Felipe Nasr – 1:11.633 – 28 laps
  6. Danil Kvyat – 1:11.642 – 31 laps
  7. Daniel Ricciardo – 1:11.724 – 29 laps
  8. Max Verstappen – 1:11.825 – 38 laps
  9. Felipe Massa – 1:11.890 – 29 laps
  10. Sergio Perez – 1:11.905 – 37 laps
  11. Carlos Sainz – 1:11.948 – 32 laps
  12. Pastor Maldonado – 1:12.004 – 34 laps
  13. Nico Hulkenberg – 1:12.031 – 36 laps
  14. Jolyon Palmer – 1:12.050 – 27 laps
  15. Marcus Ericsson – 1:12.159 – 30 laps
  16. Jenson Button – 1:12.920 – 30 laps
  17. Fernando Alonso – 1:13.272 – 10 laps
  18. Will Stevens – 1:13.937 – 29 laps
  19. Roberto Merhi – 1:15.459 – 11 laps
  20. Sebastian Vettel – 1:15.684 – 4 laps

Hamilton fastest in Canada FP2 before ending session in barriers

Lewis Hamilton went fastest again in Canada, having already topped the times in the first free practice session.

This time he was ahead of the Ferrari duo of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen. The session was curtailed, however, by the rain. With the threat of rain hanging over the session drivers wasted no time in getting out on track to complete laps on the super-soft tyres.

Vettel set the initial pace before eventually being knocked off the top spot by Hamilton, who struggled on his first super-soft tyre run. When it looked like he was on a fast lap – with two purple sectors – he got the final chicane all wrong and narrowly bounced over the kerbs. Elsewhere Nico Hulkenberg was forced to limp back to the pits with a puncture, reporting to his team that he had not hit anything on the track. Pirelli later reported it as a ‘rim problem’. After Daniil Kvyat struggled with the rear of the car in FP1, Daniel Ricciardo reported that his car was more responsive but a bit aggressive at the rear.

About half an hour into the session the rain started to fall and it turned out to be heavy. All drivers retreated to the pit-lane before the Mercedes duo lined up to go out again on intermediate tyres. That run did not last long as Hamilton aquaplaned at the hairpin and made contact with the tyre barriers, damaging his front wing. Nico Rosberg returned to the pit-lane and that proved to be the end of running for the afternoon. The forecasts for Saturday and Sunday look dry meaning there would be nothing to gain from going out in difficult conditions with the risk of damaging the car, as proven by Hamilton.

Free Practice 2 Results:

  1. Lewis Hamilton – 1:15.988 – 22 laps
  2. Sebastian Vettel – 1:16.304 – 19 laps
  3. Kimi Raikkonen – 1:16.310 – 20 laps
  4. Nico Rosberg – 1:16.440 – 22 laps
  5. Pastor Maldonado – 1:16.600 – 15 laps
  6. Valtteri Bottas – 1:16.849 – 18 laps
  7. Romain Grosjean – 1:16.864 – 15 laps
  8. Felipe Massa – 1:17.041 – 19 laps
  9. Daniil Kvyat – 1:17.092 – 10 laps
  10. Daniel Ricciardo – 1:17.111 – 16 laps
  11. Nico Hulkenberg – 1:17.120 – 15 laps
  12. Marcus Ericsson – 1:17.261 – 17 laps
  13. Carlos Sainz – 1:17.318 – 23 laps
  14. Sergio Perez – 1:17.367 – 20 laps
  15. Fernando Alonso – 1:17.627 – 21 laps
  16. Max Verstappen – 1:17.657 – 23 laps
  17. Felipe Nasr – 1:17.751 – 21 laps
  18. Jenson Button – 1:18.135 – 20 laps
  19. Roberto Merhi – 1:19.531 – 15 laps
  20. Will Stevens – 1:19.734 – 13 laps

Hamilton leads the pack in Montreal first practice

Lewis Hamilton was the fastest driver in the first practice session for this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix. He ended up four tenths clear of team-mate Nico Rosberg who in turn was over a second faster than Romain Grosjean in third.

