Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Red Bull Ring, 2021

Verstappen quickest from Gasly in first practice at Red Bull Ring

2021 Styrian Grand Prix first practice

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Max Verstappen led Red Bull stable-mate Pierre Gasly in the first practice session for the Styrian Grand Prix.

A quarter of a second separated the Red Bull driver from the AlphaTauri. The two Mercedes drivers were next, Lewis Hamilton four-tenths of a second off his championship rival.

AlphaTauri had looked quick all session, with both Gasly and team mate Yuki Tsunoda consistently among the top times. The rookie joined his team mate in the top five.

Verstappen had taken an early fastest time, leading at the 10 minute mark. He set a 1’06.511 lap time on medium tyres which was only beaten by drivers who used the soft compound.

Hamilton initially claimed the fastest time when drivers went out for soft runs, he and Bottas leading for Mercedes in soft times. Hamilton’s 1’06.332, however, was only slightly faster than third-placed Tsunoda’s 1’06.486 and not a huge distance ahead of Verstappen’s medium time.

Verstappen left his own soft tyre stint for later and re-took the top spot. Despite having lap times deleted at various points of the session, his 1’05.910 was unbeatable by other drivers. Gasly was also able to beat both Mercedes drivers on soft tyres, the AlphaTauri driver setting a 1’06.166.

Drivers were exploring – and getting penalised for – track limits. Esteban Ocon, Fernando Alonso and Nikita Mazepin had times deleted for going over the line at turn nine and seven drivers had times deleted for track limits at turn 10, including the Mercedes pair and Verstappen.

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Antonio Giovinazzi had a strong run on soft tyres, setting a 1’06.614 that was good enough to put him in the top five at the session’s halfway point. He was the fastest Ferrari-powered runner at the end, a hundredth of a second faster than Charles Leclerc.

Lance Stroll also looked strong, managing to avoid the track limits problems which compromised his qualifying at Paul Ricard and place himself firmly in the top ten times. The Alpine pair, as in Le Castellet, began practice in strong shape, both well inside the top 10.

McLaren, however, did not fare as well. Lando Norris was penalised for track limits at turn 10 on three occasions and finished the session 16th fastest. Daniel Ricciardo managed to avoid running wide but was still only 12th fastest, behind both Ferraris.

Carlos Sainz Jnr had had a messy session, including a strange spin out of turn one that saw him end up facing the wrong way down the pit exit and struggling to get his car back into gear. Sergio Perez also had a small off on a hot lap, and though he was also able to continue he only managed 13th quickest.

Robert Kubica, who ran the session in place of Kimi Raikkonen, had an early off while running the hard tyres but was able to continue and complete the session, finishing 19th -fastest.

All bar one of the drivers logged at least 30 laps, which will be a relief to teams as rain is forecast for the afternoon session. The lowest final lap count was Giovinazzi on 29, while Ricciardo set 38 laps, the most of any driver during first practice.

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2021 Styrian Grand Prix first practice result

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
133Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda1’05.91033
210Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Honda1’06.1660.25632
344Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’06.3320.42231
477Valtteri BottasMercedes1’06.3860.47633
522Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda1’06.3970.48735
614Fernando AlonsoAlpine-Renault1’06.5190.60935
731Esteban OconAlpine-Renault1’06.5510.64134
818Lance StrollAston Martin-Mercedes1’06.5840.67432
999Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’06.6140.70428
1016Charles LeclercFerrari1’06.6290.71935
1155Carlos Sainz JnrFerrari1’06.6300.72032
123Daniel RicciardoMcLaren-Mercedes1’06.6690.75937
1311Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda1’06.6960.78632
145Sebastian VettelAston Martin-Mercedes1’06.7080.79831
1563George RussellWilliams-Mercedes1’06.8480.93831
164Lando NorrisMcLaren-Mercedes1’06.8610.95134
176Nicholas LatifiWilliams-Mercedes1’07.1801.27030
1847Mick SchumacherHaas-Ferrari1’07.4731.56329
1988Robert KubicaAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’07.8231.91329
209Nikita MazepinHaas-Ferrari1’08.0812.17130

