Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton made it three in a row to lead Valtteri Bottas in FP3 of F1 Austrian GP at Red Bull Ring as Christian Horner closes DAS chapter.
It has been a winning start in F1 Austrian GP at Red Bull Ring so far for Mercedes as Hamilton made it three in a row in FP3 with a 1m04.130s lap. He led teammate Bottas (1m04.277s) and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen (1m04.413s) in the Top 3.
While it was fairly smooth at the top, but Mercedes drivers did have small offs at certain corners without a huge damage. Unlike his spin on Friday, Verstappen had a cleaner run as Red Bull gave him the new front wing from Alexander Albon’s car.
Christian Horner said that Red Bull worked hard to repair the damaged front wing but for now Verstappen will have the new one. The Dutchman was two tenths off from Hamilton but soundly ahead of the Ferrari pair as Racing Point got in the mix too.
Charles Leclerc (1m04.703s) was fourth for a considerable time until he was bumped by Sergio Perez (1m04.605s) later in the session. Albon (1m04.725s) dropped to sixth, as Sebastian Vettel (1m04.851s) ended up seventh eventually.
Racing Point’s Lance Stroll (1m04.918s) showed pace as well to be eighth with AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly (1m04.949s) surprising with a ninth place finish ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris (1m04.950s), with Renault duo just missing out on the Top 10.
It was Esteban Ocon (1m05.037s) ahead of teammate Daniel Ricciardo (1m05.088s) in 11th and 12th, while McLaren’s Carlos Sainz (1m05.177s) ended up 13th from the other AlphaTauri of Daniil Kvyat (1m05.290s).
The session also saw Horner closing the DAS chapter after the protest from them on Friday. Speaking to Sky Sports, he said that the team wanted clarity which they got, while adding that it is too late for any F1 team to prepare such system on their car.
“First of all we wanted to get clarity,” said Horner. “We wanted to protest at the earliest point in the weekend so not to interrupt with the result. So it was either going to be legal or illegal on Friday which would then give the chance for Mercedes to rectify that either way.
“So having seen it on the car yesterday we chose to use the avenue of a protest to achieve that clarity. We informed Mercedes of that prior to putting in the protest. Basically the system is very, very complicated. And it comes into question what is the steering wheel for.
“The stewards obviously backed the decision of Nikolas Tombazis, the technical delegate there, so we have that clarity now. So we know it is legal and if we want one we will have to design our own and incorporate it.
“It is a tool that has nothing to do obviously with steering the car because they only use it in a straight line. That’s sometimes the ambiguity that these regulations create. It’s something that’s been tidied up for next year.
“We didn’t feel that, the engineering feedback we had it wasn’t fully compliant to the regs this year so that’s why we questioned it and got that clarity late last year. So as far as we’re concerned it’s all closed now.
“Hats off to Mercedes, it is a very clever system, but to incorporate that this year before it gets outlawed next year will be very, very difficult now,” summed up Horner. Word in the paddock is that they have a similar system but it remains to be seen.
Coming back to the session, Haas’ Romain Grosjean (1m05.363s) finished 15th with Williams’ George Russell (1m05.565s) doing well in 16th from the other Haas of Kevin Magnussen (1m05.648s) and the two Alfa Romeo Racing drivers.
Antonio Giovinazzi (1m05.654s) again headed Kimi Raikkonen (1m05.773s) in 18th and 19th as Williams’ Nicholas Latifi (1m07.049s) rounded out in 20th. The Canadian, though, brought out the red flag after clouting the barriers at Turn 1.
Here’s FIA decision on Red Bull protest
Here’s how FP1 of F1 Austrian GP went
Here’s how FP2 panned out for F1 Austrian GP