The threat of rain was ever-present throughout Friday’s running, emphasising the importance of efficiently working through the run programme.
Pirelli has again brought the C2, C3 and C4 mid-range tyres, which were also used at Circuit Paul Ricard, and Sebastian and Lance conducted running across all three compounds.
The duo began Friday completing baseline running on the Hard tyre to help inform the AMR21’s set-up for the first of back-to-back Austrian races.
Sebastian and Lance both demonstrated top 10 pace inside the first 15 minutes, and they were separated by just 0.001 of a second; Lance led the way in eighth after a 1.07.039 lap.
Both drivers would then evaluate the Medium and Soft tyre on both short and long runs, ensuring a range of valuable data in case rain disrupted second practice.
Cooler track temperatures in the afternoon meant lap times were initially slower than in the opening practice session.
Both drivers started on worn Medium tyres before becoming the first team in the session to set competitive lap times on the Softs.
Lance surged to the top after posting a 1.06.079 lap time, a position he held until Sebastian lowered the benchmark to his personal-best time of 1.05.934.
The second half of the session was spent conducting longer running on the used Medium tyre, as Sebastian finished sixth and Lance eighth courtesy of their earlier efforts.
"I think we have made a decent start to the weekend. Our pace over one lap is looking encouraging and I think we can squeeze out more from the longer runs.
"We have a good idea of where we can make those improvements, which is the important thing. Racing in the mountains means it can be really tricky to predict the weather, so it is going to be about making sure we are on the right tyres at the right time and reacting well to the conditions.
"We have not had much wet running this year, so it would be good to experience the car in the rain."
Styrian Grand Prix
Get ready for this weekend's Styrian Grand Prix with our in-depth preview. Discover the history of the Red Bull Ring, the challenges of a lap of the track and the key talking points for the race.
"The car felt good from the first lap and both sessions were positive for us. We know where we can make some improvements, such as the balance in the low-speed corners, so we will go away tonight and review the data to see where we can find some further improvements.
"There has been a lot of talk about rain, but it only slightly drizzled at times today, so it was not really a factor. I love driving in wet conditions and it always mixes up the field - so I will not complain if we get some rain tomorrow or Sunday."
All in. All welcome. All celebrated. Sign up to open up a world of I / AM benefits and once-in-a-lifetime experiences.