Lewis Hamilton & Sebastian Vettel ease Austrian GP practice fears
Lewis only fifth fastest; Vettel suffers transmission and gearbox glitches in both sessions
By Pete Gill
Last Updated: 20/06/15 8:45am
Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel have played down their contrasting struggles in Friday practice for the Austrian GP.
While Vettel set the fastest time of the day, he also missed half of the day’s sessions due to transmission and then gearbox gremlins which struck his Ferrari car in both the morning and afternoon.
Hamilton, meanwhile, was just fifth quickest in the afternoon after a mistake on his flying lap that bore similarities to the race-costing errors he made last year in qualifying at the deceptively-tricky Red Bull Ring.
However, just as Vettel dismissed fears that his gearbox glitch meant he faced a potential grid penalty, Hamilton insisted he was pleased with his day’s work.
"On the lap I was on, I was fourth-tenths up on Nico [Rosberg]. I'm happy with it," Hamilton told Sky Sports F1. "There isn't much to change."
Asked about the threat from Ferrari, Hamilton remarked: "We always take it very seriously. The team are probably more focused on it than I am. Strategies are not my job, I just go and drive and drive the socks off the car."
Although Rosberg topped the timesheets in a Practice One session that was run exclusively on the soft tyres, the Ferraris of Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen appeared to be more than a match for the Mercedes W06s when both sets of cars were running on the supersoft compound.
"We're always a bit worried about Ferrari as they're our closest rival, and naturally they're closer here because it's a very short track," said Rosberg.
Vettel, though, remains guarded while Raikkonen rued a lack of running on the faster but more brittle supersofts after flat-spotting his set.
“They are always able to make a step overnight so hopefully we can stick with them and put a lot of pressure on them,” said the former world champion.
Raikkonen added: “It was a normal Friday and I only did one lap on the supersofts. I would have preferred a long run but I destroyed it. We did the soft run and it was more or less ok.”
Raikkonen’s setback leaves both Ferrari drivers short of track experience heading into the weekend at a circuit which F1 only retuned to last year after a decade-long absence.
“It’s a circuit where you need to get into a rhythm and obviously it helps the more laps you can do. We didn’t do as many as we wanted but that’s how it is,” Vettel said.
There was further drama in the Ferrari camp when team boss Maurizio Arrivabene walked across the pitlane into the path of Felipe Massa's Williams, with an accident only narrowly avoided by the Brazilian's quick braking. “I’m his friend and I didn’t want to hit him – so I braked!" Massa quipped.
Don’t miss Sky Sports F1’s exclusively live coverage of the 2015 Austrian GP. The race begins at 1pm on Sunday, with build-up underway from 11.30am. No Sky Sports? No problem! Watch the Austrian GP for £6.99 with NOW TV