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Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Red Bull Ring, 2014Formula One returned to Austria for the first time in 11 years today as practice got under-way for this weekend’s Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring. Formerly known as the A1-Ring, the last race was won by Michael Schumacher for Ferrari, with the demolition of the pit buildings and grandstands in 2004 rendering the circuit unusable until a €70m reconstruction by Red Bull.

After Daniel Ricciardo’s maiden F1 win 2 weeks ago in the Canadian Grand Prix, Red Bull may have been hoping that their team could win at their track, but early indicators suggest that it’s Mercedes race to lose; although that is what the German team managed to accomplish in Canada.

The reliability problems suffered in Montreal seemed to slightly resurface for Nico Rosberg in practice 1, with his WO5 silver arrow slowing early on. Team-mate Hamilton had to avoid him, with Nico heading back for a short stay in the new pit buildings. The early problems, coupled with some new FIA skid blocks to produce sparks and some apparent excitement, didn’t hamper him, with Nico managed to end the session with the fastest time. One tenth down was team-mate Lewis Hamilton, who ran more laps than Nico but was unable to best him.

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso was 3rd fastest, with team-mate Kimi Raikkonen further down in 11th; also testing the new skid blocks. Ferrari’s former driver Massa was 4th despite having ventured into a gravel trap; a problem hardly seen at any other circuit due to the rise of tarmac run-off. Jenson Button was 5th fastest for McLaren, ahead of the two Force India’s of Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenburg; the pair both hoping for a good qualifying for their quick cars.

Valtteri Bottas was 8th ahead of Kevin Magnussen and Jean-Eric Vergne; who was once again the fastest Renault-powered car for Toro Rosso. Neither Red Bull featured in the top 10, with Daniel Ricciardo 13th and Sebastian Vettel 15th after a massive spin at the final corner. Marcus Ericsson and Adrian Sutil befell technical issues and were both in the final 3 positions.

Practice 1 results:

POS Driver Team Time
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’11.295
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’11.435
3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’11.606
4 Felipe Massa Williams 1’11.756
5 Jenson Button McLaren 1’11.839
6 Sergio Perez Force India 1’12.009
7 Nico Hulkenburg Force India 1’12.072
8 Vatteri Bottas Williams 1’12.114
9 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1’12.313
10 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1’12.364
11 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1’12.365
12 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1’12.372
13 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1’12.570
14 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1’12.984
15 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1’12.988
16 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1’13.168
17 Jules Bianchi Marussia 1’13.738
18 Max Chilton Marussia 1’13.857
19 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham 1’14.611
20 Adrian Sutil Sauber 1’14.691
21 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1’16.642
22 Marcus Ericsson Caterham 1’17.501

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Red Bull Ring, 2014Mercedes were once again on top in the second practice session, but the positions were reversed between the two drivers. Lewis Hamilton took the fastest time of the session, with Rosberg having to make several attempts to get within 3 tenths of him. Fernando Alonso remained in 3rd for Ferrari, with the two Williams cars of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa were just a few thousandths of a second behind.

The two Red Bulls improved after their dismal first practice, with Vettel 6th and Ricciardo 8th. Jenson Button separated the pair in 7th. Kevin Magnussen and Jean-Eric Vergne maintained their positions from the first session in 9th and 10th.

Kimi Raikkonen was once again just outside the top 10 in 11th place, with Kvyat in 12th, Perez in 13th and Gutierrez in 14th. Pastor Maldonado was 15th ahead of Sutil and Hulkenburg, whose Force India looking a lot slower than it was in FP1. Max Chilton was 17th and was a few thousandths ahead of Romain Grosjean’s Lotus and fellow Marussia driver Jules Bianchi. The two Caterham’s completed the time-sheets.

 Practice 2 results:

POS Driver Team Time
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’09.542
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’09.919
3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’10.470
4 Vatteri Bottas Williams 1’10.519
5 Felipe Massa Williams 1’10.521
6 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1’10.807
7 Jenson Button McLaren 1’10.813
8 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1’10.920
9 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1’10.936
10 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1’10.972
11 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1’10.974
12 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1’11.261
13 Sergio Perez Force India 1’11.296
14 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1’11.491
15 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1’11.765
16 Adrian Sutil Sauber 1’11.806
17 Nico Hulkenburg Force India 1’11.935
18 Max Chilton Marussia 1’12.229
19 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1’12.262
20 Jules Bianchi Marussia 1’12.279
21 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham 1’12.937
22 Marcus Ericsson Caterham 1’13.596
By Jordan Groves
Formula 1 correspondent for RTR Sports Marketing - Sport Sponsorship Agency


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Emanuele Venturoli
Emanuele Venturoli
A graduate in Public, Social and Political Communication from the University of Bologna, he has always been passionate about marketing, design and sport.
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