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Rosberg leads the way at a slippery Spielberg

NEWS STORY
20/06/2014

Ahead of today's opening session the air temperature is 13 degrees C, while the track temperature is 20 degrees. It is cool, to put it mildly, and, following overnight rain, the air remains a little damp.

After a break of 11 years F1 returns to the magnificent Oster... sorry, Red Bull Ring. Tyre choices this weekend are soft and supersoft - for the third successive race weekend - while the two DRS zones are on the start/finish straight and on the approach to T3.

Thanks to the new rules which give the drivers a 'free' set of tyres for the first half hour we'll get action from the very start this morning - one of the more sensible new rules. This, of course, comes at a time when many are questioning the direction the sport is taking and also whether the sport is providing a good show.

Talking of which, the Ferraris and Mercedes are sporting titanium skid blocks today, a move aimed at making them look more spectacular as sparks fly from underneath the cars. Sometimes... sometimes... it really does appear that the asylum has been taken over.

Unsurprisingly, this being a new circuit - in terms of F1 running - for all but four of the drivers, there are no reserve drivers on duty.

The lights go green and Massa, one of those four drivers who have raced here before, leads the way, followed by Kobayashi, Chilton, Magnussen, Alonso, Ericsson and Grosjean.

One by one they take to the track, one by one they return to the pits following their installation lap.

As ever, the rear of the Ferrari is yellow, such is the amount of flo-vis being used.

Hamilton is told that rain is in the air and should be making an appearance later in the session.

Rosberg posts the first time of the day (1:19.641) but this is soon beaten by his teammate (15.700) as Mercedes sets out its intentions for the weekend. The Silver Arrows duo are the only drivers on track.

As Ericsson leaves the pits to join the Mercedes duo, Rosberg gets down to 13.508 only for Hamilton to improve to 13.261.

Rosberg suddenly slows, almost catching his teammate unawares. "Shall I box," asks the German, his car appearing to have lost power. "Yes, box now," comes the reply.

As more drivers take to the track, Massa runs wide in T3 - Perez was not involved.

The 'grass' at the side of the track brings back memories of Manaus last week.

In the Mercedes garage Rosberg is out of his car, suggesting that his problem is bigger than originally suspected.

A piece of carbon fibre falls from Perez' car as Hamilton reports spots of rain at T4.

Ericsson stops just after the end of the pitlane following what appeared to be a total electrics failure.

Massa posts 13.219 to split the Mercedes, whilst Bottas goes fourth ahead of Vergne, Sutil and Kvyat.

Twenty minutes into the session all but Vettel and the Ferrari duo have posted times. Montreal winner Ricciardo posts 14.081 to go 10th.

Bottas improves to third (12.613). Still early days but could Williams be set to build on the form shown in Canada the other week.

A 12.554 sees Alonso go third as Magnussen goes fifth ahead of Button, Ricciardo and Hulkenberg.

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