Mercedes were off the pace of their Dutch rival in the first session for this weekend's Austrian Grand Prix, but the fine-tuning and simulator work they have performed since last weekend's Austrian Grand Prix seemed to pay off in the afternoon session. The Anglo-German team hit back to secure a one-two in the second one-hour session, beating championship leader Max Verstappen for the early glory.
"It can sometimes be tough missing a practice session, but there are only seven real corners here and we did plenty of running last week, so if you’re going to miss FP1 then this is the track to do it at. Our main focus from today was getting some mileage on the new tyres that are coming in Silverstone and, even with a bit of rain, I think we’re all feeling like we got a good read on those.
„In terms of qualifying and race preparations, the pace looked ok, but things often change slightly come Saturday afternoon. As always, the goal tomorrow is to qualify as high as possible. Q2 is the minimum we’re hoping for, but we’ll wait and see what the day brings."Roy Nissany – FP1: 1:06.683, P18
"Today was great, it definitely felt like one of the most productive sessions I’ve done for the team and the pace felt strong. I love this track having driven here so often and in lots of different categories, but going through the fast section in the FW43B was the best feeling yet. We gathered a lot of data which we’ll spend the evening analysing and learning from, so I’m feeling really happy with today."Nicholas Latifi - FP1: 1:06.978, P19; FP2: 1:06.014, P19
"It was a very busy Friday in Austria, trying to fit in the two extra sets of tyres in what is already packed hour sessions. However, it was very valuable to gather the information as these are the tyres that we will be using from Silverstone onwards.
„Overall, today was a tale of two sessions, with different feelings between FP1 and FP2. The first practice session felt much better compared to the second, so we have to understand why that is as we made minimal changes. That is what we are going to go through now, to ensure we end today on a positive note."
Red BullMax Verstappen - FP1: 1:05.143, P1; FP2: 1:04.740, P3
“From our side we didn’t have a perfect run in FP2 but nevertheless I felt good in the car and there are no real problems. Mercedes looked quite quick on the soft so we just have to make sure we have a little more pace on that compound because we looked stronger on the medium and in the long runs, which at the end of the day is the most important for the race. We also tested the new Pirelli prototype tyre which seemed to be fine.
„It did get quite greasy out there but luckily it was good enough to keep on driving so we had a good read on the long run pace. I think it will be tight again this weekend as it looks like Mercedes improved a bit but we will see tomorrow in qualifying and the most important thing is to make sure we look after the softer compounds in the race.”Sergio Perez - FP1: 1:05.726, P8; FP2: 1:05.516, P11
“The long runs were definitely more promising today but there’s still a lot of work to do. Both sessions were quite tough and I’m not feeling fully comfortable with the car on the softer compound yet. We need to analyse the data tonight to try and get the pace back to where we would expect it to be, ready for qualifying tomorrow. We seemed to be quite far away from the balance with the low fuel but we corrected that quite quickly, we were also seeing less degradation on these tyres too which is good. It’s good to see Pirelli bringing a new tyre to test this weekend before we use them at Silverstone. Overall, I learnt a lot from today and it’s great to see all of the fans here at the Red Bull Ring and hopefully we can have a good qualifying tomorrow and a solid race on Sunday.”
🗣 "I learnt a lot from today and it’s great to see all of the fans here at the Red Bull Ring and hopefully we can have a good qualifying tomorrow and a solid race on Sunday." @SChecoPerez on #AustrianGP practice 🇦🇹 pic.twitter.com/o8HOJq4qcL— Oracle Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) July 2, 2021
MercedesLewis Hamilton – FP1: 1:05.709, P7; FP2: 1:04.523, P1
"Red Bull have definitely got something extra in their bag but we've made some small steps forward and over a single lap, the car felt pretty good. FP1 was a bit of a struggle, we were trying different set up variations based on our work in the sim this week and the car wasn't happy. In FP2, we reverted to a similar set up as last week, with a few other adjustments, and the car felt much better.
„I probably won't change much now because most often if it ain't broke, don't fix it! So just tiny tweaks for me this evening. I still expect Red Bull to be ahead of us, but we'll be trying to make the gap as small as possible tomorrow."Valtteri Bottas - FP1: 1:05.445, P4; FP2: 1:04.712, P2
"Today was good fun - with the second week, every single margin in terms of cornering performance and driving performance becomes smaller so it's about fine-tuning rather than finding big chunks of time. I think we started OK in terms of how the car feels, much better than last week, so hopefully we can build from that. It's practice so you never what programs other teams are running - no doubt the Red Bulls are still strong and they are gaining on the straight which has been a bit of a weakness for us but we'll find out tomorrow when everybody turns their engine up.
"The softer tyre compounds make a big difference, it feels like the tyres are holding on better in the long-runs and I think the temperatures will be quite variable over the weekend so let's see what effect that has on the tyres. Max was a bit out of reach last weekend but it's a new week, we've learned a lot, I like to think we're closer but no doubt they'll still be very quick."
FerrariCharles Leclerc - FP1: 1:05.409, P2; FP2: 1:05.708, P16
"It was a busy day, because of the packed programme we ran. We still have lots of things to work on, and I don’t think our times are representative. The main improvement we need to find is on the rears and we also have to tune the car better for tomorrow. We used the C5 compound for the first time, and have to understand how to extract the maximum from it.
"Looking at our race trim, I’d say it looks solid. In terms of qualifying pace, we still haven’t found the small step we need in order to be further ahead. We will keep working on it and hopefully secure strong starting positions tomorrow."Carlos Sainz - FP1: 1:05.431, P3; FP2: 1:05.620, P13
"An interesting day at the office. Today we went on track with a very similar car to last week’s, but it felt completely different due to the wind and the change in track conditions.
