Austria, FP3: Sainz quickest in final practice at the Red Bull Ring

Leclerc 2nd, Verstappen 3rd

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By Olivier Ferret

9 July 2022 - 13:39
Austria, FP3: Sainz quickest in (...)

Carlos Sainz set the pace in the final practice session ahead of the Sprint at the Austrian Grand Prix, with the Spaniard beating Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc by the narrow margin of five hundredths of a second. Sprint pole sitter Max Verstappen was third for Red Bull.

It was Verstappen who led the way early in the session, with the Dutchman rising to the top of the timesheet with his first lap of the session. On soft compound Pirellis he set a target time of 1:09.170 to eclipse Sainz by 0.3s and Leclerc, both of whom were on medium tyres. Verstappen then chipped away at the benchmark time over the following laps to eventually arrive at 1:08.966.

Verstappen didn’t enter the fray until five minutes had passed but there was a longer wait for action at Mercedes. Both the team’s drivers crashed in qualifying and repairs were still being effected as FP2 got underway.

George Russell was the first of the Silver Arrows’ drivers to appear, 11 minutes into the session. The Briton emerged on soft tyres and he immediately jumped to sixth place on the timesheet before improving to third during the longer runs that defined the first half of the session. Russell posted a time of 1:09.240 to split the Ferrari drivers.

Behind the Ferraris Red Bull’s Sergio Pérez, who finished 13th in qualifying after being penalised for leaving the track without a justifiable reason during Q2 was again struggling for pace. That allowed the Alpines of Fernand Alonso and Esteban Ocon to challenge for top six places in the session and Alonso made the first claim, taking fourth place with Ocon slotting into sixth.

At the top of the order, Leclerc and Sainz had bolted on soft tyres and the Monegasque driver took top spot with a lap of 1:08.660. Leclerc then held onto the same set of tyres to assess wear rates and failed to improve. Silverstone-winner Sainz, though, found enough pace on the red-walled tyre to dislodge his team-mate, setting a time of 1:08.610 to claim bragging rights at the end of the session. Verstappen ended the session third 0.168s adrift of Sainz.

Alonso held onto fourth at the flag, while Ocon improved to 1:08.848 to sit 0.016s behind his team-mate. Pérez eventually made his way to sixth place on the timesheet, logging a best time of 1:09.179, almost six tenths off Sainz and four off Verstappen. Russell finished as the lead Mercedes in seventh place ahead of Alfa Romeo’s, while Lewis Hamilton finally made it on track with a quarter of an hour remaining and took ninth place, seven tenths of a second off Sainz. Lando Norris wrapped up the top order for McLaren.

Pos.DriverCarTimeLaps
01 Carlos Sainz Ferrari F1-75 1:08.610 40
02 Charles Leclerc Ferrari F1-75 1:08.660 13
03 Max Verstappen Red Bull RBPT RB18 1:08.778 32
04 Fernando Alonso Alpine Renault A522 1:08.832 21
05 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault A522 1:08.848 24
06 Sergio Perez Red Bull RBPT RB18 1:09.179 36
07 George Russell Mercedes W13 1:09.240 33
08 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo Ferrari C42 1:09.251 28
09 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W13 1:09.350 14
10 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes MCL36 1:09.519 38
11 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes AMR22 1:09.525 43
12 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri RBPT AT03 1:09.579 37
13 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin Mercedes AMR22 1:09.602 44
14 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo Ferrari C42 1:09.665 36
15 Mick Schumacher Haas Ferrari VF-22 1:09.700 32
16 Alex Albon Williams Mercedes FW44 1:09.740 34
17 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren Mercedes MCL36 1:09.852 34
18 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari VF-22 1:09.960 34
19 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri RBPT AT03 1:10.005 39
20 Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes FW44 1:10.261 36

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