Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Red Bull Ring, 2018

Hamilton quickest on hardest tyres in second practice

2018 Austrian Grand Prix second practice

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Lewis Hamilton stayed on top in the second practice session for the Austrian Grand Prix and set his quickest time on the hardest tyres available.

The Mercedes driver set a benchmark time of 1’04.579 on soft tyres early in the session. Following a brief red flag, he returned to the track on ultra-soft tyres but was unable to improve on his best time.

Team mate Valtteri Bottas made it a second consecutive one-two for Mercedes in practice. However Ferrari replaced Red Bull as their closest rivals: Sebastian Vettel ended the session two-tenths of a second off Hamilton’s best time.

Daniel Ricciardo was first among the Red Bull drivers, though Max Verstappen was less than a tenth of a second behind. Kimi Raikkonen rounded off a top six which contained all the usual suspects.

Haas underlined their status as ‘best of the rest’ as Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen set the seventh and eighth-fastest times. Pierre Gasly was ninth-quickest for Toro Rosso despite causing the red flag when he broke his suspension on a kerb and skidded into a gravel trap.

Stoffel Vandoorne gave McLaren some encouragement by rounding off the top 10. But team mate Fernando Alonso, who was half a second slower, ended up 19th.

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
144Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’04.57937
277Valtteri BottasMercedes1’04.7550.17642
35Sebastian VettelFerrari1’04.8150.23653
43Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’05.0310.45248
533Max VerstappenRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’05.1250.54648
67Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’05.2650.68642
78Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’05.4290.85038
820Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’05.5590.98041
910Pierre GaslyToro Rosso-Honda1’05.7581.17931
102Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren-Renault1’05.9301.35146
1155Carlos Sainz JnrRenault1’05.9991.42038
1216Charles LeclercSauber-Ferrari1’06.0961.51730
1331Esteban OconForce India-Mercedes1’06.1331.55443
149Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’06.1991.62029
1527Nico HulkenbergRenault1’06.2731.69442
1635Sergey SirotkinWilliams-Mercedes1’06.3261.74748
1728Brendon HartleyToro Rosso-Honda1’06.3321.75355
1811Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’06.3541.77548
1914Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Renault1’06.4291.85033
2018Lance StrollWilliams-Mercedes1’06.6262.04744

Second practice visual gaps

Lewis Hamilton – 1’04.579

+0.176 Valtteri Bottas – 1’04.755

+0.236 Sebastian Vettel – 1’04.815

+0.452 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’05.031

+0.546 Max Verstappen – 1’05.125

+0.686 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’05.265

+0.850 Romain Grosjean – 1’05.429

+0.980 Kevin Magnussen – 1’05.559

+1.179 Pierre Gasly – 1’05.758

+1.351 Stoffel Vandoorne – 1’05.930

+1.420 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’05.999

+1.517 Charles Leclerc – 1’06.096

+1.554 Esteban Ocon – 1’06.133

+1.620 Marcus Ericsson – 1’06.199

+1.694 Nico Hulkenberg – 1’06.273

+1.747 Sergey Sirotkin – 1’06.326

+1.753 Brendon Hartley – 1’06.332

+1.775 Sergio Perez – 1’06.354

+1.850 Fernando Alonso – 1’06.429

+2.047 Lance Stroll – 1’06.626

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

2018 Austrian Grand Prix

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29 comments on “Hamilton quickest on hardest tyres in second practice”

  1. These Pirelli tyres are a bit farcical when the harder soft compound is faster than the (supposed) softer ultra-soft there’s clearly something wrong.

    1. @arahman93 It isn’t faster. There could very well be other factors which have led to this outcome for this practice session. We don’t know the fuel loads, for example, how much each driver had fuel onboard during his personal best lap, nor the engine modes, etc.

      1. it could very well be faster too, we are talking Pirreli here

      2. Also Mercedes haven’t historically been great at getting performance out of the softer Pirelli tyres. Did other teams go faster after changing from the harder compounds? (didn’t get to follow FP live today :( )

  2. Does anyone know what tyres Vandoorne was on when he set his best time?

    1. Vandoorne on Ultrasofts and Alonso on Supersofts.

  3. RAI is such a liability these days…

    1. @mg1982

      Even though I agree with you, that’s ever so slightly harsh to say after a routine FP2 result.

    2. He has been like that since he rejoined Limping horses back in 2014. His Lotus days were probably the last time we saw best racing from him.

      1. or maybe those lotus cars were even better than what we saw from him.

        1. Indeed, we had only Grosjean as a yardstick and he’s not really setting the world alight (even compared to Magnussen).

    3. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
      29th June 2018, 16:48

      I understand its vogue to bang on Kimi, but lets be realistic, when has Ferrari ever been able to provide a strong 2nd car? I can think of 3-4 seasons in the last 18 or so years were the 2nd team was better than average, and all of those were in the 2000’s, so none this decade.

      We also have to factor is Kimi’s motivation level, which is linked closely with his treatment by his team. When he was at McLaren, he was treated fairly and did well. During the 2007 season and beginning part of 2008, he was treated fairly and did well. Once Ferrari shifted focus on Massa, Kimi’s form fell off. Then is 2009 with a horrible car, Kimi couldn’t be bothered too much. Same situation at Lotus. When he was treated fairly, he did well. Once he started having issues with the team’s management, including not getting paid, he stopped caring and his results fell way off. Since coming aboard in 2014, he’s had to play second fiddle to both Fernando and Seb, even to the detriment of Ferrari’s WCC… Anything from not getting new spec parts at the same time, to bad quali strategies, to really atrocious race strategies, to on track team orders. Heck he wasn’t allowed to pass Seb who had a wounded car, he’s also had his strategy completely compromised in order to hold up a Merc after pitstops so Seb can hopefully catch up.

