British GP Practice Two: Sebastian Vettel sets Friday pace

British GP Practice Two: Sebastian Vettel sets Friday pace

The Austrian Grand Prix had a few unexpected twists and turns, with both Mercedes AMG F1 machines retiring from the race, while Red Bull Racing's Max Verstappen managed to take a fine victory at the event.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner has labelled the way Mercedes dealt with its strategy error at the Austrian Grand Prix as "bizarre" and says he would not expect one of his strategists to make an apology on team radio in the same circumstances.

Second place in the race went to Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen, while third place went to Sebastian Vettel.

The Haas cars of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen finished in fourth and fifth respectively, ahead of the Force India cars of Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) - 96 5.

That compromised his race day and while he recovered to a podium position, taking back the lead in the standings in the wake of Lewis Hamilton's exit, Vettel expressed frustration over the situation.

"I think that if you look at Mercedes' history, the team is basically what Ross [Brawn] put in place several years ago". "Very consistent. No mistakes".

"I used to remember playing with Ashley at school but just watching on the edge of your seat, the passion is insane for everyone that's watching their country play. After that, the auto came good, but we just ran out of laps".

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"Nobody is flawless. It would be boring if that was the case", added Hamilton, 33, whose new £120million contract with Mercedes will not be announced this weekend.

But underlining the uneven nature of this year's grid, Alonso was 1.754 seconds slower than Vettel while barely two tenths covered the Spaniard down to the 10th-placed Charles Leclerc of Sauber.

Alonso was just 0.048secs ahead of Renault's Nico Hulkenberg, a more familiar leader of the group of best of the rest.

The reigning champions had not been beaten in Austria since the race returned to the calendar in 2014 and seemed to be heading for a one-two when Valtteri Bottas retired with an hydraulics failure on lap 14. This left Hamilton 7.7 seconds ahead of Verstappen when a Virtual Safety Car was deployed to allow for Bottas' car to be removed. Ferrari and Red Bull have lost points. Or would the Finn then have won his first race of the season?

On just his second lap of the session, Verstappen had to correct a snap of oversteer as he got on the power when exiting Luffield, but - much like Sergey Sirotkin in FP1 - he overcompensated and spun the vehicle in the opposite direction.

"Probably more like somewhere in-between, but I don't want to get into predictions". I'm not going to be able to pass these guys. "So the team is super on it", Hamilton said. On lap 53, he pitted again for super-softs, dropping a place to fifth behind Ricciardo, who nearly immediately slowed and stopped.

"It's the same as every year really but the British Grand Prix is the most special in the sense of all the races that we get to do for me", said Hamilton in the Thursday press conference.

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