Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Red Bull Ring, 2020

Hamilton leads Mercedes one-two, Ferrari only 10th in first practice

2020 Austrian Grand Prix first practice

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Lewis Hamilton led the first official practice session of the Formula 1 season at the Red Bull Ring.

Almost four months after the heavily disrupted championship was due to begin, and thousands of kilometres from its original season-opening event in Melbourne, the season got underway on a damp circuit.

Drivers conducted their first laps on intermediate tyres but despite a brief rain shower the track dried out quickly and most were able to complete useful running over the opening 90 minutes.

Hamilton led team mate Valtteri Bottas in a Mercedes one-two which, aside from their new black liveries, was very familiar from recent seasons. The quickest of their rivals, Max Verstappen in the Red Bull, was over six-tenths of a second shy of Hamilton’s benchmark. He also had a quick, harmless spin at the exit of turn one.

Two other cars were within a tenth of a second of the Red Bull and, surprisingly, neither was a Ferrari. Carlos Sainz Jnr was just a hundredth of a second shy in his McLaren, and Sergio Perez put the much-fancied Racing Point in the mix. Lando Norris backed his team mate up in sixth, followed by Alexander Albon.

Before the session begin Ferrari warned they expected a difficult weekend with their SF1000, and the first hour-and-a-half of running appeared to bear that out. Charles Leclerc was the quickest of the two but could only manage 10th, 1.1 seconds off Hamilton, behind Daniel Ricciardo’s Renault and Kevin Magnussen’s Haas.

However the other Haas was unable to set a representative time: Brake problems at Haas limited Romain Grosjean to just three laps in the VF-20. At Renault Esteban Ocon’s first session back in action was cut short when his RS20 shed a piece of bodywork.

The field was closely spaced as usual around the short Red Bull Ring. Daniil Kvyat, last of those who set representative times, was only 2.1s slower than Hamilton. He gave George Russell a fright after spinning in front of the Williams at the final corner.

Russell’s 17th place, within a tenth of a second of the other AlphaTauri and close to the two Alfa Romeos, gives his team some encouragement that the FW43 is a solid improvement over its unloved predecessor.

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2020 Austrian Grand Prix first practice lap times

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
144Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’04.81642
277Valtteri BottasMercedes1’05.1720.35638
333Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda1’05.4180.60237
455Carlos Sainz JnrMcLaren-Renault1’05.4310.61541
511Sergio PerezRacing Point-Mercedes1’05.5120.69633
64Lando NorrisMcLaren-Renault1’05.6210.80541
723Alexander AlbonRed Bull-Honda1’05.7010.88529
83Daniel RicciardoRenault1’05.8601.04429
920Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’05.9071.09127
1016Charles LeclercFerrari1’05.9241.10831
1118Lance StrollRacing Point-Mercedes1’06.0741.25834
125Sebastian VettelFerrari1’06.0771.26132
1331Esteban OconRenault1’06.2701.45422
1499Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’06.3601.54424
157Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’06.3651.54928
1610Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Honda1’06.4041.58825
1763George RussellWilliams-Mercedes1’06.4951.67927
186Nicholas LatifiWilliams-Mercedes1’06.9062.09031
1926Daniil KvyatAlphaTauri-Honda1’06.9432.12719
208Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’46.36141.5456

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First practice visual gaps

Lewis Hamilton – 1’04.816

+0.356 Valtteri Bottas – 1’05.172

+0.602 Max Verstappen – 1’05.418

+0.615 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’05.431

+0.696 Sergio Perez – 1’05.512

+0.805 Lando Norris – 1’05.621

+0.885 Alexander Albon – 1’05.701

+1.044 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’05.860

+1.091 Kevin Magnussen – 1’05.907

+1.108 Charles Leclerc – 1’05.924

+1.258 Lance Stroll – 1’06.074

+1.261 Sebastian Vettel – 1’06.077

+1.454 Esteban Ocon – 1’06.270

+1.544 Antonio Giovinazzi – 1’06.360

+1.549 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’06.365

+1.588 Pierre Gasly – 1’06.404

+1.679 George Russell – 1’06.495

+2.090 Nicholas Latifi – 1’06.906

+2.127 Daniil Kvyat – 1’06.943

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

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2020 Austrian Grand Prix

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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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31 comments on “Hamilton leads Mercedes one-two, Ferrari only 10th in first practice”

  1. Looks like something has gone wrong with the car-engine table.. Haas-Honda, Renault-Ferrari

  2. No surprises thus far, same feeling as winter testing.

  3. Mr. Marchionne, we miss you.

  4. When Renault realise their engine is so bad they start running Ferrari engines instead.

  5. Very interesting session, I’m happy to see McLaren losing none of their speed and being seemingly quicker than the Racing Point. Ferrari and Red Bull will show their true pace in the quali runs but judging by today’s action, they will be two or three tenths down on Mercedes. Kudos to Williams for their performance, they seem to be in the midfield mix again.

    1. RBR did show their true pace towards the end.
      Ferrari ran entire session on single set of Mediums so they might get little “faster” but not by much.

      1. @Chaitanya Not a single set as they had to return the first set during the session.
        Regarding RBR: Too early to judge as a practice is just practice.

  6. tony mansell
    3rd July 2020, 11:51

    Shame Russell had to bale on his last lap, I didn’t quite catch the last delta time but the (massively annoying) Croft’ie’ said it was a second shy, of pole, of his own lap I don’t know. Anyway, still only 0.1 off the pack. Encouraging for them and him.

