Austria, FP1: Verstappen quickest at the Red Bull Ring

Ahead of Ferrari’s Leclerc and Sainz


By Olivier Ferret

2 July 2021 - 12:32
Austria, FP1: Verstappen quickest (...)

Max Verstappen set the quickest lap of opening practice for the Austrian Grand Prix, beating Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz by almost three tenths of a seconds as Formula 1’s second weekend in a row at the Red Bull Ring got underway.

The opening part of the session saw the majority of drivers testing Pireli’s prototype rear tyres compound which has been offered for testing this weekend. The new tyre features a stiffer rear sidewall and is expected to be in use at the British Grand Prix in two weeks’ time.

When this weekends’s compounds were put to use Red Bull’s Sergio Perez led the way with a lap of 1:06.752 on this weekend’s C5 soft compound, a step softer than last week. Verstappen then took over with a lap of 1:06.640, which he then lowered to 1:06.007.

The championship leader, who won last weekend’s Styria Grand Prix, then tried the test tyres and set a new benchmark of 1:05.558. just before the first quarter of the session was completed.

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas then reappeared on regular rubber and Hamilton swiftly moved to third place. His time on the soft tyres was not straightforward, however, and hampered by traffic and small mistakes he could eventally only manage the morning’s seventh quickest time, more than half a second off Verstappen’s best of 1:05.143 set on softs.

The Red Bull driver was followed by Leclerc and Sainz with the Monegasque driver posting a best time of 1:05.409s, 0.266s behind Verstappen and 0.022s ahead of Sainz.

Mercedes Valtteri Bottas finished fourth at the flag thanks to a late soft tyre run of 1:05.445s. Yuki Tsunoda took fifth place for AlphaTauri despite going off into the gravel at Turn early in the session. Kimi Raikkonen took sixth for Alfa, while Sergio Perez, Gasly and Lando Norris rounded out the top 10.

Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll also suffered spins, the most lurid of which came at Turn 6 after he drifted to far right on exit and found the edge of the gravel trap. That pitched him into a spin and he spun across the track and down the hill on the inside. Later he went off at the exit of Turn 10. He would go on to finish 13th.

Three reserve drivers were in action during the opening session with Guanyu Zhou finished in 14th place in the Alpine of Fernando Alonso, Callum Ilott finishing 16th in the Alfa Romeo of Antonio Giovinazzi, while Roy Nissany was 18th for Williams as he replaced George Russell for the session.

01 Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda RB16B 1:05.143 37
02 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF21 1:05.409 33
03 Carlos Sainz Ferrari SF21 1:05.431 33
04 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes W12 1:05.445 31
05 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri Honda AT02 1:05.474 35
06 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo Ferrari C41 1:05.586 28
07 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W12 1:05.709 31
08 Sergio Pérez Red Bull Honda RB16B 1:05.726 31
09 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri Honda AT02 1:05.726 36
10 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes MCL35M 1:05.880 28
11 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault A521 1:05.980 30
12 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren Mercedes MCL35M 1:06.181 31
13 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes AMR21 1:06.203 30
14 Guanyu Zhou Alpine Renault A521 1:06.414 29
15 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin Mercedes AMR21 1:06.444 28
16 Callum Ilott Alfa Romeo Ferrari C41 1:06.564 23
17 Mick Schumacher Haas Ferrari VF-21 1:06.583 29
18 Roy Nissany Williams Mercedes FW43B 1:06.683 34
19 Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes FW43B 1:06.978 36
20 Nikita Mazepin Haas Ferrari VF-21 1:07.316 30

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