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Austrian GP: Hamilton remains ahead in disrupted Practice 2

Written by  Jun 30, 2018

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes maintained their grip on the top of the timesheets as the Briton led another team 1-2 in the second practice session at the Austrian GP.

During the usual mid-session qualifying simulations, the world champion lowered his morning benchmark with a 1m04.579s to have almost two-tenths in hand over teammate Valtteri Bottas, a handy margin around the shortest lap of the year in terms of lap time.

Sebastian Vettel kept Ferrari in the picture in third, within a quarter of a second of his main championship rival, but Red Bull are struggling a little at their home race with Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen both unable to fight the ideal set-up in fourth and fifth respectively.

Kimi Raikkonen was sixth, only just in front of the two Haas cars as the American team once again looks like leading the midfield pack in Spielberg.

Romain Grosjean was seventh for the second consecutive session with teammate Kevin Magnussen the last man within a second of Hamilton in eighth.

Pierre Gasly was ninth for Toro Rosso, but he would cause a red flag towards the end of the low fuel runs after being the biggest casualty of the 'baguette' kerbs at Turns 9 and 10, breaking his front-left suspension and ending up in the gravel.

Several other drivers also suffered damaged floors and had pieces fall off front wings as they ran wide through the high-speed corners.

Completing the top 10 was Stoffel Vandoorne in the McLaren, half a second and eight places ahead of teammate Fernando Alonso, who was one of the drivers who needed a floor change after running wide.

The Belgian was also running the new MGU-K that Renault has brought to Austria and has installed in both their works cars. Neither would feature inside the top 10 all day, however, with Carlos Sainz 11th and Nico Hulkenberg 15th.

Charles Leclerc again looks like a possible Q3 contender in qualifying after managing P12 in second practice with Sauber in general, looking more competitive as Marcus Ericsson sat in 14th.

Force India struggled for pace with Esteban Ocon their lead driver in 13th, six places ahead of teammate Sergio Perez in 19th.

The performance of Sergey Sirotkin was also noteworthy as, having sat out for Robert Kubica in FP1, the Russian stepped in for the afternoon and beat Lance Stroll by three-tenths of a second.

Perhaps the most interesting summary to come from the session was Hamilton's best time came on the Soft compound tyre, supposedly the hardest and slowest compound available this weekend.

His fast laps on the Ultrasoft rubber were often within thousandths of beating it but in the cool, overcast conditions there was very little to choose between all three types of tyre.

Sunnier and warmer weather is predicted for the weekend though, so it will be interesting to see if that changes the complexion of the pecking order in qualifying and the race.

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