Lewis Hamilton tops time sheets in opening practice in Austria

Lewis Hamilton during opening practice in Austria
Lewis Hamilton during opening practice in Austria

Lewis Hamilton finished top of the time sheets in opening practice as Mercedes laid down a marker for the Austrian Grand Prix.

Hamilton is back in charge of the championship, and he was fastest in his upgraded car during the first running at Spielberg's Red Bull Ring on Friday.

The Briton, 14 points clear of Sebastian Vettel courtesy of his victory in France last weekend, posted a best lap of one minute and 04.839 seconds to finish clear of Valtteri Bottas in the sister Mercedes.

Max Verstappen placed third for Red Bull, some two tenths down on Hamilton, while Ferrari driver Vettel was fourth.

Mercedes have been the team to beat in Austria having won every race since the grand prix returned here in 2014. Indeed, Hamilton and team-mate Bottas, who triumphed last year, are the only active drivers to have won at the Red Bull Ring.

And the rest would appear to be playing catch-up with Vettel, a third of a second off Hamilton's pace.

Daniel Ricciardo finished fifth, half-a-second slower than Hamilton, with Kimi Raikkonen further back in sixth.

Click here for all of Sky Bet's Austrian Grand Prix odds

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