First practice visual gaps

Max Verstappen – 1’05.910

+0.256 Pierre Gasly – 1’06.166

+0.422 Lewis Hamilton – 1’06.332

+0.476 Valtteri Bottas – 1’06.386

+0.487 Yuki Tsunoda – 1’06.397

+0.609 Fernando Alonso – 1’06.519

+0.641 Esteban Ocon – 1’06.551

+0.674 Lance Stroll – 1’06.584

+0.704 Antonio Giovinazzi – 1’06.614

+0.719 Charles Leclerc – 1’06.629

+0.720 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’06.630

+0.759 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’06.669

+0.786 Sergio Perez – 1’06.696

+0.798 Sebastian Vettel – 1’06.708

+0.938 George Russell – 1’06.848

+0.951 Lando Norris – 1’06.861

+1.270 Nicholas Latifi – 1’07.180

+1.563 Mick Schumacher – 1’07.473

+1.913 Robert Kubica – 1’07.823

+2.171 Nikita Mazepin – 1’08.081

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

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2021 Styrian Grand Prix

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Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a freelance journalist who roams the paddocks of Formula E, covering the technical and emotional elements of electric racing. Usually found at...

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16 comments on “Verstappen quickest from Gasly in first practice at Red Bull Ring”

    1. Yeah, looked like they expect the afternoon to be less relevant due to the expected rain, so had to do the work in FP1 already @jerejj.

  1. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
    25th June 2021, 11:39

    Let it rain please, wouldn’t mind a proper wet raceweekend. Then again: Masi will probably make it boring by using rolling starts and red flags.

    1. @barryfromdownunder I assume you didn’t watch the Baku race.

      1. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
        25th June 2021, 11:54

        That wasnt a race that was influenced by heavy rain during the GP.

        It was however a race where our boi Masi did quite a lot wrong. And Pirelli. And afterwards the FIA.

    2. @barryfromdownunder Standing starts have been the norm also for wet weather since 2017.

  2. I didn’t see it – what happened to McLaren’s pace?

    1. Lando broke track limits a lot so a few of his times were deleted but besides that I’m not sure.

      1. I am sure Lando had his fastest laptime deleted (as well as a boatload of other times, at least 4 laps in the last 10 minutes alone, seemed not really to care?), but i got the impression that McLaren were more focussed on long runs this morning than most others, so they were probably running with a bit more fuel for the whole session @petebaldwin, @davidhunter13

  3. Red Bull be like where was this performance from Gasly two years ago? Great to see him up there and doing so well now though, he’s really starting to master that AT.

    1. Since his teammate is 2 tenths behind, I’d be more inclined to think it’s the car more than gasly’s driving.

      1. Maybe he isn’t feeling under pressure any more, and that has allowed him to perform more naturally and better(like max once ricciardo left).

        if I had tsunoda as a teammate, I know I would be feeling no pressure to perform

        Reply moderated
    2. Gasly didn’t give me any reason to believe he’d perform at a top team, I’d like to remind you and any other gasly supporter that he was performing well enough at toro rosso before joining red bull, some drivers are NOT able to extract the required speed from a top team, and gasly is one of them.

      This could’ve changed by now, but if I were red bull, mercedes or any other top team I wouldn’t take a risk to take a driver who can be 1 second off the pace when the car is proper.

  4. Max to Lewis gap bigger than Lewis to Vettel (P14).

    Incredibly close session times.

  5. Other than the obvious reasons(pushing way too hard, trying to push to the absolute limit etc) why is it so difficult for drivers to actually stay on track?

    I’m sure a lot of other people are getting fed up of seeing “driver x had a time deleted for exceeding track limits” every 15 minutes of a gp weekend

    Reply moderated

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