Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Red Bull Ring, 2021

Verstappen half a second up on Mercedes in third Austrian GP practice

2021 Austrian Grand Prix

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Red Bull’s Max Verstappen laid down an ominous marker ahead of Austrian Grand Prix qualifying by heading the Mercedes drivers by over half a second in the final practice session.

Through the first half of Saturday practice there was no sign of Verstappen, as everyone else used Pirelli’s prototype rear construction for the C4 tyre for the final time before its likely race debut at the British Grand Prix later this month.

Once those runs were out of the way, Verstappen exited the pits and immediately went to the top of the times. Several improvements after that meant he ended the session with a 1’04.591 as his best lap.

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton got close at times, once within a tenth of a second of Verstappen’s pace, but his fastest lap time was deleted due to a track limits violation and it was team mate Valtteri Bottas who ended practice in second place.

Just 0.003 seconds behind Hamilton in third was AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly. Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi went fifth fastest after switching to the C5 tyres following substantial running on the C4 compound – using both the prototype and nominated rear tyres – making him the fastest Ferrari-powered driver by 0.002s.

Carlos Sainz Jnr was sixth for Ferrari ahead of Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, another late switcher to the C5 tyre after his focus was on using the C4 for much of the session. Alpine’s Fernando Alonso and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc ended the session eighth and ninth quickest, respectively.

Leclerc was one of several drivers to have off-track moments which led to the deletion of lap times. Yuki Tsunoda had the most spectacular as he had a half-spin exiting turn nine, McLaren’s Lando Norris ploughed through the grass a corner later and Haas’s Nikita Mazepin went through the gravel at turn five but avoided any damage.

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2021 Austrian Grand Prix third practice result

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
133Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda1’04.59115
277Valtteri BottasMercedes1’05.1290.53822
344Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’05.2770.68620
410Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Honda1’05.2800.68927
599Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’05.3450.75427
655Carlos Sainz JnrFerrari1’05.3470.75629
711Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda1’05.3960.80520
814Fernando AlonsoAlpine-Renault1’05.4340.84323
916Charles LeclercFerrari1’05.4840.89335
105Sebastian VettelAston Martin-Mercedes1’05.5420.95122
1118Lance StrollAston Martin-Mercedes1’05.5460.95519
1222Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda1’05.5610.97023
1331Esteban OconAlpine-Renault1’05.6741.08322
1463George RussellWilliams-Mercedes1’05.6941.10323
154Lando NorrisMcLaren-Mercedes1’05.7001.10923
163Daniel RicciardoMcLaren-Mercedes1’05.7251.13421
177Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’05.7471.15631
1847Mick SchumacherHaas-Ferrari1’06.0781.48726
196Nicholas LatifiWilliams-Mercedes1’06.1051.51417
209Nikita MazepinHaas-Ferrari1’06.2891.69828

