Hamilton leads Verstappen as McLaren starts strongly in Austria

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Having lost victory at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix due to an issue with his headrest, Hamilton continued his impressive form from that weekend to go top on a 1:05.975.

Vettel expects Ferrari to be closer to the front this weekend but still believes Mercedes to hold an advantage.

One minor gesture, by "liking" a reaction on Instagram, appears to be all Hamilton wished to say following the decision of the International Motoring Federation (FIA) to take no further action against Vettel for his deliberate wheel-banging.

The three-time F1 world champion set new fastest-ever laps of the Red Bull Ring in both Friday sessions, ending the day a tenth and a half up on title rival Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari.

The only minor glitch for Hamilton was to come in to the pits briefly for a spark plug change in P2.


Vettel has not had great success at this race, retiring in two of the last three years.

A third practice session is on Saturday morning ahead of qualifying in the afternoon. The balance of the auto feels good and we'll fine tune the setup some more tonight to be ready for qualifying.

In a session littered with spins and errors, Carlos Sainz followed Bottas and Raikkonen in spinning at Turn 1, while his teammate Kvyat ended up in the gravel at Turn 4.

It is unclear if the Hamilton damage was related to the hit from behind that he suffered when Sebastian Vettel ran into him in their controversial incident under the safety vehicle.

Rarely are the fortunes of the fourth and fifth-placed drivers in a race so tightly scrutinised but, then again, it is also just as uncommon to see a driver deliberately spear his vehicle into an opponent as Vettel did to Hamilton in Baku. Not only did the Belgian outpace Fernando Alonso, but McLaren looked competitive with Honda's Spec-3 engine, which has been introduced ahead of the week.

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