A number of drivers took to track early on to complete their installation laps. Off the back of scoring McLaren’s first points of the season in Monaco, Jenson Button had a difficult start in FP1, struggling to get out of second gear on his own install lap. His running was compromised briefly as the team worked to fix the gearbox issue but he eventually completed 25 laps and finished the session in 15th. Team-mate Fernando Alonso reported having “no power” during the session. Elsewhere Felipe Massa struggled with braking while other drivers including Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas cut across corners.

Carlos Sainz spun at Turn 1 in his Toro Rosso while Bottas also had a spin, reporting that the rear of his car was unstable. Daniil Kvyat also had issues with the rear of his car. Hamilton became another spinner when he ran off at the hairpin. In the last 20 minutes of the session there was plenty of action. Sainz stopped at the end of the pit-lane with ten minutes of the session remaining.

It was a strong showing for Mercedes powered cars as they made up six of the top ten cars. The Silver Arrows led the way with Lotus and Force India just behind them. Sebastian Vettel was the lead Ferrari driver in fifth while Kvyat was seventh. Massa ended the session in sixth while Bottas was eleventh. Also in the top ten were Pastor Maldonado, Alonso and Max Verstappen.

Free Practice 1 results:

  1.  Lewis Hamilton – 1:16.212 – 34 laps
  2. Nico Rosberg – 1:16.627 – 38 laps
  3. Romain Grosjean – 1:17.721 – 35 laps
  4. Nico Hulkenberg – 1:17.871 – 34 laps
  5. Sebastian Vettel – 1:17.905 – 25 laps
  6. Felipe Massa – 1:17.985 – 28 laps
  7. Daniil Kvyat – 1:18.021 – 30 laps
  8. Pastor Maldonado – 1:18.026 – 41 laps
  9. Fernando Alonso – 1:18.128 – 34 laps
  10. Max Verstappen – 1:18.257 – 24 laps
  11. Valtteri Bottas – 1:18.325 – 40 laps
  12. Kimi Raikkonen – 1:18.439 – 26 laps
  13. Sergio Perez – 1:18.503 – 28 laps
  14. Daniel Ricciardo – 1:18.775 – 24 laps
  15. Jenson Button – 1:18.786 – 25 laps
  16. Felipe Nasr – 1:18.948 – 30 laps
  17. Carlos Sainz – 1:19.065 – 23 laps
  18. Marcus Ericsson – 1:19.165 – 32 laps
  19. Roberto Merhi – 1:20.616 – 33 laps
  20. Will Stevens – 1:20.624 – 27 laps

Sebastian Vettel sets the pace in the third and final practice session in Monaco

Sebastian Vettel set the pace in FP3 ahead of qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix.

It was a dry session for the drivers after some wet running on Thursday, giving them the first opportunity to try out the new super-soft tyres. Lewis Hamilton lead rookie Max Verstappen in the first practice session before going fastest again in FP2, this time ahead of team-mate Nico Rosberg.

After compromised running on Thursday, teams wasted no time in getting their drivers out on track for the start of the third and final practice session. Both Mercedes drivers and both Manors went straight out on the super-soft tyre and Hamilton set the initial pace with a 1:19.074 before improving to a 1:17.504. Rosberg slotted into second place behind his team-mate after his first couple of laps.

Ferrari did not go out of the garage straight away as some adjustments were carried out to both car, and Kimi Raikkonen set his first lap-time with nearly 20 minutes of the session gone. It was enough to see him go third fastest on the soft compound tyre behind the Mercedes duo. When he put the super-soft tyre on he improved his lap time before ending up in the barriers at Sainte Devote, causing damage to the left rear tyre. The session was red flagged in order to allow marshals to recover the stricken Ferrari.

Elsewhere Fernando Alonso had been about to start a lap in his McLaren but was compromised after coming across the Ferrari. The session was quickly green flagged again and the action recommenced as drivers instantly took to the track. Having already lost significant time on Thursday due to the weather time is of the essence to get some substantial running in ahead of qualifying and the race. A number of drivers throughout the session struggled to get their cars stopped out of the tunnel and ran across the Nouvelle Chicane.

Verstappen, who had gone second fastest in the first practice session, got it wrong at Anthony Noghes, losing part of his rear wing as a result. Marcus Ericsson complained throughout the session about lack of grip and locked up going into Sainte Devote. Rosberg had a late improvement to end up six hundredths behind his team-mate. Vettel set a very impressive lap-time with about five minutes of the session remaining, going five tenths quicker than Hamilton and Rosberg. Rosberg improved to within two tenths of Vettel’s pace.

