Grand Prix practice results: Hamilton fastest in Austria F1
Lewis Hamilton set the fastest lap overall on the opening day of Austrian Grand Prix practice at the Red Bull Ring on Friday, the ninth round of the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship season.
Both Friday practice sessions have each been cut to one hour in 2021, instead of the previous 90 minutes each. Red Bull's Max Verstappen was fastest in FP1 but Hamilton led a Mercedes 1-2 in FP2.
Austrian Grand Prix FP1 results: Verstappen fastest from Leclerc
Carlos Sainz Jr.
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What happened in Free Practice 1?
Verstappen set the early pace at 1m05.558s as the majority of teams ran the prototype tyre compound early on that Pirelli brought to be tested this weekend, which features a stiffer rear sidewall.
Pierre Gasly was second-quickest at the time for AlphaTauri, a quarter of a second in arrears of Verstappen using soft tyres. Having languished at the bottom of the timesheets, after a number of his early laps were deleted for exceeding track limits, Hamilton rose to P3 at the half distance mark – despite coming across traffic at the end of the lap.
Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) was quickest briefly before Verstappen went faster again, setting the best time of the session of 1m05.143s with 26 minutes remaining, a third of a second clear of the rest at the time.
Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz then went P2, 0.288s off the pace, before his teammate Charles Leclerc pipped him on 1m05.409s, 0.022s faster despite repeatedly locking his right-front wheel throughout the session. On his final run with 10 minutes to go, Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) jumped ahead of Tsunoda go fourth fastest.
Kimi Raikkonen was an impressive sixth for Alfa Romeo, ahead of Hamilton – both of whom came across Haas’s dawdling Nikita Mazepin during this session. Sergio Perez was eighth in the second Red Bull, ahead of Gasly and Lando Norris (McLaren).
Lance Stroll had a big spin at Turn 7 on the prototype tyres, skating across the grass in his Aston Martin. Then he spun again on the softs at Turn 10 as he attempted to open a lap, ending the session 13th, just ahead of Guanyu Zhou, who took over Fernando Alonso’s Alpine for FP1.
Other extra Friday runners were Callum Ilott (16th for Alfa) and Roy Nissany (18th for Williams).
Austrian Grand Prix FP2 results: Hamilton fastest from Bottas
Carlos Sainz Jr.
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What happened in Free Practice 2?
In FP2, Verstappen set the initial pace on the test tyres – which we’ll see used in racing action at Silverstone – at 1m05.773s, ahead of Bottas, Tsunoda and Gasly (both using mediums) and Hamilton.
Bottas went fastest on the medium tyres at 1m05.602s, with Hamilton almost matching him moments later. Verstappen then raised the P1 bar to 1m05.239s, also set on mediums.
Alfa Romeo’s Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi impressed on the medium tyres, both running in the top five before the soft-tyre runs began.
Perez was the first of the frontrunners to use the softs but produced a scrappy lap that was P2 at the time (only 11th by the end of session) and 0.277s down on his teammate. Bottas used the softs to far better effect, lowering the P1 time to 1m04.712s.
Hamilton trumped that with 1m04.523, 0.189s quicker than Bottas, while Verstappen could only manage third with 1m04.740s after running slightly wide at Turn 9, 0.217s off the pace.
Stroll and Aston teammate Sebastian Vettel were fourth and fifth, showing strong pace on the soft tyres in particular, ahead of Tsunoda and Gasly. Alonso was eighth, frustrated to trip over Raikkonen at the end of his qualifying sim, ahead of Norris and Giovinazzi.
Ferrari slumped in this session, with Sainz and Leclerc down in 13th and 16th respectively.
Spots of rain fell in the final 20 minutes for the race simulation runs, which caught out Hamilton at Turn 4 and he took a trip through the gravel.
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