The opening day of the Styrian Grand Prix saw Lewis Hamilton set the fastest lap time, but the Briton lost his benchmark to track limits. In the end, championship leader Max Verstappen came out on top, although the weather conditions could mix things up in the remainder of the race weekend.
Although Mercedes failed to top the timing sheets on the opening day of the Styrian Grand Prix, the Anglo-German team seemed to be in a good shape again. Lewis Hamilton’s best lap would have seen him set the benchmark, but his lap of 1m05.335s got deleted for a track limits violation. All signs point towards another close fight between Mercedes and Red Bull, although the weather conditions could spice things up both in qulifying and the race.
FerrariCharles Leclerc - FP1: 1:06.629, P10; FP2: 1:06.270, P13
"We learned a lot today, having tried many solutions. Our long run pace seems quite competitive compared to our closest rivals. Where we did struggle a bit was with our qualifying pace, which it is not usually the case, so we will have to concentrate on this tonight and tomorrow.
„It’s hard to say if we have found the way to get the tyres to work at their best but we look in better shape when compared to the previous race. There’s still a question mark over the weather, as it could rain and also be cooler and that could make the situation even more complicated."
"It was an intense Friday. In the morning, we tried various set-ups to find the best direction to follow regarding the tyres. Our main aim in both of today’s sessions was to understand the behaviour of the various compounds.
"Tomorrow we will concentrate more on enhancing the car’s performance on flying laps with the aim of qualifying well, but it will not be easy. Our race pace was not bad, but we are cautious and we will continue to analyse all the information and data gathered today."
Aston MartinSebastian Vettel – FP1: 1:06.708, P14; FP2: 1:05.934, P6
“I think we have made a decent start to the weekend. Our pace over one lap is looking encouraging and I think we can squeeze out more from the longer runs. We have a good idea of where we can make those improvements, which is the important thing.
„Racing in the mountains means it can be really tricky to predict the weather, so it is going to be about making sure we are on the right tyres at the right time and reacting well to the conditions. We have not had much wet running this year, so it would be good to experience the car in the rain.”Lance Stroll - FP1: 1:06.584, P8; FP2: 1:06.079, P8
“The car felt good from the first lap and both sessions were positive for us. We know where we can make some improvements, such as the balance in the low-speed corners, so we will go away tonight and review the data to see where we can find some further improvements. There has been a lot of talk about rain, but it only slightly drizzled at times today, so it was not really a factor. I love driving in wet conditions and it always mixes up the field - so I will not complain if we get some rain tomorrow or Sunday.”
Alfa RomeoKimi Raikkonen - FP2: 1:06.297, P14
“I was able to do a good job in the afternoon session and the car didn’t feel too bad: of course, you can always improve on it but that’s what we need to work for ahead of tomorrow. Traffic is an issue around this short track and it made it quite tricky today: in qualifying, it will be important to pick the right time. We’ll see what the weather does tomorrow: in any case, especially on such a short lap, we’ll need to put all the corners together as every tiny mistake matters.”
Robert Kubica – FP1: 1:07.823, P19
“It’s always great to be back in an F1 car, although today hasn’t been the smoothest day. I’ve been racing in other categories since I last drove the C41 in Barcelona and it’s not easy to get a feeling when you only have a couple of laps to get up to speed. Still, I enjoyed the opportunity and hopefully brought the team some useful data.
„It’s hard to compare how much the car has moved forward since I last drove it, as we are always testing different things in varying conditions, but the general feeling is positive: the team has been doing well lately and you can feel the confidence building. We know we can be in the fight if we do a good job, so we have to make the most of our package and of any opportunities.”Antonio Giovinazzi - FP1: 1:06.614, P9; FP2: 1:06.145, P10
“It was a good Friday today, the car balance felt good from the first laps in FP1 so we have a good base to build on. We are happy with the day but we also know that tomorrow will be more difficult: we need to keep working tonight, find some speed in a few little details and hopefully have the same positive feeling when we head out in FP3. Putting a lap together here is a challenge, traffic and track limits will be key topics in qualifying: but if we get everything done, we can have a good Saturday too.”
