Formula 1 championship leader Max Verstappen beat the Ferraris to top spot in the sole practice session of the Austrian Grand Prix weekend with his final lap on mediums.
> Three cooldown laps for Verstappen before best lap
> Ferraris in mix after low-key start to session
> Hamilton half a second down in fourth
The upgraded Ferraris featured nowhere near the head of the order until the closing qualifying simulation runs, with Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz having spent the vast majority of the session in the bottom half of the order.
They were 17th and 18th by the time they emerged with 10 minutes remaining – which is when they immediately rocketed up the order on soft tyres.
Sainz had the fastest time as the chequered flag fell, but Verstappen’s lap of 1m05.742s on the mid-range tyre was ultimately 0.241 seconds faster.
Neither Verstappen or Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez completed a lap on the soft compound in FP1, however. The offset between the soft and medium is expected to be around half a second at the Red Bull Ring.
Leclerc also improved his time after the chequered flag had been shown but wound up third, 0.029s behind his team-mate, with Lewis Hamilton – who was fastest after the initial quick laps – fourth in the fastest of the Mercedes, half a second off the pace and just ahead of Perez.
Lance Stroll was fastest of the Aston Martins in sixth, with he and team-mate Fernando Alonso – who like the Red Bulls also did not attempt a lap on softs – sandwiching the Haas of Kevin Magnussen.
The second Mercedes of George Russell and Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu completed the top 10.
Only one Williams appeared in the first 15 minutes of the session – Sky Sports F1 reported Williams said this was in line with its run plan – and when both Logan Sargeant and Alex Albon were sent out for the first time proper they ran softs.
That paid immediate dividends for Albon, who went fifth fastest and subsequently set the fastest first sector of all at that time in his FW45 – with his and Sargeant’s cars both in upgraded spec at the Red Bull Ring, Williams having given Albon priority at the previous round in Canada.
Albon ended up 11th, 1.052s off the pace, with Sargeant 17th but just two tenths further back.
Just 1.6s separated the field, with Lando Norris – who had a small excursion through the gravel at Turn 4, later ran wide at the final corner and also missed the chance for a soft-tyre run at the end of the session – slowest of all in the upgraded McLaren MCL60. His team-mate Oscar Piastri was 12th.
Practice 1 Results
|Nyck de Vries