Hamilton and Mercedes dominate opening day in Austria

The world champion tops the time sheets in both of Friday's free practice sessions
Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes W11Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes W11
Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes W11

Mercedes sent ominious signals to the rest of the F1 paddock by surging ahead of the rest at the Austrian Grand Prix on Friday.

Seeking a record-equalling seventh world title, Lewis Hamilton headed team-mate Valtteri Bottas in both of the sessions at the Red Bull Ring, leading the rest of the field by six tenths of second.

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While there were spins for both Red Bull Racing drivers Max Verstappen and Alex Albon, and excursions off track for Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, both Mercedes cars kept their noses clean as they pounded around the short circuit with relative ease.

Hamilton's fastest lap of the day was a 1:04.304, 0.197s ahead of Bottas.

The Racing Point of Sergio Perez was something of a surprise package with the third fastest time of FP2 in a car heavily influenced by the 2019 Mercedes W10, while Sebastian Vettel was fourth fastest.

Verstappen, who has won the last two races at the Red Bull Ring, was only quick enough for eighth in FP2, nearly a second off the pace of the Mercedes having been 'best of the rest' during the opening 90-minute session, while team-mate Alex Albon was 13th a further quarter of a second adrift.