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F1 Austrian Grand Prix: Rosberg on top as Verstappen clatters kerbs

Nico Rosberg has stamped his authority on FP1 as the drivers test the limits on the new sausage kerbs with Max Verstappen losing out in a crash.
Click here for full FP1 results from the Austrian Grand Prix

Nico Rosberg has stamped his authority at the top of the times on the opening free practice session at the Red Bull Ring by diving under the lap record while drivers tested the limits on the new sausage kerbs.

Having won back-to-back races in Austria since the Spielberg track made its return to the F1 calendar, Rosberg has duly produced his impressive pace around the circuit to head proceedings with almost a half-second advantage over his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton.

Elsewhere, drivers experimented with the track limits and the new yellow sausage kerbs with Max Verstappen being caught out at turn five.

After an early bash with the high kerbs earlier in the session at turn eight which saw him lose a front wing end plate, Verstappen clatter the kerb on the exit of turn five which damaged his front right suspension and sent him helplessly into the gravel trap for an early exit.

Out in front, Rosberg led the early running before strapping on a fresh set of ultra-soft tyres and stormed the previous lap record – a 1m 07.908s set by Michael Schumacher with Ferrari in 2003 – to end the session with a 1m 07.373s.

Hamilton had looked to respond, especially after losing time with a small spin at turn three earlier in the session, but could only muster a 1m 07.730s but did take a comfortable second with Mercedes challengers way off the early pace.

Sebastian Vettel claimed third, 0.7s behind Rosberg, as the lead Ferrari after missing the opening 10 minutes with a technical issue with Kimi Raikkonen fourth.

Daniel Ricciardo claimed fifth on the timesheet as his Red Bull team-mate was shifted down the order having missed the final third of the session due to his off. Carlos Sainz and Felipe Massa nipped ahead of the Dutch driver, while Daniil Kvyat and Valtteri Bottas completed the top ten runners.

Romain Grosjean impressed for Haas with 11th place in FP1 while his team-mate's session was curtailed early by an engine issue.

Force India's Nico Hulkenberg grabbed 12th, with FP1 stand-in Alfonso Celis Jr completing the runners in 22nd, as the McLaren duo were tightly bunched with Jenson Button 13th and Fernando Alonso 14th.

Further back Kevin Magnussen has led the charge for Renault from Manor's Pascal Wehrlein with Jolyon Palmer 17th in front of both Sauber and Rio Haryanto who was another driver to suffer a spin testing the new track surface.
by Haydn Cobb

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