Austrian Grand Prix: Red Bull’s Max Verstappen Set Fastest First Practice Time

Three of the cars had reserve drivers: Chinese Guanyu Zhou was 14th in the Alpine, British Callum Ilott was 16th in the Alfa Romeo, and Roy Nissany was 18th in the Williams.

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Austrian Grand Prix: Red Bull's Max Verstappen Set Fastest First Practice Time - SportRazzi
Austrian Grand Prix: Red Bull's Max Verstappen Set Fastest First Practice Time / Photo credit: BBC

Max Verstappen of Red Bull set the pace in first practice for the Austrian Grand Prix, with Mercedes of title rival Lewis Hamilton down in seventh.

Verstappen was 0.266 seconds faster than Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in a session skewed by teams testing a new Pirelli tyre.

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Carlos Sainz of Ferrari was third fastest, followed by Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes and Yuki Tsunoda of Alpha Tauri.

Kimi Raikkonen of Alfa Romeo was sixth fastest, ahead of Hamilton.

After the two high-speed failures suffered by Verstappen and Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix last month, Pirelli’s new rear tyre is a beefed-up construction aimed at making the tyres safer.

During the two sessions on Friday, each driver must complete a minimum of 12 laps on the new tyre. Pirelli will then analyze the data and, if satisfied, will introduce the new tyre at the next race, the British Grand Prix.

Verstappen, who won the Styrian Grand Prix on this same track last weekend, said he felt at ease with the Red Bull from the first lap on Friday morning.

Mercedes has spent the three days since the last race attempting to determine whether there is anything they can do with the car’s set-up to make them more competitive this weekend.

The weather is cooler than last weekend, but Pirelli has brought a softer tyre selection for this second race, with three of its softest compounds.

The top ten was completed by Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly, and McLaren’s Lando Norris.

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Three of the cars had reserve drivers: Chinese Guanyu Zhou was 14th in the Alpine, British Callum Ilott was 16th in the Alfa Romeo, and Roy Nissany was 18th in the Williams.

Lance Stroll of Aston Martin had two high-speed spins, one at Turn Six and one at the final corner, but there were no crashes during the hour-long session.

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