Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain prepares at pits during the first free practice at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, southern Austria, Friday, June 29, 2018. The Formula One race will be held on Sunday. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)

Hamilton fastest in upgraded car in practice for Austrian GP

June 29, 2018 - 6:59 am

SPIELBERG, Austria (AP) — Lewis Hamilton posted the fastest lap time as Mercedes' upgraded cars dominated the first practice session for the Austrian Grand Prix on Friday.

With a new side pod design and an adapted rear wing to their cars, the Formula One leader led fellow Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas by 0.127 seconds.

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen's fastest lap was 0.233 behind Hamilton's, while Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo had the fourth and fifth best times, respectively.

Hamilton leads Vettel by 14 points going into Sunday's ninth of 21 races this season.

Mercedes has won all four races here since the Austrian GP returned to the calendar in 2014. While Hamilton triumphed in 2016, Bottas won last year.

A second practice was scheduled for later Friday.

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