Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Red Bull Ring, 2021

Verstappen leads Ferrari pair, Hamilton seventh in first practice

2021 Austrian Grand Prix first practice

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Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was fastest in first practice for the Austrian Grand Prix, as teams tested Pirelli’s new rear tyre construction for the C4 compound.

The Red Bull-branded teams went to the top of the times at the very start of the 60-minute Friday morning session, with Verstappen and team mate Sergio Perez opting for soft tyres and going one-two. AlphaTauri split their approach, both of their drivers on the medium tyre on their second runs, before they switched to the prototypes.

Pierre Gasly briefly replaced Verstappen at the top of the times early on. But the Alpha Tauri driver’s fastest lap was deleted due to a track limits infringement, and after that the points leader remained on top until the chequered flag.

The Ferrari drivers ended up closest to Verstappen on pace once they switched to the soft tyre. Charles Leclerc lapped 0.266 seconds slower than Verstappen and 0.022s faster than team mate Carlos Sainz Jnr.

Valtteri Bottas put Mercedes in fourth place, but the team never looked like going any higher than that as they did aero testing on their cars. A few of Lewis Hamilton’s early laps were deleted due to track limits violations. Once the track was busier later into the session, it became for drivers harder to get a clear lap and make improvements.

Guanyu Zhou, Alpine, Red Bull Ring, 2021
Gallery: 2021 Austrian Grand Prix practice in pictures
Yuki Tsunoda was the top AlphaTauri driver in fifth, a quarter of a second up on team mate Gasly in ninth. Between them were Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen, who focused mostly on performance runs, Hamilton and Perez.

The top 10 was completed by Lando Norris’ McLaren. His team mate Daniel Ricciardo and the two Ferrari drivers were the only ones to run on the hardest tyres, with Ricciardo not running the prototype C4 on his way to 12th place.

Alpine’s Esteban Ocon was 11th fastest and the last driver within a second of Verstappen’s pace, while Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll was 13th despite two spins, including a high-speed off when he touched the recently-laid gravel trap at turn six.

He wasn’t the only driver having difficulties, as Ferrari and Mercedes struggled with front tyre locking into turn one and Haas’s Nikita Mazepin frustrated several of his rivals by getting in their way. That led to some close moments and more of Tsunoda’s characteristically animated radio messages when his lap was compromised.

Three teams ran different drivers for the opening session, all of which had trouble-free runs. Alpine’s debutant Guanyu Zhou, who currently leads Formula 2 standings, was 14th ahead of Alfa Romeo’s Callum Ilott in 15th and Williams’ Roy Nissany in 18th.

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2021 Austrian Grand Prix first practice result

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
133Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda1’05.14335
216Charles LeclercFerrari1’05.4090.26632
355Carlos Sainz JnrFerrari1’05.4310.28832
477Valtteri BottasMercedes1’05.4450.30229
522Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda1’05.4740.33134
67Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’05.5860.44327
744Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’05.7090.56630
811Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda1’05.7260.58329
910Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Honda1’05.7260.58335
104Lando NorrisMcLaren-Mercedes1’05.8800.73726
1131Esteban OconAlpine-Renault1’05.9800.83729
123Daniel RicciardoMcLaren-Mercedes1’06.1811.03829
1318Lance StrollAston Martin-Mercedes1’06.2031.06028
1437Guanyu ZhouAlpine-Renault1’06.4141.27128
155Sebastian VettelAston Martin-Mercedes1’06.4441.30127
1698Callum IlottAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’06.5641.42123
1747Mick SchumacherHaas-Ferrari1’06.5831.44028
1845Roy NissanyWilliams-Mercedes1’06.6831.54033
196Nicholas LatifiWilliams-Mercedes1’06.9781.83534
209Nikita MazepinHaas-Ferrari1’07.3162.17329

First practice visual gaps

Max Verstappen – 1’05.143

+0.266 Charles Leclerc – 1’05.409

+0.288 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’05.431

+0.302 Valtteri Bottas – 1’05.445

+0.331 Yuki Tsunoda – 1’05.474

+0.443 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’05.586

+0.566 Lewis Hamilton – 1’05.709

+0.583 Sergio Perez – 1’05.726

+0.583 Pierre Gasly – 1’05.726

+0.737 Lando Norris – 1’05.880

+0.837 Esteban Ocon – 1’05.980

+1.038 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’06.181

+1.060 Lance Stroll – 1’06.203

+1.271 Guanyu Zhou – 1’06.414

+1.301 Sebastian Vettel – 1’06.444

+1.421 Callum Ilott – 1’06.564

+1.440 Mick Schumacher – 1’06.583

+1.540 Roy Nissany – 1’06.683

+1.835 Nicholas Latifi – 1’06.978

+2.173 Nikita Mazepin – 1’07.316

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

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2021 Austrian Grand Prix

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Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching Photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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19 comments on “Verstappen leads Ferrari pair, Hamilton seventh in first practice”

  1. Where did Kimi’s time come from?!

    1. It’s only practice mate.

  2. Hamilton behind Kimi? Sauber for the win this weekend!

    1. Breaking, Hamilton is cracking under pressure, just as Vettel’s 2018. Now Verstappen is now the greatest driver on the grid.

      1. 🤣🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🇬🇧

        1. One quick question: Do you still click the wrong button every single time?

      2. Breaking news, Anybody could win in that RB16. It is all the car, heck even Mazepin could win in the Redbull.

  3. Mercedes looked to be running experimental set-ups, looked like a research session for them to gather data.
    Good opportunity to do it with it being the same track; the tyres are one stop softer and it’s cooler today, but other than that, you don’t get many opportunities like this to compare race set ups.

    I doubt this is for “fixing” their race pace for this weekend, but it’ll be valuable data for their engineers to work on for upgrades.

    1. @geekzilla9000, i noticed a lot of flowfiz on a different diffuser. So some tinkering to make the new parts work as intended is always necessary.

  4. Mercedes sandbagging again, trying to look bad only to be the surprised stars on Saturday qualifying again.
    Ok this year they don’t always take the pole but always first or 2nd row close to Max while on Friday showing big gap.

    1. @jelle-van-der-meer I don’t see it as sandbagging when a team uses the Friday training for setup and information gathering rather than getting fast laps.

      1. They’ve definitely sandbagged in the past, but I agree @matthijs, Mercedes can’t afford to sandbag now! They need to squeeze in as much testing as they can and FP1 is a good place to start!

        1. Wait for their comments, we have this and this problem, we don’t know, something wrong.

        2. @geekzilla9000
          They can prepare their car for the weekend while still sandbagging.

    2. You must be continually perplexed when FP1 doesn’t reflect either the qualifying order or the race. And just to help you along; Bottas won’t be running with hi-vis paint Sunday either.

  5. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    2nd July 2021, 12:41

    Isn’t this the track where Verstappen lapped Gasly when they were teammates? Terrible track for his teammates.

  6. FP1. Nothing to see here. Move along..

  7. It’s practice, so surprise, surprise, they’re practicing.

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