Spielberg (dpa) – Mercedes continues to set the pace at the start of Formula 1 in Austria. World champion Lewis Hamilton also drove the fastest lap in the final practice at Spielberg, finishing second to his Finnish team-mate Valtteri Bottas.
The first pursuit of the Mercedes duo was Max Verstappen, who finished third in the last practice session at the home game of his Red Bull team. The Dutchman won in Styria in the past two years and is considered the strongest challenger for defending champion Hamilton.
Sebastian Vettel had to be satisfied with seventh place in the Ferrari. His teammate Charles Leclerc, who was on pole position in Spielberg last year, finished fifth. Ferrari has already admitted design flaws to the new car and plans to launch a completely overhauled version during the third round of the season in Hungary.
Formula 1 starts the season in Austria almost four months late. Due to the corona pandemic, the racing series has imposed a strict hygiene concept. Spectators may not be on the track for the time being.