Updates: 03.07.2020 19:13
Spielberg (Austria) – Training for the Austrian Grand Prix The new year of the Formula 1 World Championship started today, but the forced coronavirus break did not bring much change. Defending champion Lewis Hamilton dominated both races in front of his Mercedes teammate Valtter Bottas.
The six-time world champion Hamilton on the circuit in Spielberg, where he will ride next week, won the morning practice with a time of 1: 04.816 and in the second he was even five tenths faster. Only Bottas could keep up with him, falling four tenths in the morning and two in the afternoon.
“Undoubtedly it looks good, but it’s hard to draw any major conclusions from training. Opponents have been able to try different settings, so I look at the results with great reserve. We’ll see if we can still improve the car,” Hamilton was quoted as saying by the BBC.
Sergio Pérez was third in the second faster practice, the driver of the Racing Point stable was six tenths behind Hamilton. Just behind him ended the four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel from Ferrari, who is celebrating his 33rd birthday today, and improved the twelfth place from the morning.
The winner of the previous two races in Austria, Max Verstappen, took eighth place. The pilot of the Red Bull home team lost one second to the first place and lost five places compared to the morning practice.
Charles Leclerc did not succeed either, as he followed the tenth place in the morning with the ninth place. The Monaco pilot confirmed that Ferrari did not arrive in Austria in optimal form. He announced in advance that he would not be able to solve the technical shortcomings of the cars until the third race of the season in Hungary.
Today’s trainings were for the pilots the first joint rides since the traditional February tests in Barcelona. The World Cup was supposed to start in Australia in March, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, seven of the original 22 races have been canceled and there are only eight Grand Prix in the revised calendar.
The training was accompanied by strict measures against the spread of coronavirus, for which the participants of the championship must be tested regularly. The stables must not come into contact with each other, everyone, including the mechanics in the depot, must wear veils and the races will run without a fan until further notice.
“It looks like we’re in a hospital with all those masks and protective gear. But otherwise everything goes more or less as usual,” said Red Bull boss Christian Horner.
Trainings for the Austrian Grand Prix, Formula 1 World Championship race in Spielberg:
First training: 1. Hamilton (Brit./Mercedes) 1:04,816, 2. Bottas (Fin./Mercedes) -0,356, 3. Verstappen (Niz./Red Bull) -0,602, 4. Sainz (Šp./McLaren) -0,615, 5. Pérez (Mex./Racing Point) -0,696, 6. Norris (Brit./McLaren) -0,805.
Rainbow training: 1. Hamilton 1: 04,304, 2. Bottas -0,197, 3. Pérez -0,641, 4. Vettel (Germany / Ferrari) -0,657, 5. Ricciardo (Austr./Renault) -0,668, 6. Norris -0,783.