We already knew that the Mercedes duo were going to be strong this weekend in Austria. Since Formula One has been coming to the Red Bull Ring in 2014, Mercedes has won all four years. Plus, they’re coming off of a dominating weekend last week in France. With an even bigger upgrade this for this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix (9 a.m. ET/ESPN2) how could you not pick them?
After the two practice sessions on Friday, they’re backing up those claims.
Lewis Hamilton was fastest in not one, but both practice sessions in his No. 44 Mercedes on Friday afternoon. He turned a lap around the road course with a time of 1:04.839-seconds in session No. 1 and 1:04.579-seconds in the final session of the day. The England native has won three times this season alone and finished in the top two in three of his four Austria starts. He won the race in 2016.
His teammate Valtteri Bottas was second in both sessions himself as Mercedes was 1-2 all day on Friday. Bottas, circled the track with a time of 1:04.966-seconds in his No. 77 Mercedes in session 1 and 1:04.755-seconds in session 2.
The Red Bulls’ and Ferrari’s were next behind but not close enough to the Silver Arrows.
Max Verstappen was third quick in session No. 1 (1:05.072-seconds) while his teammate Daniel Ricciardo was fifth (1:05.483-seconds). The Ferrari duo was fourth with Sebastien Vettel (1:05.180-seconds) and sixth respectively with Kimi Raikkonen (1:05.776-seconds).
In the final session of the day Vettel this time moved up to third with a time of 1;04.815-seconds while Raikkonen was sixth again 1:05.265-seconds). The Red Bulls were fourth and fifth respectively with Ricciardo fourth (1:05.031-seconds) and Verstsappen fifth (1:05.125-seconds).
On Saturday, the Mercedes drivers were 2-3 in the lone practice session of the day but in qualifying, they locked out the front row with Bottas earning the pole and Hamilton starting second.
The fourth best team was Haas. Romain Grosjean has two straight top seven finishes in Austria and was seventh in each session twice. Kevin Magnussen was 12th in session No. 1 and eighth in session No. 2.
On Saturday, Grosjean was seventh in practice again and Magnussen eighth. They’ll start sixth and eighth respectively for Sunday’s race.