Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg drew first blood in the opening practice session of the Austrian Grand Prix, setting a blistering lap time of 1:07.373 at the Red Bull Ring.
It was the fastest lap time ever recorded at the current configuration of the track, comfortably surpassing Michael Schumacher’s lap record of 1:08.337 from 2003.
Lewis Hamilton was second fastest in the session, four tenths down on Rosberg’s benchmark, ahead of Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari.
Kimi Raikkonen was fourth in the session, suggesting Ferrari might emerge as the second fastest team in Austria.
Further back, Daniel Ricciardo was fifth fastest in the lead Red Bull, ahead of Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz and the Williams of Felipe Massa.
Max Verstappen was classified eighth, while Daniil Kvyat and Valtteri Bottas completed the top 10.
Several drivers were caught out by the tricky turn 8, including Hamilton who spun out in the opening 30 minutes of the session. Romain Grosjean, who was running not far behind the Brit, tried to take avoiding action, only to spin himself.
Verstappen had two noteworthy incidents, with the second one bringing his session to an early halt.The Dutchman ran wide at turn 5, clipping the newly installed yellow kerbs and damaging the front suspension of his Red Bull.
by Rachit Thukral