Austria, FP1: Verstappen quickest in first practice session

Ahead of Leclerc, Russell

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By Olivier Ferret

8 July 2022 - 14:37
Austria, FP1: Verstappen quickest (...)

Max Verstappen topped the timesheet in the sole practice ahead of qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix, with the FIA Formula One World Championship leader beating title rival Charles Leclerc by more than two tenths of a second at the Red Bull Ring.

The opening phase of the one-hour session was largely run on medium compound Pirelli tyres. Red Bull Racing driver Verstappen was quickly into the groove and over a lengthy run the Dutchman worked his way down to an early benchmark of 1m07.496s. Leclerc then took up residency in second place, half a second off Verstappen, but the session was then interrupted by red flags.

McLaren’s Lando Norris was forced to stop in Turn 6. The British driver said smoke was coming from beneath his seat and after pulling over at the side of the track he quickly got out of the car. He would not return to the action and ended the session in 20th place.

With just a single practice session available to teams the before qualifying on F1’s second Sprint weekend of 2022, the 10-minute delay caused by Norris’s stoppage and the recovery of his McLaren mean that when the session was restarted there was a rush to get out on track to maximise preparation and both Ferrari reappeared on soft compound Pirellis to complete qualifying simulations.

Carlos Sainz, arriving in Spielberg fresh from his maiden F1 win at Silverstone last weekend, jumped to the top of the order with a lap of 1:07.149 on the red-banded tyres before Leclerc, bounced him out of top spot with a lap of 1:06.650.

Verstappen, just behind on track, was already under Leclerc’s time through the first two sectors and when he crossed the line he was three tenths of a second clear of the Ferrari drive with a lap of 1:06.302.

The session was then interrupted by a second red flag for debris on the track at Turn 6. The halt was shorter than for the Norris incident and when the track went green again, Sergio Pérez in the second Red Bull jumped to fourth place. Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton then split the Ferraris and moments later the seven-time champion’s team-mate George Russell delivered a lap of 1:06.702 to steal third spot ahead of his team-mate.

Pérez wasn’t done, however, and in the closing moments the Mexican jumped to fourth with a time of 1:06.838. Leclerc also improved in the final moments to close the gap to Verstappen to 0.255s.

Hamilton, who had a late off-track moment in Turn 1, finished fifth ahead of Haas’ Magnussen, Sainz and Alpine’s Fernando Alonso. Mick Schumacher in the second took ninth place and the top 10 order was rounded out by AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda.

The session was then interrupted by a second red flag as a rubber strip was spotted lying just off the racing line at the exit of Turn 6, which meant six more minutes were lost as it was retrieved and the cars returned to the pits.

Pos.DriverCarTimeLaps
01 Max Verstappen Red Bull RBPT RB18 1:06.302 34
02 Charles Leclerc Ferrari F1-75 1:06.557 32
03 George Russell Mercedes W13 1:06.702 32
04 Sergio Perez Red Bull RBPT RB18 1:06.839 27
05 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W13 1:06.909 31
06 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari VF-22 1:06.965 32
07 Carlos Sainz Ferrari F1-75 1:07.039 29
08 Fernando Alonso Alpine Renault A522 1:07.100 32
09 Mick Schumacher Haas Ferrari VF-22 1:07.246 32
10 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri RBPT AT03 1:07.296 33
11 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes AMR22 1:07.431 26
12 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault A522 1:07.462 27
13 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin Mercedes AMR22 1:07.476 29
14 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo Ferrari C42 1:07.522 27
15 Alex Albon Williams Mercedes FW44 1:07.582 32
16 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri RBPT AT03 1:07.592 33
17 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren Mercedes MCL36 1:07.743 25
18 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo Ferrari C42 1:07.889 28
19 Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes FW44 1:08.149 28
20 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes MCL36 1:09.915 14

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