Grand Prix F1 practice results: Verstappen dominates in Styria

World Championship leader Max Verstappen dominated the opening day of Styrian Grand Prix practice at the Red Bull Ring on Friday, the eighth round of the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship season.

Grand Prix F1 practice results: Verstappen dominates in Styria
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The Friday practice sessions have each been cut to one hour in 2021, instead of the usual 90 minutes each. Verstappen topped both of them, ahead of Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) in FP1 and McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo in FP2.

Styrian Grand Prix FP1 results: Verstappen fastest from Gasly

Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap Interval km/h
1 Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull 34 1'05.910     235.848
2 France Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 32 1'06.166 0.256 0.256 234.936
3 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 32 1'06.332 0.422 0.166 234.348
4 Finland Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 34 1'06.386 0.476 0.054 234.157
5 Japan Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 36 1'06.397 0.487 0.011 234.119
6 Spain Fernando Alonso Alpine 35 1'06.519 0.609 0.122 233.689
7 France Esteban Ocon Alpine 35 1'06.551 0.641 0.032 233.577
8 Canada Lance Stroll Aston Martin 33 1'06.584 0.674 0.033 233.461
9 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 29 1'06.614 0.704 0.030 233.356
10 Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari 36 1'06.629 0.719 0.015 233.303
11 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 33 1'06.630 0.720 0.001 233.300
12 Australia Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 38 1'06.669 0.759 0.039 233.163
13 Mexico Sergio Perez Red Bull 33 1'06.696 0.786 0.027 233.069
14 Germany Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 32 1'06.708 0.798 0.012 233.027
15 United Kingdom George Russell Williams 31 1'06.848 0.938 0.140 232.539
16 United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren 35 1'06.861 0.951 0.013 232.494
17 Canada Nicholas Latifi Williams 31 1'07.180 1.270 0.319 231.390
18 Germany Mick Schumacher Haas 30 1'07.473 1.563 0.293 230.385
19 Poland Robert Kubica Alfa Romeo 30 1'07.823 1.913 0.350 229.196
20 Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin Haas 31 1'08.081 2.171 0.258 228.328

What happened in Free Practice 1?

Verstappen set the medium-tyred benchmark at 1m06.511s, before the soft tyres runs began around the halfway point. Carlos Sainz spun his Ferrari at Turn 1, blocking the pitlane as Bottas wanted to leave on his new soft tyres.

Using softs, Hamilton took P1 with 1m06.390s, which was quickly beaten – by 0.004s – by Bottas. Hamilton then went fastest again on his second push lap on 1m06.332s.

AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly took a turn at the top with a lap of 1m06.166s, just before Verstappen set his session-best 1m05.910s. Bottas was on a faster lap but ran too wide at the final corner, losing a chunk of time and had his lap deleted for track limits anyway.

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Gasly stayed second, a quarter of a second behind Verstappen, with Hamilton in third, 0.054s ahead of Bottas. Yuki Tsunoda was fifth in the second AlphaTauri.

The Alpines of Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon were sixth and seventh respectively, ahead of Lance Stroll (Aston Martin), Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo) and the Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Sainz. Sergio Perez spun his Red Bull at Turn 4 and was only 13th fastest.

Robert Kubica drove Kimi Raikkonen’s car in this session, and spun at Turn 3 early on, but he was still faster than Haas’s Nikita Mazepin.

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Styrian Grand Prix FP2 results: Verstappen fastest from Ricciardo

Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap Interval km/h
1 Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull 37 1'05.412     237.644
2 Australia Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 35 1'05.748 0.336 0.336 236.430
3 France Esteban Ocon Alpine 35 1'05.790 0.378 0.042 236.279
4 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 35 1'05.796 0.384 0.006 236.257
5 Spain Fernando Alonso Alpine 39 1'05.827 0.415 0.031 236.146
6 Germany Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 38 1'05.934 0.522 0.107 235.763
7 United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren 39 1'05.994 0.582 0.060 235.548
8 Canada Lance Stroll Aston Martin 36 1'06.079 0.667 0.085 235.245
9 Mexico Sergio Perez Red Bull 36 1'06.089 0.677 0.010 235.210
10 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 37 1'06.145 0.733 0.056 235.010
11 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 39 1'06.147 0.735 0.002 235.003
12 Finland Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 32 1'06.251 0.839 0.104 234.634
13 Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari 39 1'06.270 0.858 0.019 234.567
14 Finland Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 41 1'06.297 0.885 0.027 234.472
15 Japan Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 39 1'06.451 1.039 0.154 233.928
16 United Kingdom George Russell Williams 39 1'06.628 1.216 0.177 233.307
17 Germany Mick Schumacher Haas 29 1'06.886 1.474 0.258 232.407
18 Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin Haas 30 1'07.404 1.992 0.518 230.621
19 Canada Nicholas Latifi Williams 32 1'07.669 2.257 0.265 229.718
20 France Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 0        

What happened in Free Practice 2?

In FP2, Verstappen set the initial pace on hard tyres at 1m06.722s as rain drops began to fall on a dry track. Alonso beat that time on medium tyres, with 1m06.651s.

With spots of rain and a strong tailwind, Perez locked up and ran wide at Turn 3 and doing likewise were Verstappen and Hamilton. Meanwhile, Sainz spun into the gravel and escaped at Turn 4.

Hamilton then went to the top, setting his 1m06.358s on hard tyres, until Verstappen beat him with 1m06.192s as the rain threat abated.

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Bottas went early with his soft-tyre run but failed to beat Verstappen’s lap. Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll leapt to the head of the times on 1m06.192s on soft rubber, which was beaten by teammate Sebastian Vettel on 1m05.934s.

Hamilton was next to try softs, going top on 1m05.796s, before Ocon beat that by 0.006s with 1m05.790s.

Hamilton went fastest again on 1m05.335s, but this lap was deleted due to exceeding track limits at the final corner, so Verstappen’s next lap of 1m05.412s proved to be the quickest of the day.

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Ricciardo was second fastest – three tenths off Verstappen’s pace – ahead of Ocon, Hamilton, Alonso, Vettel, Lando Norris (McLaren), Stroll, Perez and Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo).

Bottas was only 12th, sandwiched by the Ferraris, and his day went from bad to worse when he spun exiting his pit box on fresh hard tyres – fortunately without hitting anything or anyone. The McLaren mechanics, who were out in the pitlane at the time, helped him reverse and rejoin.

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Elsewhere, Mazepin spun at Turn 4 and rejoined, while FP1 star Gasly had an issue with his power unit and watched the entire session from pitwall.

The threatened rainstorm never arrived, allowing teams to complete their race simulation runs until the chequered flag.

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