Motor racing: Hamilton completes F1 Austrian Grand Prix practice sweep as Latifi crashes

Lewis Hamilton during the practice session of the Austrian Grand Prix in Spielberg on July 4, 2020. PHOTO: AFP

SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA (REUTERS) - Six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton completed a sweep of Austrian Grand Prix practice on Saturday (July 4) with his Mercedes team again one-two on the time sheets, while Canadian rookie Nicholas Latifi crashed his Williams.

The Briton, who led teammate Valtteri Bottas in both of Friday's sessions, resumed his position at the top with a fastest effort of 1min 4.130sec around the Red Bull Ring.

Finn Bottas was 0.147 of a second slower on a sunny day, with Mercedes given a boost overnight when stewards rejected a Red Bull protest against the champions' new Dual Axis Steering (DAS) system.

Latifi, the only newcomer on the grid this season, brought out the red flags when he speared into the tyre wall at turn one and spun.

The Canadian reported he was fine but the car's medical light came on and his session was ended.

Red Bull's Dutch driver Max Verstappen, who will be chasing a hat-trick of Austrian wins on Sunday, was third fastest - but 0.413 slower than Hamilton - with Mexican Sergio Perez fourth for Racing Point, whose pink car is a 2019 Mercedes lookalike.

"We've made progress with the car overnight, I think it's more representative of where we're at," said Red Bull boss Christian Horner, whose team have never started on pole at their home circuit.

"Mercedes look very strong."

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc, who started on pole at the Red Bull Ring last year, was fifth fastest and ahead of Verstappen's teammate Alexander Albon with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel in seventh place.

Ferrari have acknowledged design issues with their car but will not have performance upgrades ready until the third round in Hungary.

Leclerc said on Friday that they were losing speed in the corners.

"The balance was quite good but the overall grip of the car - I guess it's not only one thing, it's also the full package that we need to upgrade," he said.

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