It was a busy day at the Red Bull Ring in the Austrian Mountains as all teams tried to make up for lost running in yesterday’s partial wash-out. Williams’ Valtteri Bottas was the only of nine drivers who did not complete at least 100 laps. By far the most laps (158) were driven by Germany’s Marco Wittmann, reigning DTM champion for BMW, who got a chance to drive for Toro Rosso. The debutant ended the day in 4th position with a 1:10.103.
With track conditions and temperatures far better than yesterday the times were much closer to what we saw on the weekend. Unsurprisingly the Mercedes, piloted by Nico Rosberg ended the day in the top spot with a 1:09.113, eight tenth clear of the rest.
McLaren needed a whole hour before they ventured out for the first time, but from then on it was a relatively trouble free day, racking up 104 laps, mainly doing aero tests. Alonso ended up 7th, 1.6 seconds adrift of Rosberg’s time.
The SF15T of the Gestione Sportiva was piloted by Esteban Gutierrez, who ended the day in second position, .8 seconds behind Rosberg. During the day Ralf Bach of Bild Motorsport reported that Williams have received an offer of 4 Million Euro to release Bottas from his contract with Hülkenberg a favourite to replace the Finn at Williams. The lanky German is not in the running for a Ferrari seat as Ferrari would not want to have two drivers of the same nation to avoid PR problems should it become necessary to declare one of them a clear #1 in ca championship fight.
Continuing to rack up an amazing amount of seat time was Pascal Wehrlein, who drove for Force India, who mainly continued to evaluate their update package. The German ended the day in 5th position, about a second faster than what he drove in the Mercedes yesterday.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo cause a late red flag an hour before the end when his Renault engine expired in a cloud of smoke. Beforehand the Australian had managed 116 laps, finishing second to last.
1 N. Rosberg Mercedes 1:09.113 (117 laps)
2 E. Gutiérrez Ferrari 1:09.931 (110 laps)
3 V. Bottas Williams 1:10.029 (79 laps)
4 M. Wittmann Toro Rosso 1:10.103 (158 laps)
5 P. Wehrlein Force India 1:10.253 (132 laps)
6 J. Palmer Lotus 1:10.373 (110 laps)
7 F. Alonso McLaren 1:10.718 (104 laps)
8 D. Ricciardo Red Bull Racing 1:10.757 (116 laps)
9 F. Nasr Sauber 1:10.922 (138 laps)