The ninth round of the 2018 FIA Formula One World Championship began with practice Friday at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg as teams prepared for the Austrian Grand Prix Sunday.
Two 90-minute sessions – FP1 and FP2 – on the 4.318-kilometer (2.683-mile), 10-turn circuit were run under partly cloudy but comfortable conditions, with Haas F1 Team drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen dialing in their Haas VF-18s on the tight and fast layout.
Both drivers performed the same program in FP1, running exclusively on the Pirelli P Zero Red supersoft tires, with two sets each at their disposal. Grosjean’s quick time of 1:06.028 came on his 19th lap and put him seventh overall. Magnussen’s best time was a 1:06.404 on his 21st lap, placing him 12th on the speed chart. Magnussen’s run plan, however, ended abruptly with 35 minutes left in the session after sustaining a cut right-rear tire. With the team having returned Magnussen’s first set of Pirelli tires after the 40-minute mark, as per the regulations, and with no other tires available, Magnussen was sidelined for the remainder of FP1.
Leading the way in FP1 was Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, whose fast lap of 1:04.839 was .127 of a second better than his closest pursuer and teammate, Valtteri Bottas.
Speeds picked up and lap times dropped in FP2. Grosjean wrapped FP2 as the seventh-quickest driver with a time of 1:05.429, which was .599 of a second better than his best lap in FP1. His quick time came on the 16th of his 38 laps shod on a set of Purple ultrasoft tires. Magnussen shaved .845 of a second off his FP1 time with a lap of 1:05.559 to jump to eighth fastest. His fast lap came on his 12th tour, also while utilizing the ultrasoft tire. He completed 41 laps. Grosjean began FP2 on the Red supersoft tire before switching to ultrasofts. Magnussen started FP2 on Yellow softs and then donned ultrasofts before returning to softs for a final, six-lap run
The Mercedes duo of Hamilton and Bottas remained atop FP2, with Hamilton’s quick time of 1:04.579 bettering Bottas’ mark by .176 of a second. The Red Bull Ring track record of 1:04.251 set last year by Bottas in the final round of qualifying remained intact.
Between the two sessions, Haas F1 Team ran a total of 133 laps – 69 by Grosjean and 64 by Magnussen.