Max Verstappen led Pierre Gasly in the opening free practice session for the Styrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring on Friday as the top sixteen were separated by under one second.
Verstappen, the winner of last weekend’s French Grand Prix, was the only driver to dip below the sixty-six second barrier on Friday morning, with the Red Bull Racing ace setting a time of 1:05.910.
Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda, the sister team of Red Bull, had a great session with Gasly placing second, 0.256 seconds behind Verstappen, and team-mate Yuki Tsunoda up in fifth.
Reigning World Champion Lewis Hamilton ended up third for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team, 0.422 seconds off the pace, with team-mate Valtteri Bottas ended fourth. However, the Finn will likely be kicking himself as he was on course for a session-topping time only to run wide at the final corner.
The rest of the field were tightly packed, with even small mistakes severely punishable by the short nature of the Red Bull Ring. Fernando Alonso was sixth for the Alpine F1 Team, just ahead of team-mate Esteban Ocon, while Lance Stroll was an encouraging eighth for the Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team.
Another driver that will take some encouragement away from the session will be Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN’s Antonio Giovinazzi, who was the best placed Ferrari-powered car in ninth. He finished ahead of the two works Scuderia Ferrari entries, which was led by Charles Leclerc in tenth, just ahead of Carlos Sainz Jr. in eleventh.
Sainz spun just before the halfway mark of the session exiting turn one, with the Spaniard looping the car around and stopping on the inside of the track. He was able to resume running and return to the pits.
The Spaniard was not the only driver to spin during the session, with Sergio Pérez and Robert Kubica, the latter taking part in the session in place of Kimi Räikkönen, also finding themselves facing the wrong way early on.
Daniel Riccardo ended up twelfth fastest for the McLaren F1 Team, just ahead of Red Bull’s Pérez, while Sebastian Vettel was fourteenth in the second Aston Martin ahead of the impressive George Russell of Williams Racing and the second McLaren of Lando Norris.
Williams Nicholas Latifi, Uralkali Haas F1 Team’s Mick Schumacher, Alfa Romeo’s Kubica and the second Haas of Nikita Mazepin brought up the rear of the field.
A number of drivers lost times due to track limits, and it is expected to be a hot topic for discussion this weekend as drivers push to the absolute edge aiming to gain as much time as possible.
Red Bull Ring Free Practice 1 Times
|1||33||Max Verstappen||NED||Red Bull Racing||1:05.910||34|
|2||10||Pierre Gasly||FRA||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||1:06.166||+0.256||32|
|3||44||Lewis Hamilton||GBR||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team||1:06.332||+0.422||32|
|4||77||Valtteri Bottas||FIN||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team||1:06.386||+0.476||34|
|5||22||Yuki Tsunoda||JAP||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||1:06.397||+0.487||36|
|6||14||Fernando Alonso||ESP||Alpine F1 Team||1:06.519||+0.609||35|
|7||31||Esteban Ocon||FRA||Alpine F1 Team||1:06.551||+0.641||35|
|8||18||Lance Stroll||CAN||Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team||1:06.584||+0.674||33|
|9||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||ITA||Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN||1:06.614||+0.704||29|
|10||16||Charles Leclerc||MON||Scuderia Ferrari||1:06.629||+0.719||36|
|11||55||Carlos Sainz Jr.||ESP||Scuderia Ferrari||1:06.630||+0.720||33|
|12||3||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||McLaren F1 Team||1:06.669||+0.759||38|
|13||11||Sergio Pérez||MEX||Red Bull Racing||1:06.696||+0.786||33|
|14||5||Sebastian Vettel||GER||Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team||1:06.708||+0.798||32|
|15||63||George Russell||GBR||Williams Racing||1:06.848||+0.938||31|
|16||4||Lando Norris||ITA||McLaren F1 Team||1:06.861||+0.951||35|
|17||6||Nicholas Latifi||CAN||Williams Racing||1:07.180||+1.270||31|
|18||47||Mick Schumacher||GER||Uralkali Haas F1 Team||1:07.473||+1.563||30|
|19||Robert Kubica||POL||Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN||1:07.823||+1.913||30|
|20||9||Nikita Mazepin||RUS||Uralkali Haas F1 Team||1:08.081||+2.171||31|