Photo: FIA

Verstappen Quickest in Opening Practice for Styrian Grand Prix


F1 Drivers’ Championship leader Max Verstappen went quickest in the opening practice session for this weekend’s FIA Formula 1 Styrian Grand Prix, beating AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.

Verstappen set the quickest time on medium tyres in the first phase of the session, working his way down to a lap of 1:06.511 a third of the way through the hour.

Mercedes then made the switch to soft tyres with Hamilton claiming top spot on a 1:06.390. The defending champion’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas then went quickest with a lap of 1:06.386s shortly before the half hour mark.

Hamilton then restored supremacy with a lap of 1:06.332, which remained his best of the session as Mercedes later moved to longer runs.

Gasly then made his move and the AlphaTauri driver muscled his way to top spot with a lap of 1:06.116.

Red Bull switched to soft tyres just as the session moved into its final half hour and Verstappen jumped back to P1 with a lap of 1:05.910. That lap, over two tenths of a second clear of Gasly and almost half a second ahead of Hamilton, stood as the best of the session until the flag.

Bottas might have gone quicker than the Dutchman but the Mercedes driver

ran wide in the final corner and lost time. He ended the session 0.476 off Verstappen in P4.

Yuki Tsunoda extended AlphaTauri’s strong start to the weekend with fifth place ahead of Alpine drivers Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon. Lance Stroll took eighth for Aston Martin ahead of Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi, with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc rounding out the top 10.

2021 FIA Formula 1 Styrian Grand Prix – Free Practice 1
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 34 1:05.910
2 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 32 1:06.166 0.256
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 32 1:06.332 0.422
4 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 34 1:06.386 0.476
5 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 36 1:06.397 0.487
6 Fernando Alonso Alpine 35 1:06.519 0.609
7 Esteban Ocon Alpine 35 1:06.551 0.641
8 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 33 1:06.584 0.674
9 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 29 1:06.614 0.704
10 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 36 1:06.629 0.719
11 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 33 1:06.630 0.720
12 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 38 1:06.669 0.759
13 Sergio Perez Red Bull 33 1:06.696 0.786
14 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 32 1:06.708 0.798
15 George Russell Williams 31 1:06.848 0.938
16 Lando Norris McLaren 35 1:06.861 0.951
17 Nicholas Latifi Williams 31 1:07.180 1.270
18 Mick Schumacher Haas 30 1:07.473 1.563
19 Robert Kubica Alfa Romeo 30 1:07.823 1.913
20 Nikita Mazepin Haas 31 1:08.081 2.171

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