Lewis Hamilton set the early pace for Mercedes in Austria as he led opening Formula 1 practice at the Red Bull Ring on Friday, beating Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel.

Hamilton was able to record a best lap time of 1m04.838s through a warm and dry first practice for the Austrian Grand Prix, giving him top spot by over one-tenth of a second from Vettel.

Hamilton’s session was not without trouble, though, as he sustained some damage to his front wing in the final 30 minutes of running after appearing to run over a sausage kerb.

On the other side of the garage, Mercedes was forced to change the power unit on Valtteri Bottas’ car after finding an oil leak in the morning, switching back to the old-spec power unit used by the Finn.

Bottas got out 30 minutes into the session and was quickly on the pace, eventually finishing third-fastest for Mercedes, 0.161s down on his teammate’s time.

Vettel slotted into second for Ferrari ahead of teammate Charles Leclerc in fourth, both of whom spent spells at the head of the field but were unable to match Hamilton’s outright pace.

Red Bull slotted into P5 and P6 in FP1 as Max Verstappen led Pierre Gasly, sitting around half a second back from the leaders, while Carlos Sainz headed the midfield teams in seventh place for McLaren.

Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo took eighth ahead of Haas driver Kevin Magnussen, while Lando Norris completed the top 10 in the sister McLaren.

The session went by without any notable on-track incidents until the final five minutes, when the red flag came out after Nico Hulkenberg lost a chunk of his front wing running over the kerbs between Turn 9 and Turn 10, leaving debris on the track.

Practice will resume at 1500 CET in Austria on Friday.

 

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