In the closing minute of practice, cars backed up at the final corner trying to find clear space to set a final lap-time. There were a number of improvements including Carlos Sainz and Jenson Button.

Free Practice 3 times:

  1. Sebastian Vettel – 1:16.143 – 27 laps
  2. Nico Rosberg – 1:16.361 – 31 laps
  3. Lewis Hamilton – 1:16.705 – 31 laps
  4. Daniel Ricciardo – 1:17.120 – 26 laps
  5. Carlos Sainz – 1:17.256 – 39 laps
  6. Kimi Raikkonen – 1:17.401 – 11 laps
  7. Daniil Kvyat – 1:17.471 – 28 laps
  8. Jenson Button – 1:17.767 – 28 laps
  9. Max Verstappen – 1:17.788 – 23 laps
  10. Romain Grosjean – 1:17.806 – 28 laps
  11. Sergio Perez – 1:17.832 – 30 laps
  12. Pastor Maldonado – 1:17.956 – 28 laps
  13. Nico Hulkenberg – 1:18.102 – 32 laps
  14. Fernando Alonso – 1:18.197 – 26 laps
  15. Valtteri Bottas – 1:18.212 – 29 laps
  16. Felipe Massa – 1:18.242 – 32 laps
  17. Felipe Nasr – 1:18.767 – 38 laps
  18. Marcus Ericsson – 1:19.269 – 37 laps
  19. Will Stevens – 1:21.093 – 31 laps
  20. Roberto Merhi – 1:22.225 – 30 laps

Lewis Hamilton fastest again as rain hits Monaco

Lewis Hamilton continued his form from the first Free Practice session to remain fastest in the afternoon.

It was a dry start to the session but with the threat of rain in the air drivers wasted no time in getting out on track to get some running in. There were a couple of yellow flags early on in the session as drivers including Kimi Raikkonen and Pastor Maldonado got things wrong. A number of drivers had a spell at the top of the times as the lap-times fell, including Sebastian Vettel, Carlos Sainz, Nico Rosberg and Hamilton.

The session was red flagged after just 15 minutes when Roberto Merhi lost it on the brakes coming out of the tunnel, a fate which has befallen a number of drivers in the past. He made contact with the barrier, losing his front wing and leaving debris strewn across the track. The session was quickly given the green flag but as the rain started to fall there was limited running in the remaining 50 minutes. Maldonado ventured out on the brand new super soft tyres but didn’t complete a lap due to the deteriorating conditions.

There was a lengthy period of no cars on track before Fernando Alonso headed out with ten minutes to go. He was joined by Daniel Ricciardo, Daniil Kvyat, as well as the Williams duo of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa. Due to the wet nature of the track times were quite a bit off times set in the dry. Marcus Ericsson did not get out for any running due to a mechanical issue.

Free Practice 2 times:

  1. Lewis Hamilton – 1:17.192 – 12 laps
  2. Nico Rosberg – 1:17.932 – 16 laps
  3. Sebastian Vettel – 1:18.295 – 14 laps
  4. Kimi Raikkonen – 1:18.543 – 15 laps
  5. Daniil Kvyat – 1:19.548 – 16 laps
  6. Carlos Sainz – 1:18.659 – 14 laps
  7. Max Verstappen – 1:18.782 – 12 laps
  8. Fernando Alonso – 1:18.906 – 18 laps
  9. Nico Hulkenberg – 1:19.151 – 13 laps
  10. Romain Grosjean – 1:19.266 – 13 laps
  11. Sergio Perez – 1:19.300 – 13 laps
  12. Felipe Massa – 1:19.560 – 15 laps
  13. Valtteri Bottas – 1:19.566 – 14 laps
  14. Pastor Maldonado – 1:19.577 – 13 laps
  15. Jenson Button – 1:19.606 – 14 laps
  16. Daniel Ricciardo – 1:19.639 – 13 laps
  17. Felipe Nasr – 1:20.263 – 10 laps
  18. Roberto Merhi – 1:22.017 – 9 laps
  19. Will Stevens – 1:22,943 – 13 laps