10 July 2020 22:35
Lewis Hamilton finished only sixth as Daniel Ricciardo limped away from a high-speed crash in second practice for the Styrian Grand Prix. Hamilton ended the concluding track action of the day 0.688 seconds down on pace-setter Max Verstappen, with Valtteri Bottas next in the order. Daniel Ricciardo spun and hit the barriers hard at Turn 9️⃣ He was able to get out of his Renault and the medical examiners have declared him fit for the rest of the weekend?#AustrianGP?? Formula One is racing at Austria's Red Bull Ring for a second consecutive week following last Sunday's season opener. Mercedes dominated the first race of the campaign at the same venue – topping all three practice sessions and qualifying before Bottas took the chequered flag.
Valtteri Bottas won the opening race of the season (Mark Thompson/AP) But the all-black cars were knocked off the summit here, first by Sergio Perez in Friday morning's first running, and then Verstappen later in the day. While Bottas finished just 0.043 sec behind Verstappen, Hamilton struggled with the handling of his Mercedes in the soaring temperatures, ending the day more than half a second adrift. After his impressive first showing, Perez finished third in his Racing Point – a car modelled on last year's world championship-winning Mercedes. His team-mate Lance Stroll was fourth to emphasise the team's strong pace. Red Bull driver Alexander Albon took a trip across the gravel as he finished seventh, 0.777 sec off the pace, while Lando Norris, who last week became the youngest British driver to finish on an F1 podium, was eighth for McLaren.
Reigning champion Lewis Hamilton struggled in the middle sector and could only post the sixth fastest time, while Alex Albon was sixth in the other Red Bull. Lando Norris, who secured his first podium in F1 on Sunday, was hit with a three-place penalty for overtaking under yellow flags but set the eighth fastest time, while Ferrari's struggles continued with Charles Leclerc ninth and Sebastian Vettel in 16th nearly two-seconds off the pace. Racing Point's Sergio Perez was the driver to beat in FP1 on Friday morning as F1 returned to the Red Bull Ring for this weekend's Styrian Grand Prix. Perez was followed closely by Max Verstappen of Red Bull and Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes on the timesheets as the Silver Arrows failed to finish 1-2 a practice session for the first time this season. Perez's time of 1m04.867s on soft tyres was 0.051s slower than Lewis Hamilton's fastest lap set in last Friday's FP1 on the same track, but 0.096s faster than Verstappen's time today. The Red Bull driver was testing a new rear-wing for the session while Honda also brought reliability upgrades for their engine after the team suffered a double DNF in last week's Austrian Grand Prix. Third-place Bottas and Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton in fourth were just over two-tenths of a second slower the Racing Point leader – but on medium compound tyres, while Perez's time was set on the softs. Lance Stroll rounded out the top five for Racing Point, half a second back, with Alex Albon in the second Red Bull in sixth-place overall. Lewis Hamilton says it would "suck" if qualifying for Sunday's Styrian Grand Prix can't go ahead as scheduled and he has to start the race sixth on the grid. The Mercedes driver goes into the second meet of the new F1 season on the back foot following last week's fourth-place finish at the same circuit. Hamilton will be desperate to at least get on the podium this time around as he looks to defend his World Drivers' Championship title. The 35-year-old is just seven Grand Prix wins and a title away from matching the achievements of F1 legend Michael Schumacher. LATEST LIVE SPORT TV DEALS Get Sky Sports for just £25 per month for 3 months Get BT Sport for HALF PRICE He's facing starting Sunday's race from an unfamiliar sixth on the grid, however, with qualifying under threat of cancellation. Incoming thunderstorms mean Saturday's action could be called off if it's a washout at the Red Bull Ring - which would see the lap times set in Free Practice 2 decide Sunday's starting grid. Lewis Hamilton is eager for qualifying to go ahead as usual at the Styrian Grand Prix Hamilton would be forced to start on the third row after seeing his pace drop on Friday afternoon due to an unexpected issue with his W11. The six-time F1 champion admits he was off the pace during FP2 and he's hoping qualifying can go ahead so he can put it right. "Others out there are obviously quick and Valtteri [Bottas is] obviously got good pace, so hopefully tomorrow we will be in a bit better position. DON'T MISS Daniel Ricciardo okay after Free Practice 2 crash Sebastian Vettel drops fresh F1 retirement hint F1 chiefs confirm two additions to 2020 season Lewis Hamilton finished fourth at last week's Austrian Grand Prix READ MORE Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel dream team? Mercedes chief speaks out "If we have to start [sixth] that would definitely suck if we don't get to qualify, because P2 wasn't great, starting further back than I was even last week. I'll try to do the dry dance, if there is a dry dance!" The Styrian Grand Prix makes history this weekend as it becomes the first race to be staged at the same track as another meet during the same F1 season. Valtteri Bottas won last week's Austrian Grand Prix and is using his experience in Spielberg to help him this time around.