Austrian GP: Rosberg fastest on rain interrupted Friday

    The championship leader finished six tenths off his Friday morning benchmark, with Hamilton 0.019 seconds behind, although on a dry track .

    Published On Jul 01, 2016 11:55:00 PM

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    Austrian GP: Rosberg fastest on rain interrupted Friday

    Nico Rosberg edged out Mercedes team-mate and Formula 1 title rival Lewis Hamilton to lead a storm-hit, second Austrian Grand Prix practice session.

    The championship leader finished six tenths off his Friday morning benchmark, with Hamilton 0.019 seconds behind, although on a dry track at the end of the session Rosberg set faster times in sectors one and two on the ultra-soft tyres before aborting the lap.

    Hamilton had one scare late on when he was on a flying lap, only to brake hard as he came upon a heavily slowing Esteban Gutierrez in his Haas.

    Just eight minutes into the session, and with Rosberg leading the way with a lap of 1m07.967s that remained unbeaten, a heavy rainstorm swept in from the eastern side of the circuit.

    Over the first few minutes Turns 8 and 9 became drenched, while the rest of the track from Turns 1 to 7 remained dry, the conditions naturally catching out many in the final sector as they attempted to return to the pits.

    The driving rain was accompanied by strong winds for around 10 minutes as it eventually made its way across the remainder of the circuit.

    Once it finally passed after almost half an hour, it left teams and drivers playing a waiting game for the track to start to dry.

    Daniel Ricciardo was the first to test the conditions on intermediate tyres just past the halfway point of the session, and over the next 10 minutes was followed by almost the entire field.

    With just under 20 minutes remaining and with the majority of the track then dry, Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel was the first out on slicks, turning to the ultra-softs, while team-mate Kimi Raikkonen followed him out on super-softs.

    Vettel, who will receive a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change, eventually finished fourth quickest behind Force India's Nico Hulkenberg, but ending the session by sliding off the track and into the gravel at Turn 2.

    Raikkonen had earlier gone off track at Turn 5 after just five minutes, firing across the gravel and into a spin from which he just avoided hitting a barrier, before taking an infield escape road to return to the circuit.

    The Finn finished eighth overall, just under nine tenths of a second adrift of Rosberg, with Red Bull duo Ricciardo and Max Verstappen sandwiching the Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz between the Ferraris.

    Williams's Valtteri Bottas and McLaren duo Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso occupied the next three places, with the latter far from impressed with his running on intermediates when the track was wet.

    Told by his team "You can stay out if you want, but if you're not learning anything you can box", Alonso replied: "I have not been learning anything for the last half an hour."

    PRACTICE TWO TIMES:

    PosDriverCarTimeGapLaps
    1Nico RosbergMercedes1m07.967s-25
    2Lewis HamiltonMercedes1m07.986s0.019s19
    3Nico HulkenbergForce India/Mercedes1m08.580s0.613s28
    4Sebastian VettelFerrari1m08.589s0.622s25
    5Daniel RicciardoRed Bull/Renault1m08.649s0.682s30
    6Carlos SainzToro Rosso/Ferrari1m08.713s0.746s32
    7Max VerstappenRed Bull/Renault1m08.761s0.794s20
    8Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1m08.820s0.853s23
    9Valtteri BottasWilliams/Mercedes1m08.941s0.974s24
    10Jenson ButtonMcLaren/Honda1m08.994s1.027s30
    11Fernando AlonsoMcLaren/Honda1m09.075s1.108s26
    12Felipe MassaWilliams/Mercedes1m09.184s1.217s17
    13Daniil KvyatToro Rosso/Ferrari1m09.207s1.240s26
    14Sergio PerezForce India/Mercedes1m09.226s1.259s32
    15Kevin MagnussenRenault1m09.525s1.558s19
    16Jolyon PalmerRenault1m10.020s2.053s23
    17Pascal WehrleinManor/Mercedes1m10.034s2.067s20
    18Esteban GutierrezHaas/Ferrari1m10.138s2.171s16
    19Marcus EricssonSauber/Ferrari1m10.140s2.173s19
    20Romain GrosjeanHaas/Ferrari1m10.400s2.433s31
    21Felipe NasrSauber/Ferrari1m10.444s2.477s22
    22Rio HaryantoManor/Mercedes1m11.328s3.361s25

    Copyright (c) Autosport. All rights reserved.

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