Hamilton Fastest As F-1 Season Finally Begins

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Lewis Hamilton was fastest on the first day of Formula One practice Friday at the Red Bull Ring. (LAT Images Photo)
Lewis Hamilton was fastest on the first day of Formula One practice Friday at the Red Bull Ring. (LAT Images Photo)

SPIELBURG, Austria – The Formula One season finally got underway on Friday at Austria’s Red Bull Ring with a pair of practice sessions ahead of Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton picked up right where he left in 2019 by pacing both practice sessions for Mercedes, setting a top time of 1:04.304. He was followed closely in both practices by his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, who stopped the clock at 1:04.501.

“It’s great to be back. It’s been a long time coming,” said Hamilton. “The new car obviously feels different than the 2018 car we got to test at Silverstone a few weeks ago, but I think we have also been able to continue to improve the car compared to last year, so that’s a big positive. The track was a little bit greasy and while the grip will pick up, it feels like the track only improved a very small amount. It was looking good out there today, but you can never take too much from practice. You never know what power and fuel other teams are running. So we will take today’s result with a pinch of salt, try and improve the car tonight and come back for the fight tomorrow.”

Following the Mercedes duo on the overall timesheet was Racing Point’s Sergio Perez, who was third fastest at 1:04.945. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was fourth overall, followed by Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo in fifth.

The five fastest speeds were all set in Friday’s second practice.