Rosberg leads first practice despite problems

2014 Austrian Grand Prix first practice

Posted on

| Written by

The two Mercedes drivers topped the times in the first practice session at the Red Bull Ring but Nico Rosberg ran into technical trouble with his car.

His W05 slowed with a loss of power early in the session, forcing team mate Lewis Hamilton to take avoiding action towards the end of the lap. After a brief stay in the pits Rosberg got going again, but headed back to his garage before the end of the session.

Rosberg was running extra skid blocks on his Mercedes to generate more sparks as part of an FIA initiative to make races more exciting, but it seemed to have little effect on his car’s performance, as he ended the session over a tenth of a second quicker than Hamilton.

The Ferrari of Fernando Alonso was third-quickest, with team mate Kimi Raikkonen in 11th place performing a similar test to Rosberg.

Felipe Massa was fourth despite running wide into one of the Red Bull Ring’s gravel traps early in the proceedings. Valtteri Bottas in the other Williams had a significant lock-up at turn one but his team did not immediately identify anything wrong with his car.

The top ten times were largely populated by Mercedes-powered cars with Jenson Button fifth for McLaren ahead of the two Force Indias, Bottas and the other McLaren of Kevin Magnussen.

Jean-Eric Vergne also made it into the top ten for Toro Rosso and was optimistic about the team’s potential, saying there was at least half a second more in his car.

With the other Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat in 12th place, the dozen runners at the top of the times were separated by little more than a second on the comparatively short track.

However neither of the Red Bulls featured among them in the first practice session at their home track. Sebastian Vettel could only manage 15th after a lurid double spin at the final corner during which he was fortunate not to hit the barrier. Daniel Ricciardo, 13th, also went wide at the same bend during proceedings.

Marcus Ericsson only covered eight laps before his Caterham slowed with a problem at turn one and he was told to jump clear. Adrian Sutil’s session also came to an early end due to technical problems.

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
16Nico RosbergMercedes1’11.29519
244Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’11.4350.14032
314Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’11.6060.31123
419Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1’11.7560.46127
522Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’11.8390.54433
611Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’12.0090.71433
727Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’12.0720.77720
877Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes1’12.1140.81921
920Kevin MagnussenMcLaren-Mercedes1’12.3131.01827
1025Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Renault1’12.3641.06930
117Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’12.3651.07021
1226Daniil KvyatToro Rosso-Renault1’12.3721.07735
133Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-Renault1’12.5701.27528
1421Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari1’12.9841.68929
151Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’12.9881.69325
168Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1’13.1681.87328
1717Jules BianchiMarussia-Ferrari1’13.7382.44326
184Max ChiltonMarussia-Ferrari1’13.8572.56228
1910Kamui KobayashiCaterham-Renault1’14.6113.31624
2099Adrian SutilSauber-Ferrari1’14.6913.3969
2113Pastor MaldonadoLotus-Renault1’16.6425.34727
229Marcus EricssonCaterham-Renault1’17.5016.2068

Image © Daimler/Hoch Zwei

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

36 comments on “Rosberg leads first practice despite problems”

  1. “Rosberg was running extra skid blocks on his Mercedes to generate more sparks as part of an FIA initiative to make races more exciting”


    Flamethrowers next?

    1. I read that comment too and thought what a croc of absolute garbage by the FIA……… I’m fast losing respect for the powers that be.

    2. They should fit some to Jean Todt’s shoes to make him more exciting.

      1. +1, you really made me laugh!

        Seriously though, after seeing Keith’s tweet about rule changes I thought the sparks thing was just another ludicrous idea, now I learned it’s becoming a reality… Bring on the sprinklers, banana peels and guitar solo background music and we’ll have the best spectacle in the world!

    3. The Blade Runner (@)
      20th June 2014, 11:34

      Yep, next year’s F1 to be re-branded “Super Mario Kart 9″…

    4. Y’know, I’m slowly getting more inclined to not worry so much about missing sessions. A few years ago I would try and watch each session or at least read up on what happened if it was a Friday practice.

