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Formula 1

Austrian GP FP1: Everything you need to know

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
3 min read

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen led the opening practice session of Formula 1’s second Red Bull Ring weekend of 2021, the Austrian Grand Prix.

Key moments:

– Verstappen a quarter of a second clear

– Two Ferraris in top three

– Hamilton seventh, Perez eighth

– Two spins for Stroll

Championship leader Verstappen took the lead early on, heading the first half of the session courtesy of a lap on the unmarked prototype Pirelli tyres, equivalent to this weekend’s designated medium compound.

The prototype rubber, used heavily throughout the session, features a new rear construction that Pirelli plans to introduce for next weekend’s British Grand Prix as a response to the two high-speed failures in Baku.

Once Verstappen swapped for softs, AlphaTauri rookie Yuki Tsunoda briefly jumped ahead of him, only for the Dutchman to immediately respond with a 1m05.143s that would end up as the fastest time of the session. Verstappen’s team-mate Sergio Perez would end up only eighth, 0.583s off, having set an identical time to AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly.

The two Ferraris improved on softs to emerge as Verstappen’s nearest FP1 rivals, with Charles Leclerc a quarter of a second down on Verstappen but two hundredths ahead of team-mate Carlos Sainz.

The Mercedes drivers sampled two sets of soft tyres in addition to the prototype set, with Valtteri Bottas using the second set to move up to fourth with just over 10 minutes left on the clock, still 0.302s down on Verstappen.

Reigning champion Lewis Hamilton improved too, but was three places down on Bottas, having both an early run-in with a slowing Nikita Mazepin and, like Bottas, a big lock-up at Turn 1 late on that left him complaining that the tyres were “nowhere near ready”.

Slotting in between the two Mercedes were Tsunoda, who’d dipped into the gravel at Turn 5 that resulted in a sideways snap and a prolonged gravel trip, and Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen.

Callum Ilott was in the other Alfa Romeo car in place of Antonio Giovinazzi, and placed 16th.

He was one of three FP1-only drivers alongside Guanyu Zhou (Alpine) and Roy Nissany (Williams), with Zhou the best-placed in 14th, four tenths down on regular Alpine driver Esteban Ocon but on the medium tyres while Ocon set his fastest time on the softs.

Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll had a pair of spins during the session.

The first came when he dipped into the gravel exiting Turn 6 and went spinning through the grass on the inside of Turn 7, while the second happened at the final corner, as he prepared to commence a push lap.

Despite this, he was two places up on Sebastian Vettel, who had a best time 0.002s off Stroll deleted for track limits.

Practice 1 Results

Pos Name Car Best Time Gap Leader
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1m05.143s
2 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1m05.409s +0.266s
3 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1m05.431s +0.288s
4 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m05.445s +0.302s
5 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Honda 1m05.474s +0.331s
6 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m05.586s +0.443s
7 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m05.709s +0.566s
8 Sergio Pérez Red Bull-Honda 1m05.726s +0.583s
9 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 1m05.726s +0.583s
10 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes 1m05.88s +0.737s
11 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault 1m05.98s +0.837s
12 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren-Mercedes 1m06.181s +1.038s
13 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes 1m06.203s +1.06s
14 Guanyu Zhou Alpine-Renault 1m06.414s +1.271s
15 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin-Mercedes 1m06.444s +1.301s
16 Callum Ilott Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m06.564s +1.421s
17 Mick Schumacher Haas-Ferrari 1m06.583s +1.44s
18 Roy Nissany Williams-Mercedes 1m06.683s +1.54s
19 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 1m06.978s +1.835s
20 Nikita Mazepin Haas-Ferrari 1m07.316s +2.173s
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