Spielberg (dpa) - World champion Lewis Hamilton drove the fastest lap in the start training when Formula 1 was restarted.

In the silver arrow painted black, the 35-year-old in Spielberg, Austria, relegated his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas to second with a clear 0.356 seconds advantage.

Third was Red Bull driver Max Verstappen, who had won the race in Styria in the past two years. Sebastian Vettel did not get beyond 12th on his 33rd birthday in a Ferrari

Despite the initial rain and the long break since the test drives at the end of February, there were no major incidents on the route. Except for Dreher from Verstappen and Alpha Tauri driver Daniil Kwjat, all pilots got through the first practice rounds without an accident.

Formula 1 starts its new season with a delay of almost four months. Because of the corona pandemic, the Grand Prix will initially take place with a strict hygiene concept and without spectators.

Defending champion Hamilton starts the shortened World Cup year again as favorite. The Briton could set Michael Schumacher's record with his seventh World Cup triumph. Farewell tour for Ferrari begins in Austria for his permanent rival Vettel. His expiring contract will not be extended.

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 200703-99-660891 / 2

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