Red BullMax Verstappen - FP1: 1:05.910, P1; FP2: 1:05.412, P1
“Overall it’s been quite a good day for us and although there are a few things to look into, which is very normal for a Friday, I am quite happy with where the car is at the moment. In the second practice Lewis had a faster lap time that was deleted so it looks a bit different to what is shown at the moment on the timesheets but we expect to see both teams at the top. The weather forecast looks like it is changing all the time, so let’s see what it is actually like tomorrow, but I think it will be a very tight battle again.”Sergio Perez - FP1: 1:06.696, P13; FP2: 1:06.089, P9
“Track conditions were tricky at the start of FP2 but they improved throughout the session. From our side we need to do a bit of fine tuning as there’s definitely some more potential in the car and finding a few tenths here makes a huge difference. I’m still learning the best set up adjustments for the car and as usual, taking my time with the engineers to get that right. I think we do have good pace and the long runs seem to be promising. So, if we’re able to find a couple of tenths overnight then we should be in the fight tomorrow and hopefully we can put a good lap together in Q3.”
MercedesLewis Hamilton – FP1: 1:06.332, P3; FP2: 1:05.796, P4
"Overall, a work in progress - it's been a beautiful day, a few drops of rain at the start of the second session but the track is awesome. We're a little bit down, particularly over a single lap, but generally the car felt relatively solid.
„I'm happy with where we've got the car to, I've been working hard all week trying to figure out where I want the car and I hope the hard work starts paying off soon. Red Bull are throwing some good punches at the moment so we've just got to have our guard up and make sure we're ready for the return."Valtteri Bottas - FP1: 1:06.386, P4; FP2: 1:06.251, P12
"FP1 felt overall a bit better but in FP2, we had just one run with lower fuel and that was a little messy so the lap time on the board was nothing amazing. But the focus for today was on the long runs, trying to find the long run performance - we prioritised that well today and hopefully that will pay off on Sunday. Lewis and I were running quite different set ups so we have lots to analyse tonight to find the best bits to take into qualifying and the race."
McLarenDaniel Ricciardo - FP1: 1:06.669, P12; FP2: 1:05.748, P2
“So, a good day. I’d say strange. Strange because we were expecting a lot of rain, especially this afternoon and it didn’t quite arrive. We weren’t expecting two dry sessions. Whether that’s going to stay for the weekend, we’ll see.
“I think it was a productive Friday for sure. In the morning we were a little off the pace. We made a few adjustments for the afternoon and I think that was better. Obviously, the time sheets certainly show it was better. We made a step in feeling and confidence in the car, but I do feel there’s another step we need to make to stay in a strong position for tomorrow. A bit of fine-tuning tonight but otherwise we should be pretty good. I’m happy with the day and we’ll go from there.”Lando Norris - FP1: 1:06.861, P16; FP2: 1:05.994, P7
"A positive day. We started FP1 not looking too good, but we made some changes and definitely made the car better going into FP2. Hopefully we can make another step into FP3 and gain even more lap time, but it’s going to be extremely close. It's all about putting the lap together and doing that consistently. I think we can be confident we have a decent car, but it’s going to be tight no matter what."
Esteban Ocon - FP1: 1:06.551, P7; FP2: 1:05.790, P3 “It’s been a busy Friday for us with lots of things completed. Having both cars well into the top 10 is positive but it is only Friday and we need to stay focused and keep working on the areas that we can improve. Nevertheless, it’s been a productive day and we look forward to tomorrow. It’s nice to be third on the timesheets and hear ‘you’re P1’ on the radio for a short moment, but it’s only FP2 and tomorrow is when it counts.”Fernando Alonso - FP1: 1:06.519, P6; FP2: 1:05.827, P5
“It was a smooth Friday for us today. We were all expecting a wet free practice session, but the weather stayed on the dry side, so we completed our normal programme. The car felt good straight away in FP1 and I think there is more pace to come as we didn’t quite put everything together. That gives me confidence heading into qualifying tomorrow so hopefully we should be in for a competitive weekend.”
