F1 2014

Rosberg Heads Hamilton On F1 Austrian Return – Austria FP1

Nico Rosberg spent a lot of the first free practice session in Austria cocooned in his garage, but it didn’t stop him beating team-mate Lewis Hamilton to the fastest time in Formula One’s first foray at Spielberg in eleven years.

The German set the pace from the off, but an early electronics problem thwarted his running and promised to cause significant problems for the Mercedes man. However, his mechanics soon had the issue under control with a simple reset of the system and he enjoyed further track time until more mechanical gremlins struck with around twenty minutes of the ninety minute session to go, when a cooling pump required attention. However, his 0.1 second gap over Hamilton was maintained after the Englishman failed to extract more from his F1W05 in tricky, greasy conditions caused by a brief drizzle of rain.

Behind the Mercedes men it was a closely-contested timesheet with Ferrari, Force India and McLaren all vying for position with Mercedes; but experience seemed to count for something despite the long break from racing here and it was veterans Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa and Jenson Button who filled out positions from 3rd through to 5th, with Perez and Hulkenberg backing them up in the Force India cars. Kimi Raikkonen had run as high as 2nd early on but slipped to 11th behind Jean Eric Vergne at the chequered flag, while Red Bull struggled for pace at their home circuit.

The Renault-engined cars just couldn’t match their Mercedes and Ferrari-powered rivals, and both Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo survived close shaves with the outside wall of the final corner after turn eight reminded everyone of its ability to punish the over-zealous. Vettel in particular avoided serious damage to his car when he made two full 360 degree spins in front of the main grandstand.

Further back there were issues for Adrian Sutil and Marcus Ericsson that saw them sit out much of the morning running, while Marussia continued to pull ahead of Caterham and homed in on the back of the Lotus duo of Grosjean and Maldonado.

FP2 is at 13:00 GMT

CLASSIFICATION – FP1 – Austrian Grand Prix -20th June 2014

1 Rosberg Mercedes 1:11:295 19
2 Hamilton Mercedes 1:11:435 32
3 Alonso Ferrari 1:11:606 23
4 Massa Williams 1:11:756 27
5 Button McLaren 1:11:839 33
6 Perez Force India 1:12:009 33
7 Hulkenberg Force India 1:12:072 20
8 Bottas Williams 1:12:114 21
9 Magnussen McLaren 1:12:313 36
10 Vergne Toro Rosso 1:12:364 30
11 Raikkonen Ferrari 1:12:365 21
12 Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:12:372 35
13 Ricciardo Red Bull 1:12:570 28
14 Gutierrez Sauber 1:12:984 29
15 Vettel Red Bull 1:12:988 25
16 Grosjean Lotus 1:13:168 28
17 Maldonado Lotus 1:13:642 27
18 Bianchi Marussia 1:13:738 26
19 Chilton Marussia 1:13:857 28
20 Kobayashi Caterham 1:14:611 24
21 Sutil Sauber 1:14:691 9
22 Ericsson Caterham 1:17:501 8

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