SETTING THE PACE: Mercedes' Nico Rosberg was fastest during the first free practice session ahead of the 2015 Austrian Formula 1 GP. Image: AP / Andy Wong
SPIELBERG, Austria - Mercedes set the pace during first practice for the 2015 Austrian GP on Friday (June 19) while Ferrari principal Maurizio Arrivabene risked being run over in the pits by his team's former driver Felipe Massa.
While Formula 1 champion team Mercedes led the times, as expected and with Nico Rosberg fastest ahead of championship leader Lewis Hamilton, Arrivabene's moment of inattention provided an early talking point.
LAUGH IT OFF
Arrivabene stepped off the pits wall as Massa's Williams was pulling out of the garage, jumping back as the driver braked, and then giving him a thumbs-up. Both were able to laugh about it afterwards.
The Ferrari boss had something to smile and to frown about on the track with Kimi Raikkonen posting the third-best time while four-times champion Sebastian Vettel parked after losing fourth gear.
Vettel completed only four laps and was slowest on the time sheets with a lap of 1min15.68; Rosberg logged 1min10.401.
Hamilton, who sounded tetchy on the team radio, was 0.308sec slower than his team mate.
Hamilton said over the team radio, in response to one request: "How many changes do you guys want me to do, can I just focus on driving?"
Several drivers, including Hamilton, ran off at the penultimate corner on an overcast day after a damp start to the morning.
McLaren's Fernando Alonso, with a big upgrade on his car but an even bigger grid penalty coming his way because of changes to his power unit, was only 17th fastest after a troubled start that saw his car break down before he'd done a lap.
He was confined to the garage until the final 15 minutes.
Valtteri Bottas was fourth-fastest for Mercedes-powered Williams on the track where, in 2014, he took his first podium finish.
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Austrian GP First practice results
1 Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 1min10.401
2 Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes 1min10.709
3 Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari 1min11.028
4 Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams-Mercedes 1min11.452
5 Felipe Nasr (Brazil) Sauber - 1min11.633
6 Daniil Kvyat (Russia) Red Bull - 1min11.642
7 Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Red Bull - 1min11.724
8 Max Verstappen (Netherlands) Toro Rosso - 1mi11.825
9 Felipe Massa (Brazil) Williams-Mercedes 1min11.890
10 Sergio Perez (Mexico) Force India - Mercedes 1min11.905
11 Carlos Sainz Jr (Spain) Toro Rosso - Renault 1min11.948
12 Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Lotus - 1min12.004
13 Nico Hulkenberg (Germany) Force India - 1min12.031
14 Jolyon Palmer (Britain) Lotus - 1min12.050
15 Marcus Ericsson (Sweden) Sauber - 1min12.159
16 Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 1min12.920
17 Fernando Alonso (Spain) McLaren 1min13.272
18 Will Stevens (Britain) Marussia - 1min13.937
19 Roberto Merhi (Spain) Marussia - 1min15.459
20 Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Ferrari 1min15.684