World champion Max Verstappen set an impressive pace in the opening practice of the Austrian Grand Prix, ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Mercedes’ George Russell at Red Bull.
Being the Sprint Weekend, FP1 has gained increasing importance in Austria as it was only 60 minutes of circuit time that teams would have to get their cars ready for the weekend, with qualifying taking place later in the afternoon at 1700 local time.
Verstappen clocked 1m 06.302s on soft surfaces, 0.348 seconds ahead of Leclerc with Russell back by half a tenth, before the Red Bull driver turned his attention to long distances on softer tires to gather data for Sprint on Saturday.
Lewis Hamilton pulled off a Mercedes win in the top four, in a place where the Silver Arrows tend to struggle, Kevin Magnussen was an impressive fifth for Haas, with the US team doing well on the fast Austrian 10-corner track.
Red Bull Racing
+ 0.255 seconds
+ 0.400 seconds
Red Bull Racing
+ 0.537 seconds
+ 0.607 seconds
Last time winner at Silverstone, Carlos Sainz was sixth for Ferrari, ahead of Alpine compatriot Fernando Alonso and Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, while Haas’ Mick Schumacher and Alpha Tauri’s Yuki Tsunoda completed the top ten.
It was a miserable day for McLaren, with Lando Norris off track to take out the first two red flags (the second was to allow time to recover some wreckage) and leave it to support the timelines. His teammate Daniel Ricciardo was not happy with the car and was 17th.
Lance Stroll finished 11th for Aston Martin, narrowly ahead of Esteban Ocon (who like his alpine teammate Alonso did all his running on medium tyres) with Sebastian Vettel 13th in the second Aston Martin.
FP1 Highlights: 2022 Austrian Grand Prix
Valtteri Bottas faces an uphill battle this weekend with the Alfa Romeo team opting to alter a host of engine components that will chain him to the rear of the grid.
The Finn finished 14th, with teammate Zhou Guanyu, who was fit this weekend after his big crash at Silverstone, in 18th.
Alex Albon, who runs the full Williams update package, was 14th, ahead of Alpha Tour’s Pierre Gasly, with Nicholas Latifi 19th in Sister Williams.
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