Mercedes experienced a disrupted opening day of free practice in Spielberg, completing the afternoon session in P2 (Valtteri) and P4 (Lewis).
- Both drivers ran the Soft compound tyre through Free Practice One, analysing cooling levels and completing set-up work.
- For FP1, Valtteri had to swap back to PU1 after an oil leak was discovered on PU2; he then swapped back to PU2 for second practice after the problem was resolved.
- In second practice, Valtteri suffered a 23G impact at Turn 6 on his Soft tyre run and did not take further part in the session. He nonetheless finished P2 on the Medium tyre.
- Lewis completed a busy 43 laps in FP2, including long runs on the Soft and Hard compounds; he did not complete a flying lap on low fuel with the Soft, so his best time was set on the Hard.
"It was pretty big hit for me in second practice but I’m all okay with no pain. There were some gusts out there this afternoon and I think I managed to find one of them – the corners here are very tricky and very penalising if you make even a small error. But I must say I prefer this kind of circuit which penalises mistakes – it’s how I like it and it makes it even more exciting. Before the shunt, I had an issue with the engine this morning which meant we swapped to the old one for FP1. That compromised me a little bit but we found a clear direction on car set-up. We made some pretty big changes for FP2 and it felt a lot better until the accident. So overall, a good feeling on the car performance but other teams are quick as well. It’s going to be very hot this weekend, especially on Sunday, and will put the cars to the limit in terms of cooling the brakes and the engine. I think it’s going to be very close on the time sheets and it should be fun in qualifying."
"It was a clean day for me with no major issues, although I broke a couple of front wings on the kerbs like a lot of other drivers. We are flat out for a large portion of the lap this year – even corners like Turns 6 and 7, Turn 9 and the last corner are seriously quick in these cars – and we have been tickling the set-up all day to improve it. Ferrari and Red Bull look quick, particularly Ferrari, and it will be interesting to see how it pans out tomorrow. This is one of those circuits where the times are always very, very close and small margins make the difference; that’s a positive because it means we will have our work cut out. But that’s okay: we will keep fighting and this is a circuit where you can follow other cars, so hopefully the tyres will be durable as well."
"It hasn’t been an easy day. Valtteri’s crew were into a power unit change before running after we found an oil leak. We fitted his spare power unit for the morning and, while the session was running, the issue was fixed so the race power unit went back in for the afternoon. The balance wasn’t great in the first session, we were struggling to balance the low and high speed together, but we made good progress over the break and both drivers were happier with the car in the afternoon. Valtteri’s session unfortunately ended early after his crash which meant he couldn’t run the medium tyre on the long run. Lewis’s session was more straightforward. He was working on the Soft and Hard tyres and managed to complete the planned programme. We don’t seem to be as competitive here as in France but that’s not a big surprise; we’re missing the kind of cornering sequences that the car likes, so it’s hard to pull back all the time that they are finding on the straights. We’re expecting the weather to get even hotter, which isn’t easy for the car or the tyres but hopefully it will make for an interesting race for the fans."