      I’ve found myself recently not bothering catching up on practice until I watch quali or the race. Doesn’t sound like much, but whose to say that in a few years I might not bother with quali at all and maybe a few years later only watch the highlights?

      It’s conjecture to attribute my (very very slowly) diminishing interest in these gimmicks but it might have quite a big part to play.

    5. I thought it was a joke, apparently it is not. F1 is run by a bunch of rich, deaf people with their heads too far up their own Armani suits to see what’s wrong. F1 is becoming to racing what WWE is to fighting.

      Which wouldn’t be all that bad if I had the opportunity to see Jean Todt hit Bernie in the back with a fake metal chair!

      1. The only joke here is the FIA

    6. Nah, the wheel thingies for extra sound are next to be tried before they go to more serious ones like the reproductors for next year to generate extra noise

      1. Like when you were a kid and pegged a piece of cardboard to your bike so it flapped in the spokes as you rode?

    7. Formula One jumps the shark… sad.

  2. Artificial sparks? I didn’t see them that often and they were not spectacular either.

    On the other hand how about banning team radio like in MotoGP?

    Or a monstertruck going anti-clockwise around the track?

    1. @xtw Or after a certain amount of time, all drivers are instructed to turn around and start racing the track backwards (not in reverse gear, though that’s probably just as ludicrous… And therefore obviously a perfect candidate for the FIA to do it).

      1. The reverse gear laps would sort out the Hulkenbergs from the Chiltons!

  3. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    20th June 2014, 10:49

    Rosberg theoretically should perform well here, and based on the sporadic off-board shots of Nico, which unsurprisingly did not include his fastest lap in FP1 (well done Mr FOM Director), looked nicely hooked up already.

  4. Why can’t we have some fireworks when the car takes off from the Tarmac? (a la Ken Block in Gymkhana).

  5. The artificial sparks show that they see F1 more of a show / entertainment than a sport. Back then the sparks were a side-effect of the construction – if the fastest possible construction doesn’t produce them then I also don’t need them.
    I’m loosing interest in F1 pretty fast in recent years. Over at the WEC, they don’t have a close field, the regulations are minimal and different solutions are presented but I see this way more entertaining than an artificial show because I know it’s a real competition.

  6. A best lap of 1 min 11 seconds!!! Would this be the shortest time for a complete lap on any grand prix circuit? I know Brazil is on the 1:10 – 1:15 side.

    1. Yes. In this year’s calendar it will be the shortest time for a lap. Interlagos will be a few seconds slower I guess with around 1:13s.

      1. Although by that time the teams understand the engines a little bit better again.

    2. Yeah, shortest lap time this year, but (for example) the original Dijon circuit had lap times under 1 minute.

  7. Artificial sparks? That’s just lame, ridiculous, pathetic,stupid,… I lack words to describe my feelings about this. I don’t want “a show”, I want proper racing. Get rid of DRS, limit the number of components on the wings to reduce downforce, and introduce wider tires to improve mechanical grip, so we can see some “real” overtaking.

    1. @ludwigmic I am totally with you on the sparks thing, and on the less downforce to more mechanical grip ratio thing I have been there for years going back particularly to the processional MS/Ferrari era.

      Whereas it seems many of us Fanatics think it is a no-brainer to make the racing closer and therefore garner more excitement and audience, I struggle to figure out why F1 feels the right things to do are the artificial things…DRS, double points, fake sound, now sparks.

      I’m assuming their fear is that fewer and fewer youth are watching, just as baseball has that concern as one example that I am aware of. I’ve recently been made aware of the concept that golf is also having such issues…today’s youth, with all the other distractions out there but mainly social media and smart devices, and the continuation of the need for instant gratification, means that young people are looking at the cost to golf, the time commitment per round, and the fact that it isn’t easy and can be frustrating. So the solution, to some, and it is happening here and there, is golf courses with holes the size of dinner plates.

      These things to me fly in the face of reality. The upside of things being challenging is that they are more rewarding when achieved, but try telling that to the youth who aren’t looking for challenges but rather to just sit texting all day long. And be happily distracted from one thing to the next.

