Rosberg quickest in first Austria practice
20 June 2014 – Nico Rosberg set the standard during Friday morning's opening free practice session for the returning Austrian Grand Prix. The Mercedes driver clocked a best time of 1:11.295 at the renovated Red Bull Ring circuit to lead team-mate Lewis Hamilton by 0.140 seconds, with Ferrari's Fernando Alonso third.
Following the early flurry of installation laps at the Spielberg venue, the Silver Arrows drivers were the first to embark on meaningful runs, gradually working their times down from the 1m19s to the 1m12s.
Hamilton held the advantage at this stage, while Rosberg was forced to bring his car back to the pits after reporting a car problem.
But Rosberg, after a lengthy spell in the pits, moved ahead later in the session with his low 1m11s effort.
The German was one of two drivers, along with Ferrari's Kimi Räikkönen, to trial additional titanium skidblocks with the hope of producing sparks – part of an initiative by the FIA to make the sport more spectacular.
Alonso finished third fastest, just ahead of former team-mate and current Williams man Felipe Massa.
Jenson Button led McLaren's charge in fifth, edging out Force India duo Sergio Pérez and Nico Hülkenberg.
Valtteri Bottas, whose session ended slightly early due to a technical problem, wound up eighth, while the second McLaren of Kevin Magnussen and Toro Rosso's Jean-Éric Vergne completed the top 10 positions.
Räikkönen classified 11th, continuing to struggle with the engine and brake settings on his F14 T.
Both Red Bulls finished outside the top 10 and were lucky to avoid serious incidents at the final corner.
Sebastian Vettel, 15th, was the first to run wide, entering a full spin after putting all four wheels over the exit kerbs, before Daniel Ricciardo, two places ahead, also misjudged the corner and suffered a wild slide.
Adrian Sutil and Marcus Ericsson were both restricted to single lap figures amid technical trouble.
Ericsson's Caterham ground to a halt at the exit of the pit lane 20 minutes into the session, while Sutil spent the majority of his morning conducting interviews in the paddock after his car suffered a broken turbo hose.
Friday's second practice session at the Red Bull Ring gets underway at 2pm local time (GMT +2)