Max quickest in Austrian GP opening practice

Published on 02 July 2021 by Stefan Meens

Max Verstappen clocked the fastest lap during the first Friday practice session of the Austrian Grand Prix. The Dutchman was quickest lapping the Red Bull Ring ahead of the Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.

During this weekend’s FP1 and 2, the teams are obliged to run a set of Pirelli prototype tyres over twelve laps, following a construction change Pirelli has made to their rear tyres, following the issues in Baku.

When the pitlane opens, it is overcast with a 40% chance of rain, resulting in a relative mild 17 degrees Celsius air temperature and a 31-degree temp for the track.

At the start of FP1, it is right away busy on the circuit. Among those on track are Callum Ilot (Alfa Romeo), Guanyu Zhou (Alpine) and Roy Nissany (Williams) who are taking over FP1 driving duties.

The Red Bull Racing and Alpha Tauri drivers set the pace in the opening ten minutes with the first four spots on the leader boards occupied by Honda powered teams.

After his first bunch of flying laps, Max heads back to the pits to bolt on the Pirelli prototype tyres. He seems pleased with the grip they offer; he betters his lap time and remains in P1.

At the halfway mark, the circuit becomes relatively quiet, before a flurry of activity ensues in the last twenty minutes. In this final third, most teams opt for a run on the soft compound and as a result, the lap times drop.

Initially, Alpha Tauri’s Yuki Tsunoda clocks the best lap on new tyres, but he is soon deposed by Max, who sets the definitive lap of the session.

With fifteen minutes to go, Max remains in first, but he is joined in the top three by the two Ferraris. Leclerc is the fastest of the two, narrowly outpacing Carlos Sainz.

Whilst Max is on a long run, the two Mercedes take to the track on brand new softs. Despite the fresh rubber, Lewis Hamilton only manages the seventh quickest time, with Valtteri Bottas claiming fourth. At the front there are no changes, meaning Max finishes FP1 at top of the timing sheets.

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Results first free practice Austria:

1Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda1:05.143 37
2Charles LeclercLECFerrari1:05.409+0.266s33
3Carlos SainzSAIFerrari1:05.431+0.288s33
4Valtteri BottasBOTMercedes1:05.445+0.302s31
5Yuki TsunodaTSUAlphaTauri Honda1:05.474+0.331s35
6Kimi RäikkönenRAIAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:05.586+0.443s28
7Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes1:05.709+0.566s32
8Sergio PerezPERRed Bull Racing Honda1:05.726+0.583s31
9Pierre GaslyGASAlphaTauri Honda1:05.726+0.583s36
10Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Mercedes1:05.880+0.737s28
11Esteban OconOCOAlpine Renault1:05.980+0.837s30
12Daniel RicciardoRICMcLaren Mercedes1:06.181+1.038s31
13Lance StrollSTRAston Martin Mercedes1:06.203+1.060s30
14Guanyu ZhouZHOAlpine Renault1:06.414+1.271s29
15Sebastian VettelVETAston Martin Mercedes1:06.444+1.301s28
16Callum IlottILOAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:06.564+1.421s23
17Mick SchumacherMSCHaas Ferrari1:06.583+1.440s29
18Roy NissanyNISWilliams Mercedes1:06.683+1.540s34
19Nicholas LatifiLATWilliams Mercedes1:06.978+1.835s36
20Nikita MazepinMAZHaas Ferrari1:07.316+2.173s30