Austria start pleasing - Hamilton

F1 FP3 Recap Vettel’s Ferrari Fastest on the Day

His Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas was third fastest ahead of fellow Finn Kimi Raikkonen, the 2007 champion, who was fourth in the second Ferrari.

Hamilton, who is 14 points behind Ferrari's championship leader Vettel after eight races, qualified third fastest but will start in eighth place due to the automatic drop resulting from an unscheduled gearbox change. Hamilton set the ball rolling with 1m 05.929s, which was then beaten by Bottas on 1m 05.726s before Vettel did 1m 05.384s.

Though this might just be a practice for the drivers, they will be keen to get into the rhythm and come up with a fine show on race day.

"It feels good, you know", Bottas said.

"We are going to work hard tonight to try and find some more performance. I got the vehicle to the limit and we'll now look at the weaknesses to improve". "We generally do improve Friday to Saturday".

The session began in balmy, but cloudy, conditions with a track temperature of 45 degrees, as Hamilton soon stamped his speed and authority on proceedings.

However, the pair do still maintain a mutual respect it seems, with footage posted to Twitter showing Vettel and Hamilton shaking hands immediately after the final qualifying session in Spielberg.

His engineer gave him instructions how to restart the engine but to no avail, and the marshals pushed the auto to a safe parking place.

Vettel ran into the back of Hamilton during a second safety vehicle period in Baku a fortnight ago before driving into the side of the Mercedes driver, for which he received a 10-second stop/go penalty.

"It's been a really good Friday with no major headaches to complain about so far", said three-time world champion Hamilton.

All it took was a few seconds of Sebastian Vettel losing his head and the mood of title fight has turned, from a back-slapping mutual love-in to something a bit more feisty. They were all on the ultra soft tires rather than the super soft or soft Pirellis.

Hamilton finished the session fastest, with Bottas 3rd, Vettel 4th and the other Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo 5th. But Hamilton's long run pace on the ultrasofts was unmatched by any of his rivals. It was given for an unauthorized gearbox change following the incident-packed Azerbaijan GP two weeks ago in Baku, where Hamilton and Vettel clashed in a moment of high tension. His first lap was 1:04.800, trimmed by Bottas in 1:04.640 as the Mercedes topped the pile.

Ten minutes remained when Hamilton had an off at Turn 3.

He went straight up the escape road, before letting the auto roll back down and touring gently back to the pits.

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