Formula One – Practice 1: Mercedes take the lead

Formula One is back after its the long hiatus due to the global Coronavirus pandemic, kicking the unusual season off in Austria’s Red Bull Ring.

Lewis Hamilton was the fastest driver of the session with a 1:04.816 lap, with his teammate Valtteri Bottas taking the second fastest lap.

Haas French Driver, Roman Grosjean, was the last driver to complete a timed lap around the Red Bull Ring as he suffered issues with his brake pedal early on in the session.

With the length of the season unknown, it could be only eight races or it could be 15, but it means that the weight of the both championship is more important for all drivers and teams involved.

Carlos Sainz, McLaren, was the first driver out of the pit lane, to start his installation lap, onto the track to officially get the Formula One championship finally underway.

His teammate, Lando Norris, was the first driver to start his first flying lap as he used the medium compound tyre. However, it wasn’t long until the Mercedes driver, Valtteri Bottas, setting the fastest lap of the practice session with a 1:07.578 lap.

With a 60% chance of rain as the session came to its half an hour mark, both Ferrari drivers, Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc, ventured out onto the track with intermediate tyres. Despite this, both drivers complained over the radio that the track was too dry for the green banded tyre.

“The track is too dry”

Leclerc to Ferrari over the team radio

Haas’ Kevin Magnussen had a close call with Max Verstappen’s Red Bull as the Dutch racing driver came out of the garage in the path of the Danish’s car.

Smoke interrupted Racing Point’s Sergio Perez promising flying lap as the grey cloud started coming out of the Pink Mercedes, this halted the Mexican from setting his first lap time.

DAS, Dual-Axis Steering, the controversial system for Mercedes which was introduced at Formula One’s Winter Testing back in February was confirmed to being used in this practice session.

The pink Mercedes, had a hold onto the top two spots in the session as it neared the half an hour mark as they raced around on the softs, the quickest of the three allocated tyres. However, it wasn’t long before the silver arrows regained the top two positions of the timing board.

Verstappen was one of the first drivers to spin on the track as he looked to take too much speed in the first corner, which caused the back end to slide out. But, he wasn’t the only driver to do so as the Alpha Tauri driver, Daniil Kvyat, spun out in front of the Williams driver, George Russell, on the last corner.

Fastest three drivers:

  1. Lewis Hamilton – 1:04.816
  2. Valterri Bottas – 1:05.172 (+0.356)
  3. Max Verstappen – 1:05.418 (+0.602)

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