      I’m sure it can’t be easy for F1 and other entities to figure out how and what to do to keep or grow their audience these days, but for me and you obviously it can’t or shouldn’t be to make things more and more fake. That can’t ever win the day and can only result, I think, in some temporary attention being paid to things like F1, only for it to be quickly dropped again by that young person that did bother to give it a try. But maybe that is the new reality? As long as people keep jumping in, even if temporarily, but there is a high turnover, so be it, at least the viewership increases?

      I don’t have the answer, and if just making the racing closer was it I would like to think this body of racers would lean toward just making it about back-to-basic racing because they are racers at heart, but yet there has been this decades long addiction to wind tunnels and downforce that has ruled the day. And maybe has brought the numbers to where they now are too.

      But look at soccer (football). The game hasn’t changed in eons, is ‘simple’ in concept while I know being complex in strategy, and is massively popular globally.

      My uneducated solutions for F1 to try. Simplify and bring back close racing or lose the hardcore group you do have on some weak hope that phoniness is some sort of long-term solution…make it more affordable to just jump in and give it a try….make it more accessible with access via social media and apps since that’s where more and more people live now…and stabilize the rules ie. simplify that way. The day that sparks is the answer, metaphorically speaking, is perhaps the day F1 should either smarten up or resign itself to having blown it as a formula.

      1. I am sure the FIA are on the right track, just going to slow, they ought to speed up the process and bring in the celebrity judges to give points for the best crashes with bonuses for making them happen in front of the grandstands, Maldonado could be WDC then.

  8. The Toro Rossos above the Reb Bulls.. Well that just made my day

    1. Looks like RBR are trying extreme low-drag set-ups for a top speed gain.

  9. OMG i thought that was a joke when i first heard about the sparks! I didnt think they were actually trying it! FIA really are a laughing stock.

  10. Does anyone know where I can find footage of the fake sparks?

    1. As far as I know, there are no videos of the FIA meetings…

  11. The charm of sparks was that they weren’t meant to be there – car development was so extreme that every centimetre between the ground and the car was used, and the irregular track surfaces and easy suspensions allowed the undertray to scratch onto the tarmac.
    Due to the increasing limitations we have seen them more and more seldom, but still have from time to time. Just like I love backfires, sparks are cool to see, but wouldn’t be any longer if they, too, became artificial. Their unpredictability, relative harmlessness and the fact they are unplanned is what makes them appreciated!

    1. COTD +1

  12. “running extra skid blocks on his Mercedes to generate more sparks as part of an FIA initiative to make races more exciting”… uh….yeah. Ok.
    Here’s an idea, why doesn’t the FIA paint the tracks Hot Wheels orange, add in a few loops and a couple of jumps cris-crossing the track, sending the cars through a flaming hoop set alight by fire from the exhaust from added fuel injectors in the pipes, all the while blaring AC-DC through the PA system?
    Why is it that every (and I do mean every) other series in the world from Aussie V8s, to BTCC, to WEC, to DTM, even NASCAR, and on and on, can have engaging, exciting racing without comedy add-ons? Perhaps because they just let the teams get on with racing and let that be the show. Canada was awesome, one of the best races I have seen in any series, not because it had sharks with lasers on their heads, but because it was great racing.
    What’s next, Formula Death Race?

  13. The top 11 use either a Mercedes or Ferrari engine. Renault need to get some more power.

  14. Felipe Massa was the fastest through the speed trap at 316.3 km/h (196.5 mp/h). The fastest non-Mercedes was Alonso’s Ferrari with a 4th fastest 313.7 km/h (194.9 mp/h), while the fastest Renault powered car was the 8th fastest Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo at 312.6 km/h (194.2 mp/h).

    Pastor Maldonado’s Lotus-Renault was the slowest through the trap at 305.7 km/h (190 mp/h).

    Results from the F1 website.

  15. I don’t understand the complaining on the sparks … It’s artificial, yes, but it doesn’t make the sport worse in any way …

    By the way, so happy to read something like “Felipe Massa was fourth despite running wide into one of the Red Bull Ring’s gravel traps early in the proceedings.” Gravel traps <3

Comments are closed.