Lewis Hamilton was fastest in Spain practice
Lewis Hamilton set the pace in second practice at the Austrian Grand Prix to give Mercedes hope of clawing back some lost ground to Red Bull. Image Credit: Reuters

Spielberg: Mercedes found welcome speed as rain fell at the Austrian Grand Prix today, with Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton leading a damp second practice ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas.

The conditions proved less to the liking of championship leader Max Verstappen. The Red Bull driver topped the leaderboard early on but then drifted down to third place as the track became wetter.

Hamilton was .189 ahead of Bottas and .217 clear of Verstappen on Red Bull’s home track.

Positive sign

It was a positive sign for Mercedes that the drivers in fourth and fifth - Aston Martin pair Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel - were using Mercedes engines.

Verstappen won here last Sunday to extend his lead over defending champion Lewis Hamilton to 18 points after eight races, and the hordes of orange-clad Dutch fans will hope for a repeat success on Sunday.

There is a third practice Saturday before qualifying starts.