Austrian GP: Hamilton leads Mercedes 1-2 in Practice 1

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It was as if Formula 1 had never been away as Lewis Hamilton led a Mercedes one-two in first practice for the Austrian Grand Prix.

Gloomy skies hovered over the Red Bull Ring but the track had dried from overnight rain, giving teams the perfect opportunity to put in some much-needed laps.

Carlos Sainz was the first man on track for the new season but, surprisingly, it was a relatively slow start as teams got back into the groove.

And just as the first lap times began to be set, with Valtteri Bottas ahead of the two McLaren's, a brief rain shower caused the need for intermediates for a short period.

Soon drivers were back on slicks though, but there was a scare for Sergio Perez as smoke was seen coming from the back of his Racing Point.

Despite fears of another Mercedes engine issue, it seems to have just been a small oil leak, with the Mexican soon back on track and going fastest initially from teammate Lance Stroll.

Mercedes then jumped ahead of their customer team on the soft tyre, first with Valtteri Bottas and then Lewis Hamilton with a 1m04.968s.

Red Bull had a steady start to the session but, despite a spin at Turn 1 on his first flying lap on softs, Max Verstappen would improve to third in the final 10 minutes, albeit six-tenths off the pace.

The expected midfield duel between Racing Point and McLaren was in evidence as Carlos Sainz moved up to fourth for the Woking-based outfit.

Perez though would be fifth in the so-called 'Pink Mercedes', only seven-tenths off the pace set by Hamilton.

Lando Norris was sixth ahead of Alex Albon in the second Red Bull, perhaps indicating the midfield teams will be nibbling at the heels of the top three teams.

Renault is in the mix too with Daniel Ricciardo eighth on the medium tyre, though teammate Esteban Ocon had to spend the final 20 minutes in the garage after the bargeboard broke on the main straight.

It was a tale of two cars at Haas as well, where Kevin Magnussen was ninth, but there was big trouble for Romain Grosjean, who was garage-bound with brakes issues, managing just two laps.

Ferrari's woes were seemingly confirmed with Charles Leclerc only 10th and Sebastian Vettel 12th over a second off the pace, albeit having focused on the medium compound tyre throughout.

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Lance Stroll dropped all the way down to 11th having been second when the lap times become to improve, but he was still between the two Prancing Horses.

The two Alfa Romeo's sat 14th and 15th, with Antonio Giovinazzi just 0.005s ahead of Kimi Raikkonen.

Pierre Gasly was 16th in the first AlphaTauri, ahead of the Williams of George Russell, who for now at least appears to be in touch with the midfield pack.

Rookie teammate Nicholas Latifi was half a second behind in 18th but ahead of Daniil Kvyat, who spun at the final corner, and Grosjean who failed to set a time.