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Speedy Hamilton Reigns As Mercedes Top Austrian Practice

Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton steers his car during the first practice session ahead of the Austrian Formula One Grand Prix in Spielberg, central Austria, on June 29, 2018. PHOTO/AFP
Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton steers his car during the first practice session ahead of the Austrian Formula One Grand Prix in Spielberg, central Austria, on June 29, 2018. PHOTO/AFP
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SPIELBERG, Austria- Lewis Hamilton picked up on Friday morning where he left off in France last Sunday by topping the times for Mercedes in opening free practice for this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix.

Five days after his triumph at Le Castellet, the defending  world champion headed his team-mate Finn Valtteri Bottas in a dominant showing by Mercedes.

The 33-year-old Briton clocked a best lap in one minute and 4.839 seconds to outpace Bottas by one-tenth of a second as the Mercedes men demonstrated the potential of their cars’ revised aerodynamic package.

Mercedes have introduced updated side-pods, front and rear wings just a week after using a revised power unit for the first time in France.

Renault-powered outfit

Dutchman Max Verstappen was third quickest for Red Bull ahead of four-time champion German Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari and Australian Daniel Ricciardo, who will be 29 on Sunday, in the second Red Bull.

Finn Kimi Raikkonen, reported to be a target for McLaren next year if he is freed by Ferrari and if Spaniard Fernando Alonso leaves the Renault-powered outfit, was sixth.

Frenchman Romain Grosjean was seventh for Haas ahead of compatriot Esteban Ocon of Force India and Monegasque prodigy Charles Leclerc of Sauber with another Frenchman Pierre Gasly completing the top ten for Toro Rosso.

The session was largely uneventful and run in cooler conditions with some clouds and a track temperature of 25 degree Celsius (77 Fahrenheit) at the Red Bull Ring track, the shortest on the calendar.


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