Lewis Hamilton ensured he made an emphatic start to Formula 1’s return on the first track session of the 2020 season by leading a Mercedes one-two in the team’s new-look car in Austrian GP Practice One.
Some 215 days after Hamilton took the final chequered flag of the last campaign with victory in Abu Dhabi, F1 finally commenced its new season amid strict COVID-19 protocols in the paddock and pit garages at a spectator-free Red Bull Ring.
- F1 is back: Sky F1’s Austrian GP Schedule
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And it was Hamilton who made the fastest start of all as Mercedes’ powerful new black, anti-racism livery made its first track appearance on the W11.
Hamilton got faster as the session progressed and ended up three tenths of a second clear of Valtteri Bottas on a 1:04.816.
Max Verstappen was third for Red Bull, the track owners and winners of the last two Austrian GPs. However, the Dutchman was 0.6s off Hamilton’s pace and spun at Turn One.
McLaren finished promising fourth and sixth fastest with Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris respectively, with Sergio Perez in the heavily-fancied Racing Point fifth fastest.
Ferrari were down in 10th and 12th but ran on harder tyres with their early focus seemingly on race pace.
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