Site logo

Hamilton leads Mercedes 1-2 in opening practice


Ahead of today's opening session - God, it's so long since we've written those words - the air temperature is 17 degrees C, while the track temperature is 23 degrees C.

There has been overnight rain, and with cloud covering the region we can expect further showers. Indeed, the official estimate is a 60% chance. Just what you don't need when you're seeking to get rid of the 'race rust'.

Already, this is a race weekend like no other, for if it's hard to get used to seeing the drivers faces covered by masks, it even harder to accept the empty grandstands and grassy banks.

Sainz gets proceedings underway, followed by Norris, Albon, Magnussen and Ricciardo, with Verstappen close behind.

Five minutes in and the Mercedes pair are the last to head out, the W11 sporting its new, black livery.

A fair mix of all three compounds, the Williams pair are already on softs, as are the Points.

Following that brief flurry, which saw everyone complete just one lap, the drivers head back to their garages.

Despite all the claims during the 'break' about how eager they were to get back to work, silence falls over the pitlane for around five minutes before Norris heads out again.

As the Briton begins the first 'flying' lap of the year, Bottas heads down the pitlane.

Norris posts a 1:10.251 on the hards. Moments later, Bottas posts 8.949, also on the hards.

The Finn reports small drops of rain.

As Bottas improves to 7.578, Sainz posts 9.344 on the mediums, as his teammate posts 8.206.

Almost twenty-five minutes in and birthday boy Vettel heads out, followed by Leclerc and Hamilton. As light rain begins to fall all three are on Inters, however, Leclerc reports that the track is still dry.

As more drivers head out on Inters, Vettel pits, as do Leclerc and Hamilton.

New season but same old sh**, as Grosjean complains that he has "no brakes".

Moments later, teammate Magnussen has a close encounter with Verstappen as the Red Bull leaves his garage, the Dane almost T-boning his Dutch rival.

Thirty-two minutes in and Hamilton is the fourth driver to post a time, the world champion crossing the line at 10.709 on hards. Next time around he improves to 7.601, just 0.023s off his teammate's pace.

Other than Hamilton, Perez is the only driver on slicks. Indeed, the Mexican is sporting softs. However, at two different parts of the track the Racing Point - or rather the Mercedes engine in the back - emits a cloud of smoke, and Perez subsequently heads into the pits.

In the meantime, Hamilton has raised the bar with a 6.994.

Ocon goes fifth (8.295), but is soon demoted by Stroll, Ricciardo and Sainz as slicks make a reappearance. Stroll (6.692) is on the softs.

Still on hards, Hamilton retakes the top spot with a 6.547.

Suddenly it's busy, and we have 13 names on the board, as Vettel goes fifth, just behind his teammate (7.206).

Stroll's previous best is deleted after he was adjudged to have exceeded the track limits at T10.

As Vettel goes second with a 6.343, Hamilton raises the bar ever higher, stopping the clock at 6.205. He is still on the hards while Vettel is on mediums.

At 'half-time', it's: Hamilton, Vettel, Sainz, Leclerc, Norris, Stroll, Ricciardo, Verstappen, Bottas and Ocon.

On the hards, Ricciardo improves to sixth with a 6.650. Switching to mediums the Australian subsequently goes quickest with a 6.075.

Sainz goes second and Stroll third, the Spaniard on mediums and the Canadian on softs.

With 40 minutes remaining, Grosjean is the only driver yet to post a time, while the Alfa and Williams pairs are both over 1.2s off the pace.

On softs, Perez goes quickest with a 6.052, and one can almost hear Renault, McLaren and other begin lodging their protests.

Sainz complains about Stroll dawdling on the racing line. "He deserves a warning for that," declares the Mexican.

As Haas confirms a brake fluid leak on Grosjean's car, Bottas goes purple in the first two sectors on the softs. The Finn crosses the line at 5.486 to go quickest by 0.287.

As more drivers switch to the red-banded rubber, the gap to the likes of the Williams, Alfas and Magnussen increases.

Now Hamilton switches to the softs, his teammate having upped the ante with a 5.172.

The world champion posts 4.968, despite 'only' posting a PB in the opening sector.

Norris goes fourth with a 5.621, ahead of Stroll, Ricciardo, Sainz, Leclerc and Vettel, though the Australian and the Ferrari pair have yet to run on the softs.

On the softs, Sainz improves to third with a 5.482, as Hamilton posts 4.816.

The cameras pick up on what appears to be a piece of barge board from Ocon's Renault.

While his teammate looks set to sit out the session, Magnussen offer Haas hope when he goes 8th with a 6.039 on the softs.

A spin for Verstappen in T1 brings out the yellows. The Dutchman was beginning his first flying lap on the softs and simply took too much kerb. Moments earlier, Albon, on his first run on the red-banded rubber, had to abort his lap.

PBs in all three sectors see Verstappen go third (5.418), 0.602s off Hamilton's pace.

Out come the yellows again as Kvyat spins exiting the final corner, the Russian lucky not to collect Russel who was running close behind.

After parting company with his bargeboard, Renault confirms that Ocon's session is done.

In addition to topping the timesheets, Hamilton has completed the most laps (37), ahead of Norris and Sainz (both 36), Bottas (33) and Verstappen (32).

Other than Grosjean, Kvyat (16) has completed the least, while Gasly has completed 23, Russell (24) and Giovinazzi (22).

The session ends. Hamilton is quickest, ahead of Bottas, Verstappen, Sainz, Perez, Norris, Albon, Ricciardo, Magnussen and Leclerc.

Stroll is eleventh, ahead of Vettel, Ocon, Giovinazzi, Raikkonen, Gasly, Russell, Latifi, Kvyat and Grosjean.

Check out our Friday gallery from Spielberg, here.


more news >



galleries >

  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images


or Register for a Pitpass ID to have your say

Please note that all posts are reactively moderated and must adhere to the site's posting rules and etiquette.

Post your comment



No comments posted as yet, would you like to be the first to have your say?

Share this page


Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2024. All rights reserved.

about us  |  advertise  |  contact  |  privacy & security  |  rss  |  terms