  7. I know we’ve said this many times since 2 days ago when it was presented…
    but GOD DAMN THAT BLACK MERCEDES LOOKS MEAN !
    I mean look at it on the top picture, it reminds me when Jeremy Clarkson reviewed the McLaren P1 and called it “The Widowmaker”.

    It’s like it saying “I’m not hear to present the corporate picture of the Silver Arrows win races, i’m here to demolish every inch of competition forever”

    1. here* come on autocorrect…don’t ruin it every time :(

    2. Glad to see you still have enthusiasm for a car that has made F1 boring and predictable. Mine is gone for soms years now..

      1. First i am just commenting on the looks and just that and that’s entirely subjective.

        Second, yeah shame on them for working harder and smarter than everyone else when they should have keep making constant mistakes to let Ferrari and Red Bull win when the latter ones produced worse cars!
        If F1 was just, their success should have been punished just because it’s unfair that they work as a team and no as a unorganised mess like the other do!

    3. Nik (@nickelodeon81)
      3rd July 2020, 12:37

      It looks awesome.

    4. I thought the same thing, that Benz is sharp. It is really stunning.

  8. Jockey Ewing
    3rd July 2020, 12:16

    Danny Ricc drives a Renault-Ferrari, the mission is definitely winnow according to Mr Cyril. Designing the livery for a car like that offers a lot of opportunities, I don’t know where I would start.
    Oh and KMag and Grosjean already haas an upgraded engine, but they are not topping the table, so Mr. Steiner warns them “You better be like a bull that’s a flyer or I gonna fire you either”.

    1. Jockey Ewing
      3rd July 2020, 12:24

      Although promising laptimes for Renault’s, Ricciardo ended the testing with a quite good one, and continues where he left off, especially considering they not completed too many laps at this session.
      Also promising for KMag, Giovinazzi, and Williams team.

  9. It seems important to me that the news is given in a transparent and objective way !!!
    For there is no mention of the fact that the best laps recorded by the classifieds up to the 7th use soft tires, and also the 9th, 11th, 17th and 18th ranked used soft tires.
    All the others used the mediums to get the best laps recorded. Including Ferrari.
    For this reason, I find the title of the news and the approach to its development, not very transparent and objective.

    1. tony mansell
      3rd July 2020, 12:41

      SHeeesshh. Lighten up dude, just first practice and it wasn’t the lead headline on the Washington Post

  10. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    3rd July 2020, 12:27

    Don’t get the fuss over the black Mercedes. It’s just a black car. I hope they don’t run off with both championships with as much ease as usual. Though if they do at least it’s a short year.

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      3rd July 2020, 12:55

      I think a lot of it is heavily down to the fact it is the first time they have changed it so dramatically in simply years. Plus they normally get the most TV view time. I think it could also be to do with the fact people are respecting the reasons why it now has changed.

      Looks wise, if it had looked like this for years without the same reason behind it, I think people would almost certainly find this more dull than what they’ve had for years.

      It is interesting, but only because it is a change. I don’t think it is even close to being the best on the grid.

    2. Sure the effect of the sudden change makes us think it’s better than if we got used to that. Look at Williams Martini, in 2014 everyone was saying it was the best livery since…ever, yet by 2018 and after 5 years of the exact same livery most of us got bored of it.

      Looks are entirely subjective. I usually found Mercedes’s liveries were ok but not no outstanding, yet i thought last years Mercedes’s livery was the best they ever produced because of the 3-point-star motif a the back and the good execution overall. Personaly i think that this years it’s a good execution of a black livery, simple, clean, the turquoise and red look better than in the grey (which was inferior to the 2019 grey one). And if you think that a team can’t go wrong with a black livery then take a look at the mess that was the 2014 Lotus E22…

      As for performance on track, i also don’t want them to win again, but looks are a different subject…

      1. Adam (@rocketpanda)
        3rd July 2020, 13:24

        Yeah, it’s just because it’s different people are losing their minds over it. For me it’s not even the best livery on this year’s grid, let alone one of the best ever. Fundamentally it’s just a black car, and from a personal standpoint I’m so bored of whites/blacks/greys – there’s so many different colours available in a variety of shades! The message behind it is a good one but I just wish the grid was more… colourful.

        I’d really like a different team to win the championship. I’m not fussed who actually, I’d just like the difference.

        1. It just looks like a black racing point ;-)

  11. Lewisham Milton
    3rd July 2020, 12:27

    Good session for drivers with repeating numbers on their cars… Giovinazzi didn’t join in but at least he beat Kimi. Clearly a load of symbolics.

  12. The highlight of FP1 for me was learning Red Bull have their own DAS ready to go.

    F1 is back! At last.

    1. Where did you hear that? I expect they have one ready but that’s me!

      1. During FP1 – Sky were chatting with Horner

  13. Congrats on the contract Charles, enjoy your 5 years.

  14. Keith, Dieter, anyone,

    does anyone know what happened to the 40 minute tyre rule in FP1? Several drivers carried on well over 40 minutes (or even 50) on the same tyres. Has the rule been dropped? (it’s still in the regs). I didn’t see a race control message regarding an extension of it?

    1. I have figured this now. In accordance with the regs, as the track was declared wet, those who then did 2 laps on Inters forego the 40 minute tyre rule, hence why we saw several drivers start a flying lap on Inters before pitting.

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