Rosberg on top in first Austria practice

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 19, 2015 6:36 AM

By Alan Baldwin

SPIELBERG, Austria (Reuters) - Mercedes set the pace in first practice for the Austrian Grand Prix on Friday while Ferrari principal Maurizio Arrivabene risked being run over in the pitlane by his team's former driver Felipe Massa.

While Formula One champions Mercedes led the times as expected, with Nico Rosberg fastest ahead of championship leader Lewis Hamilton, Arrivabene's moment of inattention provided an early talking point.

The Italian stepped off the pit wall as Massa's Williams was pulling out of the garage, jumping back as the Brazilian braked and then giving him the thumbs up. Both were able to laugh about it afterwards.

The Ferrari boss had something to smile and frown about on the track, with Kimi Raikkonen posting the third best time while four-times world champion Sebastian Vettel parked up after losing drive in fourth gear.

The German, who completed only four laps, ended up bottom of the timesheets with a lap of one minute 15.684 seconds compared to Rosberg's best of 1:10.401.

Hamilton, who sounded tetchy on the team radio, was 0.308 slower than his team mate.

"How many changes do you guys want me to do, can I just focus on driving?," the champion said over the team radio in response to one request.

Several drivers, including Hamilton, ran off at the penultimate corner on an overcast day after a damp start to the morning.

McLaren's Fernando Alonso, with a big upgrade on his car but an even bigger grid penalty coming his way after changes to the engine, was only 17th fastest after a troubled start that saw his car break down before he had done a lap.

The Spaniard was then confined to the garage until the final 15 minutes.

Valtteri Bottas was fourth fastest for Mercedes-powered Williams at the track where the Finn took his first podium finish last year.

(Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)