Formula 1

Verstappen Leads Gasly in Opening Styrian Grand Prix Practice

2 Mins read
Credit: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

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

POSNO.DRIVERNATTEAMTIMEGAPLAPS
133Max VerstappenNEDRed Bull Racing1:05.910 34
210Pierre GaslyFRAScuderia AlphaTauri Honda1:06.166+0.25632
344Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes-AMG Petronas Formula  One Team1:06.332+0.42232
477Valtteri BottasFINMercedes-AMG Petronas Formula  One Team1:06.386+0.47634
522Yuki TsunodaJAPScuderia AlphaTauri Honda1:06.397+0.48736
614Fernando AlonsoESPAlpine F1 Team1:06.519+0.60935
731Esteban OconFRAAlpine F1 Team1:06.551+0.64135
818Lance StrollCANAston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team1:06.584+0.67433
999Antonio GiovinazziITAAlfa Romeo Racing ORLEN1:06.614+0.70429
1016Charles LeclercMONScuderia Ferrari1:06.629+0.71936
1155Carlos Sainz Jr.ESPScuderia Ferrari1:06.630+0.72033
123Daniel RicciardoAUSMcLaren F1 Team1:06.669+0.75938
1311Sergio PérezMEXRed Bull Racing1:06.696+0.78633
145Sebastian VettelGERAston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team1:06.708+0.79832
1563George RussellGBRWilliams Racing1:06.848+0.93831
164Lando NorrisITAMcLaren F1 Team1:06.861+0.95135
176Nicholas LatifiCANWilliams Racing1:07.180+1.27031
1847Mick SchumacherGERUralkali Haas F1 Team1:07.473+1.56330
19Robert KubicaPOLAlfa Romeo Racing ORLEN1:07.823+1.91330
209Nikita MazepinRUSUralkali Haas F1 Team1:08.081+2.17131
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Thirty-something motorsport fanatic, covering Formula 1, Formula Renault 2.0 and Formula 3. Feel free to give him a follow on Twitter at @Paul11MSport.
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