Lewis Hamilton struggles in Styrian Grand Prix practice

Philip Duncan, PA F1 Correspondent, Spielberg

Lewis Hamilton finished only sixth as Daniel Ricciardo limped away from a high-speed crash in second practice for the Styrian Grand Prix.

Hamilton ended the concluding track action of the day 0.688 seconds down on pace-setter Max Verstappen, with Valtteri Bottas next in the order.

Ricciardo was taken to the medical centre after he lost control of his Renault through the right-handed ninth corner.

The Australian’s car snapped away from him and he was left as a passenger as he went sliding backwards into the wall.

Ricciardo sustained significant damage to his Renault in the accident. He remained in his cockpit for several moments before emerging with a limp, but he was later given the all clear.

Formula One is racing at Austria’s Red Bull Ring for a second consecutive week following last Sunday’s season opener.

Mercedes dominated the first race of the campaign at the same venue – topping all three practice sessions and qualifying before Bottas took the chequered flag.

Valtteri Bottas won the opening race of the season (Mark Thompson/AP)

But the all-black cars were knocked off the summit here, first by Sergio Perez in Friday morning’s first running, and then Verstappen later in the day.

While Bottas finished just 0.043 sec behind Verstappen, Hamilton struggled with the handling of his Mercedes in the soaring temperatures, ending the day more than half a second adrift.

After his impressive first showing, Perez finished third in his Racing Point – a car modelled on last year’s world championship-winning Mercedes.

His team-mate Lance Stroll was fourth to emphasise the team’s strong pace.

Red Bull driver Alexander Albon took a trip across the gravel as he finished seventh, 0.777 sec off the pace, while Lando Norris, who last week became the youngest British driver to finish on an F1 podium, was eighth for McLaren.

Carlos Sainz finished fifth in the British team’s sister car.

Ferrari have brought a series of upgrades to this week’s race, but the struggling Italian team continued to be slow.

Charles Leclerc was only ninth, one second adrift, with Sebastian Vettel a miserable 16th, almost two seconds back.

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