Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Red Bull Ring, 2016

Rosberg sets record-breaking pace from the start

2016 Austrian Grand Prix first practice

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Michael Schumacher’s 13-year-old track record at the Red Bull Ring fell in the first practice session for this year’s Austrian Grand Prix.

On a resurfaced track and using ultra-soft tyres, Nico Rosberg beat Schumacher’s 2003 benchmark time of 1’07.908 by over half a second.

Daniel Ricciardo, Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Red Bull Ring, 2016
The Red Bull pair donned Lederhosen-themed overalls
Rosberg set his best time on his second run on the softest tyres but shortly afterwards went off at turn three. Lewis Hamilton was second-quickest and showed Mercedes had more pace in hand by improving on Rosberg’s time in the first sector.

Hamilton also found time for a spin, losing his car at the exit of turn three. Romain Grosjean, following closely behind, also spun as he avoided the Mercedes.

The Ferrari drivers got closest to Mercedes’ pace, Sebastian Vettel ending the session six-tenths of a second down on Rosberg’s mark. Track conditions were a warm 36C – higher than during any of last year’s practice sessions.

At their home track the Red Bulls were over a second down on the silver cars. An unhappy Max Verstappen damaged his car twice on the track’s new kerbs, the second incident breaking his front-right suspension and bringing his session to an end.

Both Toro Rosso and Williams drivers also ended the first session in the top ten, Daniil Kvyat suffering a harmless spin in the final minutes.

Two drivers were under investigation for incidents involving Daniel Ricciardo at turn eight. Marcus Ericsson forced the Red Bull driver wide – though Ricciardo said on the radio the Sauber driver wasn’t to blame – and Rio Haryanto pulled onto the track after a spin as Ricciardo was rounding the corner.

Haryanto’s Manor team mate Pascal Wehrlein was also under investigation for failing to slow sufficiently during a Virtual Safety Car period.

Force India test driver Alfonso Celis took the wheel of Sergio Perez’s car.

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
16Nico RosbergMercedes1’07.37337
244Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’07.7300.35734
35Sebastian VettelFerrari1’08.0220.64928
47Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’08.2220.84931
53Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’08.5281.15534
655Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso-Ferrari1’08.8031.43034
719Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1’08.8241.45139
833Max VerstappenRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’08.9621.58921
926Daniil KvyatToro Rosso-Ferrari1’08.9901.61732
1077Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes1’08.9981.62540
118Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’09.0781.70534
1227Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’09.2801.90743
1322Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Honda1’09.3651.99231
1414Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Honda1’09.5672.19430
1520Kevin MagnussenRenault1’09.7072.33424
1694Pascal WehrleinManor-Mercedes1’09.7752.40234
1730Jolyon PalmerRenault1’09.8512.47828
189Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’09.9292.55635
1921Esteban GutierrezHaas-Ferrari1’10.1102.73720
2012Felipe NasrSauber-Ferrari1’10.3142.94126
2188Rio HaryantoManor-Mercedes1’10.4933.12021
2234Alfonso CelisForce India-Mercedes1’10.8603.48737

First practice visual gaps

Nico Rosberg – 1’07.373

+0.357 Lewis Hamilton – 1’07.730

+0.649 Sebastian Vettel – 1’08.022

+0.849 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’08.222

+1.155 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’08.528

+1.430 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’08.803

+1.451 Felipe Massa – 1’08.824

+1.589 Max Verstappen – 1’08.962

+1.617 Daniil Kvyat – 1’08.990

+1.625 Valtteri Bottas – 1’08.998

+1.705 Romain Grosjean – 1’09.078

+1.907 Nico Hulkenberg – 1’09.280

+1.992 Jenson Button – 1’09.365

+2.194 Fernando Alonso – 1’09.567

+2.334 Kevin Magnussen – 1’09.707

+2.402 Pascal Wehrlein – 1’09.775

+2.478 Jolyon Palmer – 1’09.851

+2.556 Marcus Ericsson – 1’09.929

+2.737 Esteban Gutierrez – 1’10.110

+2.941 Felipe Nasr – 1’10.314

+3.120 Rio Haryanto – 1’10.493

+3.487 Alfonso Celis – 1’10.860

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

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...

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14 comments on “Rosberg sets record-breaking pace from the start”

  1. We are set for a boring weekend ladies and gents.

    1. my thoughts exactly

    2. After Baku, I don’t care how boring this race might be.

  2. F1 won’t be competitive as long as Mercedes have a better engine than Ferrari but F1/2 looks to be shaping up quite well with the Williams and Torro Rosso very close.

  3. I am looking forward to an actual race between Nico and Lewis. Haven’t had one real race this year between the two!

    1. They had it for 1/3rd of a lap in Spain and then BOOM!

  4. Is force India that slow?

    1. They are the only team not to use the SS or US, they have done only Sift tyre running the whole session. Looking at Hulk’s time on softs, they should be pretty much challnging Ferrari and RBR for 2/3rd best car on grid assuming 1sec difference between soft and US

    2. This is a lot more technical track than what you saw at Baku. There’s no super long straight, which gave Force India the advantage in the last race, where pure engine speed mattered a lot. Also the corners require better aero to extract the maximum from the car, whereas the corners at Baku were mostly right-angle (stop and go type). This track favors aero more than pure engine speed.

  5. Williams only 1.5 sec behind Mercedes, confirming Toto Wolff’s prediction that Williams would be fighting Mercedes at the front.

  6. pastaman (@)
    1st July 2016, 12:50

    Celis is impressive in his un-impressiveness. Again.

    1. Why is this guy in a F1 car? Look at his racing resume on Wikipedia. The only thing this guy has achieved in motor racing is using up tires and burning gas.

      1. Money, nothing else, he is useless, but his father is protagonist in one of the most scandalous cases of fraud in Mexico. Unfortunately he probably screwed what would have been another good weekend for Perez.

  7. It’s not on Ch4. It looks like a forgone conclusion.
    I think I’ll spend time with the family instead of watching a low res stream this weekend.

Comments are closed.