Daniel Ricciardo gets down to business in practice at the Austrian Grand Prix. Picture: Charles Coates/Getty Images
Daniel Ricciardo gets down to business in practice at the Austrian Grand Prix. Picture: Charles Coates/Getty Images

Ricciardo fourth in Austrian GP practice

AUSTRALIA'S Daniel Ricciardo finished fourth fastest in practice for the Austrian Grand Prix, as Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton led a Mercedes one-two with Valtteri Bottas.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen was best of the rest in the first session in Spielberg, but slipped back to fifth later on, behind teammate Ricciardo on the team's home track.

"The day was all right," said Ricciardo, who clocked one minute 05.031secs.

"We changed a few things in the second practice. Somewhere in the middle, so we will go somewhere in the middle between P1 and P2 with aero and a few other bits and pieces.

"This morning, we may have been a little bit stronger than the afternoon. We changed a few things. We can find a happy medium between the two set-ups we tried.

"The tyres were all really close, so that is going to be interesting, what strategy people go for tomorrow."

Hamilton who has a 14-point lead over Vettel after eight races, lapped the Red Bull Ring with a best of 1:04.579 in the late afternoon on the hardest tyre available.

He had also been quickest in the overcast opening session in 1:04.839. Finnish teammate Bottas was second in both, at 0.127 and 0.176 slower respectively.

Mercedes has brought aerodynamic improvements to Austria, after a new engine was introduced at the previous race in France, which Hamilton won. The reigning champions have won every race at Spielberg since Austria returned to the calendar in 2014.

Hamilton said: "The car feels better in certain areas around the track which is already a step forward from last week.

Daniel Ricciardo finished fourth in practice at the Austrian GP. Picture: Mark Thompson/Getty
Daniel Ricciardo finished fourth in practice at the Austrian GP. Picture: Mark Thompson/Getty

"The car felt immediately better coming out of the garage in FP1."

Bottas, winner in Austria last year from pole, also agreed the updates were working well.

Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari filled the top six places on the time sheets in both sessions, with Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen sixth in both.

French driver Romain Grosjean - who has yet to score a point this season - was seventh in both on a promising day for the US-owned Haas team.

Honda-powered Toro Rosso had Pierre Gasly inside the top 10 in both sessions, although he damaged the car's suspension in the second stint.


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