      I don’t think Kimi is washed up. I think he’s just mentally done with Ferrari and playing 2nd fiddle.

      1. @braketurnaccelerate Fair comment. And let’s be honest: Ferrari has a gift at crushing the motivation of a driver. Not only Raikkonen, but after that ridiculous episode at Hockenheimring-2010, Massa was never the same. He underperformed so dreadful in those years that people overpraise Alonso’s fights as if he drove the car like Fred Flintstone. Barrichello also suffered loads of discredit, although he had the chance to escape that with a nice contract with McLaren or Williams, if I remember well, and preferred to be the squire.

      2. Yet he never, ever makes public the fact that being number two driver demotivates him. So he has effectively accepted that treatment. That’s why it’s so sink or swim. Alonso and his fans complained when Hamilton demanded equal treatment in 2007, but unless you do, you’re almost automatically labelled a number two driver for your career. Ricciardo challenged Vettel at Red Bull and gained a number one driver allure, even helping push Vettel out, until Verstappen showed up with the same attitude, and they’re now both competing for that status. I imagine if Leclerc does take Raikkonen’s place he’ll be canny enough to accept team orders when demanded of him without complaint, but, like Ricciardo, outperform Vettel in enough qualifying sessions and races to the point that Ferrari will have little option but to accept him as equal number one. And that would actually improve the chances of both in the WDC and obviously Ferrari in the WCC.

      3. I agree with almost all you said, I don’t think “he wasn’t allowed to pass him in hungary 2017 with a wounded car” was fair, it’s hungary we’re talking about, almost like monaco for overtakes, hamilton couldn’t pass raikkonen even though he was faster than ferraris in the race, and raikkonen couldn’t pass vettel, team orders are secondary here, only if they had told vettel to let raikkonen pass would raikkonen get 1st place, but team orders to not pass are irrelevant, you don’t pass anyway.

        1. people tend to not understand the nature of the circuit and think raikonen wasnt allowed to pass, when he simply couldnt, just like you said, hamilton couldnt get close to bottas and had to ask for team help and then he unleashed all that power just to find raikonen in front and not be able to overtake him..

          monaco, kimi was in front of vettel with slow pace, vettel stayed like 2 seconds behind so he didnt cook his tires, raikonen being first obviously he was sent to pit first(strategy preference), vettel then unleashed all the pace he had.. put 3 stuning lap while raikonen tires were heating to the right temperature.. seb pit and comes out in front… no team order, no dirty play.. that kind of thing doesn’t happen to vettel, cuz when he is in front he will try to escape.. not pretending to be the safety car and controlling the pace of everybody behind

    4. Because he’s 6th on Fri? Please. Most times this year RAI has been faster on Fri, but crap in quali, then gets on the podium on Sunday. Yes, he’s in the twilight of his career, and yes, he is not as fast as VET, but he is making more points than the the last couple years when the car didn’t suit his style. This is the best Kimi we have had for years, relax, have an ice cream, and relish it.

  4. 1:04.xx. Is that close to the shortest (in terms of time) lap ever?

    1. Close, yes. I think Dijon had the shortest laptime (under a minute) with it’s original layout in 1974.

  5. digitalrurouni
    29th June 2018, 17:22

    Seems like the upgrades Mercedes brought to the track seem to be doing well. Any time I see Hamilton topping FP times out of the box I usually find he takes pole and then usually the win. I hope the championship goes to the wire but I doubt that will happen. Wasn’t Hamilton behind last year around this time by 14 or so points?

    1. Yes, hamilton is in a better position than last year, which is bad and is due to 1) ferrari throwing away points with vettel’s mistakes, pit errors and bad luck with verstappen, and 2) pirelli making special tyres that favor mercedes at 3 tracks this year, 2 have already happened and in both mercedes was the strongest car, such a coincidence when it was mercedes asking for those tyres!

      However, these times are pretty close in the free practice, usually when mercedes is strongest they have a bigger margin in the FP, here it could go either way, I had some hopes red bull would be strong here, but it looks like it’s gonna be a fight mercedes vs ferrari, with red bull rear gunners.

      1. That tyre nonsense has been completely debunked, particularly by Vettel, so mentioning it devalues the rest of your comment.

      2. Be nice if you mentioned that he wouldn’t have the lead at all if Bottas hadn’t had such atrocious luck.

        He’s actually been the better of the Mercedes Drivers so far not Hamilton. I agree that Ferrari are their own worst enemy but let’s at least recognise that Bottas is performing as well as any of them.

        Tyres have had nothing to do with anything. Bad luck and poor overall performance have.

  6. By my rough calculations, anything less than 2 seconds off the pole time is an improvement for McLaren, so either McLaren have found a lot of pace or the leaders are sandbagging.

  7. It is going to be interesting and close race. Ferrari pace can not be clearly detected in Friday as they always run engine on lower modes. Nevertheless in race simulation today they match Merc pace which is strong base for strong race. And they clearly solved their issue with tyre degradation which was represented in different strategy in France. I do believe we will see very close race Sunday.

    1. You need to remember mercedes also run their engines in a lower mode for practice as well. Sure I read mercedes have a practice mode, qualifying mode and race mode.

  8. Oh wonderful, looks like a Hamilton runaway/snoozefest this weekend. Hopefully someone kamikazes him into turn 1, otherwise this will be a boring race.

    1. YellowSubmarine
      30th June 2018, 7:37

      Perfectly ok with those who like him though. Go ahead and snooze away.

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