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Hamilton fastest twice as Mercedes dominate Austrian practice



Spielberg (Austria) (AFP) – Lewis Hamilton gave his Mercedes team a thank-you speech on Friday after leading Valtteri Bottas twice in a dominating one-two at the Austrian Grand Prix.

The leading Brit and his champion The Finnish team-mate was the fastest in both training sessions on the debut of his improved aerodynamics package just one week after the introduction of a revised engine.

"It was a good day – pretty straightforward with no real problems," said Hamilton. the second best rival Sebastian Vettel from Ferrari with 14 points in the title race.

"There are not many corners here in Austria, it is a very fast track and it is very close between all tires.

" The harder tire seems to me better. And it's really great to see the updates here – the guys at the factory have worked so hard to bring high quality components.

"The car feels better in certain areas around the track, which is already a last step from last week, it feels good overall and I'll keep pushing and trying to make it a little bit more."

Five days after his victory in the French Grand Prix at Le Castellet last Sunday, the 33-year-old set a lap time of one minute and 4.579 seconds in the second session at the Red Bull Ring.

That was enough for him, 0.176 seconds faster than Bottas and 0.236 seconds quicker than his four-time champion Vettel, who finished third

Bottas also praised Mercedes, who since rejoining the 2014 calendar all races in Austria for the update Package has won.

"The first feeling is that they work well and the team has done a really good job – every single person in the team has worked very hard on them."

Vettel, who will not reach the best time of any Friday session this year I think Mercedes had the upper hand today, they looked very fast in all conditions, but I think it was a tricky Friday.

"We did a lot of laps, which was fine was, and we should be well prepared for tomorrow, even for Sunday.

Australian Daniel Ricciardo, who is 29 years old on Sunday, finished fourth in front of his Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen in sixth in the second Ferrari.

Verstappen announced that he had ended the session with a damaged one Floor.

"Something broke off the inside of the floor, so in my second practice I had to run with a floor that was a bit cut, say so.

"Whatever It was an old ground, we'll have a new one tomorrow, but we were a bit limited."

Frenchman Romain Grosjean came in seventh, ahead of his Haas team-mate Kevin Magnussen, Pierre Gasly of Toro Rosso and Stoffel Vandoorne.

Frustrated and luckless double master Fernando Alonso, who won the Le Mans 24 Hours of Toyota two weeks ago, was 19th in the second McLaren.

The session was interrupted by a red flag – for four minutes – as Gasly ran down the last curve of the short, achievement-oriented course over the "sausage" bricks.

"I broke the suspension on the curbs," he said.


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