Third practice visual gaps

Max Verstappen – 1’04.591

+0.538 Valtteri Bottas – 1’05.129

+0.686 Lewis Hamilton – 1’05.277

+0.689 Pierre Gasly – 1’05.280

+0.754 Antonio Giovinazzi – 1’05.345

+0.756 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’05.347

+0.805 Sergio Perez – 1’05.396

+0.843 Fernando Alonso – 1’05.434

+0.893 Charles Leclerc – 1’05.484

+0.951 Sebastian Vettel – 1’05.542

+0.955 Lance Stroll – 1’05.546

+0.970 Yuki Tsunoda – 1’05.561

+1.083 Esteban Ocon – 1’05.674

+1.103 George Russell – 1’05.694

+1.109 Lando Norris – 1’05.700

+1.134 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’05.725

+1.156 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’05.747

+1.487 Mick Schumacher – 1’06.078

+1.514 Nicholas Latifi – 1’06.105

+1.698 Nikita Mazepin – 1’06.289

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

PosDriverCarFP1FP2FP3Fri/Sat diffTotal laps
1Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’05.7091’04.5231’05.277+0.75481
2Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda1’05.1431’04.7401’04.591-0.14985
3Valtteri BottasMercedes1’05.4451’04.7121’05.129+0.41785
4Lance StrollAston Martin-Mercedes1’06.2031’05.1391’05.546+0.40780
5Sebastian VettelAston Martin-Mercedes1’06.4441’05.2681’05.542+0.27486
6Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Honda1’05.7261’05.3791’05.280-0.099100
7Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’05.5111’05.345-0.16659
8Carlos Sainz JnrFerrari1’05.4311’05.6201’05.347-0.08498
9Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda1’05.4741’05.3561’05.561+0.20594
10Fernando AlonsoAlpine-Renault1’05.3931’05.434+0.04157
11Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda1’05.7261’05.5161’05.396-0.1288
12Charles LeclercFerrari1’05.4091’05.7081’05.484+0.075100
13Lando NorrisMcLaren-Mercedes1’05.8801’05.4661’05.700+0.23483
14Esteban OconAlpine-Renault1’05.9801’05.5271’05.674+0.14786
15Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’05.5861’05.6241’05.747+0.16191
16George RussellWilliams-Mercedes1’05.8191’05.694-0.12559
17Daniel RicciardoMcLaren-Mercedes1’06.1811’05.6981’05.725+0.02782
18Mick SchumacherHaas-Ferrari1’06.5831’05.9111’06.078+0.16789
19Nicholas LatifiWilliams-Mercedes1’06.9781’06.0141’06.105+0.09189
20Nikita MazepinHaas-Ferrari1’07.3161’06.1731’06.289+0.11692
21Guanyu ZhouAlpine-Renault1’06.41428
22Callum IlottAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’06.56423
23Roy NissanyWilliams-Mercedes1’06.68333

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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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9 comments on “Verstappen half a second up on Mercedes in third Austrian GP practice”

  1. Lewis Engineer was now lying about where they lost time to Max. Straights to turn 2 and turn 3 he said, still trying to implying Honda upgraded the engine.

    Funny enough Hamilton lost most time in sectors 2 and 3 so through the corners rather than on the straights they are losing time which is either a Mercedes car issue or a Lewis driver issue.

    1. @jelle-van-der-meer He wasn’t lying though as on his fast lap Lewis ran wide over the high kerb on the exit of turn 1 which would have cost him time both there & on the run to turn 3 due to carrying less speed. We saw this on the live broadcast, Karun & Paul commented on it & we saw several replays.

      It was also noted on Sky’s commentary that Verstappen was faster in the speed traps in sectors 1 & 2 by a couple mph.

      But nice to know that you obviously know better & have far more data than the Mercedes engineer’s & former drivers doing commentary on Sky.

      1. What former drivers, the same ones who were showed as buffoons by the entire world when Ferrari presented them as their witnesses given their expertise/opinion in a certain situation?! Come on, what they say don’t value 2 cents.

    2. Without pointing out all your errors there was no mention of T2 during that exchange, and probably not all weekend, it is a nothing bend. And if you had watched all practices surely you would have noticed that its Max getting his foot down earlier coming out of the corners where he is gaining, That’s down to the car and driver, not the engine.

  2. bUt MeRcEdEs HaVe ThE bEsT cAr

    1. Roses are red, Violet are blue. Mercedes best car, Red Bull wins.

      Violet are blue, Roses are red. Hamilton best driver, Verstappen wins.

    2. Hamilton’s fp2 time is faster than fp3’s best time, just saying.

  3. That time from Russell though, I really hope he doesn’t languish for another season at Williams.

    1. I’m sure HAM is pleading with Merc to keep BOT.
      He knows if RUS comes over he won’t just have competition from Max.
      I suspect Merc will keep BOT one more season to placate him.
      A shame.if they deny RUS a seat.

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