Austrian Grand Prix: Practice Recap

Event:  Free Practice 1 and Free Practice 2 (FP1 and FP2) 

Date:  Friday, June 29

Location:  Red Bull Ring in Spielberg

Layout:  4.318-kilometer (2.683-mile), 10-turn circuit

FP1 Weather:  Partly cloudy

FP1 Air Temps:  18.5-20.8 degrees Celsius (65.3-69.4 degrees Fahrenheit)

FP1 Track Temps:  25.6-29.2 degrees Celsius (78.1-84.6 degrees Fahrenheit)

FP2 Weather:  Partly cloudy

FP2 Air Temps:  21.2-22.2 degrees Celsius (70.2-72 degrees Fahrenheit)

FP2 Track Temps:  25.8-28.1 degrees Celsius (78.4-82.6 degrees Fahrenheit)

Drivers:  Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen

Grosjean:  7th quick (1:06.028), 31 laps completed

Magnussen:  12th quick (1:06.404), 23 laps completed

Fastest Driver:  Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes (1:04.839)

Most Laps:  Brendon Hartley of Toro Rosso (45 laps)

Grosjean:  7th quick (1:05.429), 38 laps completed

Magnussen:  8th quick (1:05.559), 41 laps completed

Fastest Driver:  Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes (1:04.579)

Most Laps:  Brendon Hartley of Toro Rosso (55 laps)

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.

“It’s been a pretty good day. It’s a pretty cool track. I always love coming here. I love the layout in the middle of the mountains, and it’s a great atmosphere. The rain held off, which is good. We prefer dry days where we can get good mileage, and it’s good for the fans, and ourselves, for everyone. The car has performed very well, so we’re happy with where we are. The balance has been pretty good. We’ve got some more work to do but, generally, it’s good and I’m happy with it, but we can make some changes to it to make it even faster. I’m very much looking forward to qualifying tomorrow.”

“It looks like we’re going well. It’s been a good day in terms of testing and getting things done that we had planned to do. The car has behaved as well as we expected. So far, it’s alright – we just need to get it done tomorrow, as well. The track is the same as last year. The car is a little bit different, obviously, but it’s been good at many races and it seems like it’s good here, as well. We need to get it all together tomorrow and then have a good qualifying session to get a good position for the race and, hopefully, score points on Sunday.”

“It was a good FP1 and FP2 – I think our best one this season. Both drivers did their whole program. There was only a small problem in FP1. We had one tire going down on Kevin’s car because a piece of the floor got into it. Otherwise, I’m very happy and I cannot wait for tomorrow.”

Drivers have one more practice session on Saturday (12:00-13:00 local time) before qualifying starts at 15:00. Qualifying consists of three rounds, with the 15 fastest drivers from Q1 moving on to Q2. Then, the 10 fastest drivers from Q2 advance to Q3 where they’ll battle for the pole.

This article contains: Austrian Grand Prix