Austrian GP practice: Rain, sun, pressure and the future

Did you know that it can be raining on one part of the Red Bull Ring and not another? And you thought Spa was the only lace that happened…shame on you.

Friday’s final practice session was led by Mercedes Nico Rosberg with teammate Lewis Hamilton hot on his heels just one hundredth of a second off his pace. The affair was dented with a strong rain shower that started on turns 8 and 9 and then eventually covered the track leaving teams in a waiting game for the circuit to dry.

Some interesting notes about the race weekend so far is that the circuit itself could see the return of the famed Osterreichring loop which, in my opinion, would be a welcome sight—much like bringing the forest section of Hockenheim back too!

Also, as we headed into the weekend, there were rumblings about the tire pressures mandated from Pirelli and the Italian tire maker made some adjustments ahead of practice and it is intended to crack down on teams heating the brakes—which transfers to the wheel and tire assembly—and will check the tires this weekend before being fitted to the car (which would have the heated brakes. This means they are trying to negate the impact of super-heated brake assemblies on the cars and the impact it would have on tire pressures.

On a final note, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel takes a hit this weekend with a gearbox change and 5-place grid penalty which will make a podium finish more difficult let alone a win.

FP2 Results

Pos Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m07.967s 25
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m07.986s 0.019s 19
3 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1m08.580s 0.613s 28
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m08.589s 0.622s 25
5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m08.649s 0.682s 30
6 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso/Ferrari 1m08.713s 0.746s 32
7 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 1m08.761s 0.794s 20
8 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m08.820s 0.853s 23
9 Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 1m08.941s 0.974s 24
10 Jenson Button McLaren/Honda 1m08.994s 1.027s 30
11 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1m09.075s 1.108s 26
12 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1m09.184s 1.217s 17
13 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Ferrari 1m09.207s 1.240s 26
14 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m09.226s 1.259s 32
15 Kevin Magnussen Renault 1m09.525s 1.558s 19
16 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1m10.020s 2.053s 23
17 Pascal Wehrlein Manor/Mercedes 1m10.034s 2.067s 20
18 Esteban Gutierrez Haas/Ferrari 1m10.138s 2.171s 16
19 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m10.140s 2.173s 19
20 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m10.400s 2.433s 31
21 Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari 1m10.444s 2.477s 22
22 Rio Haryanto Manor/Mercedes 1m11.328s 3.361s 25