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F1 Austrian Grand Prix: Rosberg in charge as rain interrupts FP2

Nico Rosberg has maintained his top spot at the end of Friday's practice as a sudden rain downpour forced 35 minutes of no running.
Click here for full FP2 results for the Austrian Grand Prix

Nico Rosberg has maintained his top spot at the end of Friday's practice as a sudden rain downpour forced 35 minutes of no running as Sebastian Vettel suffered a late off.

With a rain shower forecast around the start time of FP2 all drivers opted for early runs with Rosberg setting a benchmark of 1m 07.967s – two-thirds of a second of his lap record time from FP1 – until the rain came and caught everyone out on track.

Fortunately all drivers were able to tip-toe safely to the pits, despite a couple of spins, which denied any track action for 35 minutes until the rain ceased and the track dried sufficiently.

In a bizarre twist sectors one and three were very wet at the resumption but sector two was completely dry which threw up challenging conditions.

After all cars experimented on the intermediate tyres Sebastian Vettel was the first driver out on slicks with 20 minutes to go to set-up a quick dash to the chequered flag.

But it was the Ferrari driver who prematurely cut the session short with under two minutes to go when he suffered a mechanical fault under braking for turn two which bolted and spun Vettel into the gravel.

As a result, Rosberg held the fastest time ahead of Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton with Nico Hulkenberg impressing in third for Force India – ahead of both Red Bulls and Ferraris.

Despite his slip off Vettel took fourth ahead of birthday boy Daniel Ricciardo with Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz nipping ahead of Max Verstappen as Kimi Raikkonen rounded out the top eight challengers.

Podium finisher 12 months ago in Austria Valtteri Bottas put his Williams car ninth with the McLaren duo of Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso improving at a similar rate from their FP1 performance for 10th and 11th.

A late mechanical problem forced Felipe Massa to miss the final few minutes of the session in 12th ahead of Daniil Kvyat and Sergio Perez – who missed FP1 with Force India development driver Alfonso Celis Jr getting a drive.

Kevin Magnussen once again lead the 'best of the rest' in 15th for Renault, half a second ahead of team-mate Jolyon Palmer with Pascal Wehrlein putting his Manor 17th in front of Haas' Esteban Gutierrez and Romain Grosjean as the Sauber pair and Manor's Rio Haryanto completed the running.
by Haydn Cobb

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