Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time in FP2 today of 1m05.483s on ultrasoft, comfortably beating the fastest time seen during qualifying last year (which was set in Q2).
Just as was the case in 2016, the weather was changeable at the Red Bull Ring, with a few drops of rain between the sessions that did not however affect track conditions significantly. FP2 started in track temperatures of 40 degrees centigrade; by the end of the session these had dropped to 36 degrees, under a cloudy sky.
With smooth asphalt and a low-grip surface, wear and degradation were minimal, with practically zero graining, meaning that a one-stop strategy is likely to be considered.
Mario Isola - Head Of Car Racing
“There were no real surprises during free practice in Austria, with the soft, supersoft and ultrasoft compounds – all of which were seen on track today – providing performance in line with our expectations. With such a short lap in terms of time and relatively few corners at the Red Bull Ring, the lap time gap between compounds seems smaller compared to what we expected from simulation data. This brings the soft into play as a viable race tyre, particularly for those thinking about a one-stop strategy. However, most drivers have only chosen a small number of soft sets, meaning that some have already been looking to save those soft tyres for possible use during the race. As ever, the weather has been a question mark and we expect that uncertainty to continue for the rest of the weekend, which will obviously have a profound additional effect on strategy.”