AlphaTauriPierre Gasly - FP1: 1:06.166, P2; FP2: No time set, P20
“This morning was great, the pace and performance of the car was strong and everything went well, so it was a really positive session for the start of the weekend. Unfortunately, the team spotted an issue on the PU and didn’t want to take any risks, so have spent the afternoon checking this.
„There were some things we wanted to try during FP2 so it’s a shame to have not been able to do that but at the end of the day, there’s nothing we can do about it and we just need to look forward to tomorrow now. Yuki didn’t feel as comfortable in the car this afternoon as he was in FP1, so we need to go away and analyse all the data we have ahead of tomorrow, then we can piece everything together for Qualifying.”Yuki Tsunoda - FP1: 1:06.397, P5; FP2: 1:06.451, P15
“I’m fairly happy with today. We saw in FP1 that the short run pace of the car is definitely there, and I was able to put in some good lap times during the session. However, on the longer runs in FP2 I struggled quite a bit with the balance of the car, so I need to work on that tonight. I know there’s a chance of rain tomorrow, but I would prefer dry conditions if I’m honest. I don’t have a lot of experience in the wet in Formula 1 so that would make things trickier for me. If it’s dry, I just need to put everything together step-by-step in Qualifying and increase my confidence as I go through the session.”
"It was enjoyable out there; the car felt good and our high fuel runs are looking really strong, so there are plenty of positives. The conditions were difficult at the start of FP2 with some rain, so I didn’t push too hard as it wasn’t worth the risk, but I think we’ve definitely got some more lap time in the pocket. We’ve been very consistent with our qualifying efforts this season, so I’m hoping for Q2 tomorrow. However, we’re also focussing on finding a balance which translates that qualifying performance into race pace, as that’s where the points are scored."Nicholas Latifi - FP1: 1:07.180, P17; FP2: 1:07.669, P19
"The track limits were a little tricky out there today, and in FP2 I overstepped a little bit and dipped the wheel on the edge of the gravel which caused the car to spin. The car set-up felt good though, which is definitely an improvement from France. In terms of tomorrow, it’s a little difficult to say what the expectations are, especially due to the changing conditions, but we’ll go away tonight, analyse the data and make sure we’re ready for qualifying."
HaasMick Schumacher – FP1: 1:07.473, P18; FP2: 1:06.886, P17
“Overall, we had steady improvement over the day. We got to do everything we wanted, and I feel like we’re in a pretty decent place. There were a few raindrops at the beginning of FP2 but they didn’t do any harm. There are always things you can improve, whether that’s with driving or the car.
„It’s not far away from what I want in the car, it’s just about finding a little percent here and there to try to get it to exactly where I want it to be. I wasn’t expecting a Q2 appearance at Paul Ricard but we were there, so hopefully we’ll be able to make a surprise appearance again here.”Nikita Mazepin – FP1: 1:08.081, P20; FP2: 1:07.404, P18
“The first few laps in FP1 were a lot calmer in comparison to tracks I know less – such as Portugal, Baku and Monaco for example. Overall, it was quite a chilled working day. I was pretty surprised this morning when I woke up because I expected it to be pouring down with rain and it wasn’t. We got some dry running in, some understanding of the set up, but I’m not sure if we’re going to be using much of that knowledge tomorrow subject to the weather.
„I’m trying to be happy regardless of the factors I cannot control. I can learn a lot from the conditions that we had today, but it’s also a great learning opportunity for me and the team to get this car around in the wet conditions. Let’s see what the weather brings.”