Austrian GP: Verstappen quickest from Leclerc, Sainz in FP1

Max Verstappen led the two Ferrari drivers in first practice for Formula 1’s 2021 Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring, with Lewis Hamilton seventh for Mercedes.

Austrian GP: Verstappen quickest from Leclerc, Sainz in FP1

The first one-hour practice session got underway in overcast conditions, with all the cars heading out in the opening minutes – the majority immediately running the prototype tyre compound Pirelli has brought to be tested this weekend, which features a stiffer rear sidewall.

Aston Martin's Sebastian Vettel led the pack around to establish the first place benchmark at 1m12.697s on the unmarked test tyres, but that was soon beaten by the drivers running his wake.

Carlos Sainz and Sergio Perez put a 1m06.941s and a 1m06.752s on the regular hard and soft tyres respectively, although those compounds are a step softer (C3 and C5 tyres compared to those used in last weekend's Styrian GP at the same venue).

Pierre Gasly then popped in a 1m06.375s on the mediums tyres (now the C4), but this was deleted because the AlphaTauri driver had run too wide exiting the final corner and so Verstappen's 1m06.640s was elevated to the top spit.

At the end of the opening 10 minutes, with the Mercedes drivers languishing at the rear of the field, their times three seconds off the pace as they completed their running on the prototype tyres on high fuel runs, Verstappen then set a new fastest time at 1m06.007s as he continued to lap on the softs.

The Red Bull driver then came in to switch to the test tyres, which he used to go quicker on a 1m05.558s just before the first quarter of the session was completed.

The test tyres were largely swapped out for the rest of the session – they can be used again in FP2 later on Friday afternoon, with the drivers required to complete a minimum of 12 laps each on that new construction, which is expected to make its race debut at the British GP next time out – and the Mercedes drivers returned to the track just before the half-way point on the softs.

Hamilton jumped up the order to go third, but caught a slower car at the final corners and lost time, as traffic also impacted his subsequent laps.

The world champion and Nikita Mazepin came close together at the uphill tight right of Turn 3 when Hamilton went for another run on the softs, which meant he backed off and attempted another flying lap immediately afterwards, during which he locked up by himself at Turn 3 and therefore abandoned that lap as well.

Hamilton did set a personal best during the later running, but ended up down in seventh and 0.566s off the top spot, while Verstappen used his flying run on the softs just past the halfway point to improve the fastest time to a 1m05.143s.

The Red Bull driver was followed in the timesheets by the Ferrari pair, who had both had moments at Turn 1 during the early running.

Sainz locked his left-front briefly on the approach to the uphill 90-degree right hander just before teammate Charles Leclerc had a bigger lock-up with his right-front and went deep into the runoff – the Monegasque later having a near identical incident at the same spot.

Leclerc, who also locked his right-front and went into the runoff at Turn 3 late in the session, took the soft tyres to a 1m05.409s, which put him 0.266s behind Verstappen and just 0.022s ahead of his teammate.

Valtteri Bottas had also risen up the order when he switched to the softs mid-way through the session, but he put in a personal best lap – again on the softs – with just over 10 minutes of the session remaining to take fourth on a 1m05.445s.

Yuki Tsunoda, who went off in the gravel behind Turn 5 during the early laps after dipping his left-side wheels in the gravel exiting the long Turn 4 right-hander, ended up fifth for AlphaTauri.

Kimi Raikkonen took sixth for Alfa, while Sergio Perez, Gasly and Lando Norris rounded out the top 10.

Norris was one of several drivers to take to the runoff at Turn 1, including Mazepin and the Mercedes drivers on a couple of occasions in the closing stages – with Hamilton suggesting he was struggling for tyre warm-up.

Lance Stroll had two high-speed spins – the first at Turn 6 after dipping his right-side wheels into the gravel trap that has been moved closer to the exit kerbs at that point for the 2021 Austrian races.

He speared off to the inside of the track and recovered from the grass, which was at the end of the opening 10 minutes of running, before losing the rear of his car at the final corner as he began a flying lap on the softs at the halfway point.

In the second incident, Stroll spun around after running over the Turn 10 apex kerbs and then lighting up his rear tyres as he put the power down – the Canadian later suggesting the tyres were not at the right temperature as he got on the accelerator.

Stroll was able to turn around and recover, later ending up 13th and two spots ahead of his Aston Martin teammate Sebastian Vettel.

The Astons were split by Guanyu Zhou – running in place of Fernando Alonso at Alpine – while Callum Ilott and Roy Nissany took 16th and 18th for Alfa and Williams, the duo driving in place of Antonio Giovinazzi and George Russell respectively.

Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap
1 Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull 37 1'05.143  
2 Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari 33 1'05.409 0.266
3 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 33 1'05.431 0.288
4 Finland Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 31 1'05.445 0.302
5 Japan Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 35 1'05.474 0.331
6 Finland Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 28 1'05.586 0.443
7 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 32 1'05.709 0.566
8 Mexico Sergio Perez Red Bull 31 1'05.726 0.583
9 France Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 36 1'05.726 0.583
10 United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren 28 1'05.880 0.737
11 France Esteban Ocon Alpine 30 1'05.980 0.837
12 Australia Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 31 1'06.181 1.038
13 Canada Lance Stroll Aston Martin 30 1'06.203 1.060
14 Guanyu Zhou Alpine 29 1'06.414 1.271
15 Germany Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 28 1'06.444 1.301
16 United Kingdom Callum Ilott Alfa Romeo 23 1'06.564 1.421
17 Germany Mick Schumacher Haas 29 1'06.583 1.440
18 Israel Roy Nissany Williams 34 1'06.683 1.540
19 Canada Nicholas Latifi Williams 36 1'06.978 1.835
20 Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin Haas 30 1'07.316 2.173
shares
comments
Alonso says superstition behind doing F1 track walks now

Previous article

Alonso says superstition behind doing F1 track walks now

Next article

Audi and Porsche bosses set for crunch meeting on 2025 F1 engines

Audi and Porsche bosses set for crunch meeting on 2025 F1 engines
Load comments
The unexpected benefit of F1's sprint race repeat Prime

The unexpected benefit of F1's sprint race repeat

OPINION: Formula 1's sprint race trial at Silverstone drew mixed feedback on Saturday, but there remained the true test of how it would impact Sunday's Grand Prix. While fans were busy marvelling at Fernando Alonso's progress, a key lesson was being learned that would directly contribute to the dramatic lap-one clash at Copse the following day

Formula 1
Jul 22, 2021
The off-track considerations that led to Hamilton/Verstappen F1 shunt Prime

The off-track considerations that led to Hamilton/Verstappen F1 shunt

OPINION: Formula 1’s 2021 title fight turned ugly last weekend when Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton collided at the start of the British Grand Prix. Verstappen thankfully walked away unharmed, but this had been a clash long-since coming.

Formula 1
Jul 21, 2021
British Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

British Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2021 British Grand Prix will live long in the memory for the dramatic clash between Formula 1's two title protagonists, which opened the door for other drivers to capitalise. One did so in spectacular fashion, while others fluffed their lines

Formula 1
Jul 19, 2021
How Leclerc almost defied Hamilton after Silverstone clash Prime

How Leclerc almost defied Hamilton after Silverstone clash

A poor start for Valtteri Bottas and the lap one clash between Formula 1's 2021 title protagonists gave Charles Leclerc a surprise lead in the British Grand Prix that he almost held to the end. Here's how the Ferrari driver came close to a famous victory, ultimately denied by a recovering Lewis Hamilton three laps from home

Formula 1
Jul 19, 2021
The signs that suggest Mercedes can win at Silverstone Prime

The signs that suggest Mercedes can win at Silverstone

Red Bull and Max Verstappen scored an early blow against Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes at Silverstone, with sprint qualifying race victory. But that doesn’t mean Sunday’s grand prix is a foregone conclusion. Although Verstappen starts as the favourite, here’s why Mercedes still holds hope of winning

Formula 1
Jul 18, 2021
Uncovering Silverstone's engineering secrets for F1 success Prime

Uncovering Silverstone's engineering secrets for F1 success

Formula 1 returns to Silverstone this weekend, but despite its familiarity to all the teams it is no picnic. Here are five of the key points for engineers to consider prior to the British Grand Prix.

Formula 1
Jul 16, 2021
The 'special relationship' Ferrari will hope to exploit at Silverstone Prime

The 'special relationship' Ferrari will hope to exploit at Silverstone

Ferrari might have snubbed the very first world championship race on British soil but the Scuderia and the UK went on to enjoy some deep connections. As BEN EDWARDS explains, theirs is a shared history that is waiting for its next chapter to be written...

Formula 1
Jul 15, 2021
The political manoeuvring behind F1's return to British GP normality Prime

The political manoeuvring behind F1's return to British GP normality

OPINION: Formula 1 heads back to Silverstone this weekend for the 2021 British Grand Prix, where a full-capacity crowd will return after a painful absence in the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic last year. Here’s how the pieces that permitted a part of returning ‘normal’ life were arranged.

Formula 1
Jul 14, 2021