"We have been trying different things, and we were not focusing on the timesheet. Our main goal was refining our run plan, playing with the set up and trying to understand both the new Soft compound and the new tyres Pirelli will introduce at Silverstone."
Aston MartinSebastian Vettel – FP1: 1:06.444, P15; FP2: 1:05.268, P5
“Firstly, it was very nice to see fans at the track again and that they are keeping safe. It was interesting conditions out there today because we have a softer range of tyres this weekend and it was much cooler conditions. There was also some drizzle at the end, although it did not affect us very much.
„We have done our homework after last weekend’s race and we tried a few different things today, too. It was nice to be in the top five in the afternoon, but the focus is on making sure we show some good pace in qualifying and reach Q3 to give ourselves the best possible chance of points.”Lance Stroll - FP1: 1:06.203, P13; FP2: 1:05.139, P4
“It has been a good day for us. The morning was a little more eventful for me, but I think we managed to put together plenty of clean laps and we have learned a lot. One of the key factors this weekend will be the softer range of tyres that Pirelli has chosen.
„I think it is a good call because it could mix things up on Sunday and create some strategy variance. In a tight midfield battle, that could be exciting. On our side, the car feels good on the softer tyres. All in all, we can be happy with our work today. Now it is about extracting the maximum for qualifying tomorrow.”
AlpineEsteban Ocon - FP1: 1:05.980, P11; FP2: 1:05.527, P12
“It’s been a very busy day with lots of different tests completed. We had the prototype tyre to test out and that was interesting. We also ran the C5s, softs, which is different to what we had last weekend with the C4. We did some valuable runs on those on both low and high fuel.
„The conditions were also a lot different to last weekend, much cooler, so the lap times were a little quicker. The long runs were in line with what we expected too, and there’s more work required tonight to analyse that. All in all, a busy, but productive day.”
“It was good to be back in the car this afternoon especially with the C5 tyre compound, that we didn’t have last weekend. It was good to try some laps on them on both short runs and long runs. I think that we still need to do some work to fine tune the set up of the car; with this tyre compound, maybe, we have a different balance. It was quite a smooth FP2 for us and there’s more to come tomorrow hopefully.”Guanyu Zhou - FP1: 1:06.414, P14
“It felt special to drive FP1 today. I’m really happy with all my runs and I was able to get familiar with the tyres early on. I didn’t expect to be up to speed so quickly and the pace was definitely there on the mediums.
„I felt good this morning, and I was getting more confident on each lap. I just wanted to build it up steadily and grow into the session. I’d like to thank the team for the opportunity, it was certainly very special. Hopefully I made everyone proud and there will be more moments like this later in my career.”
McLarenDaniel Ricciardo - FP1: 1:06.181, P12; FP2: 1:05.698, P15
“It’s been an interesting day – from the classification it doesn’t look like a good day, but we actually made some progress in a few areas. We’ll just try to make another step tomorrow and maybe that puts us in the fight.
„If I didn’t know the classification, I’d be more optimistic with the day, but I think just some fine-tuning is needed. We’ll keep chipping away to find a few more tenths overnight and I think that’ll put us where we need to be. We’ve got some work to do, but we’re looking alright.”Lando Norris - FP1: 1:065.880, P10; FP2: 1:05.466, P9
"A positive day because we tested a lot of different things, but we just haven’t put everything together really. Of the things we tested, some were good, some not as good, and we now have a better understanding of the car than we did last weekend. Hopefully we can choose all the best things from the work we did today and progress tomorrow to make sure we’re that little bit quicker than we were last week. Today was a productive day and let's see what we can do tomorrow."
Alfa RomeoKimi Raikkonen - FP1: 1:05.586, P6; FP2: 1:05.624, P14
“It was a fairly regular Friday. Of course, everyone knows the track really well after last week so we won’t find out until tomorrow where everyone really is. I am quite confident, but we know the margins are so small that anything can happen. In the end, we will need to find something tonight because we know everyone else will and we have to make a bigger step ahead than the others. We just focus on ourselves and on doing our best and we’ll see what tomorrow brings.”Callum Ilott - FP1: 1:06.564, P16
“I really enjoyed the session today: I feel I made a good progression and we were able to try and learn a good amount of things. Jumping in the car when everyone else had a full week of running here is never easy, but I still feel it was a very positive session.
„We were able to address directly some of the key aspects the team wanted to check from last weekend and in the end we were able to do a run on soft tyres, which was fun. I felt more familiar with the car and with how everything works: I’m getting used to it and this allows me to work better, so I am satisfied with my day.”Antonio Giovinazzi - FP2: 1:05.511, P10
“It was quite a smooth FP2 for me, we finished the full programme we set out to do including some laps on the prototype tyres and some high-fuel runs. In general, it was a positive session. The midfield seems very close, as always, so we will need to keep working hard to find that little extra performance to be at the edge, especially on Saturday. We still have one session before qualifying to refine our package and then we’ll give our maximum in qualifying.”
HaasMick Schumacher – FP1: 1:06.583, P17; FP2: 1:05.911, P18
“Today’s running was quite different - we saw lap times dropping quite quickly compared to last week. I think we’re a bit faster compared to last week and I think that’s just because you know where to put the car. In general, it was interesting, especially in the long runs as that’s probably the weather we’ll find in the race. We collected good data and now it’s about analysing and seeing what we can do better for the race on Sunday.”Nikita Mazepin – FP1: 1:07.316, P20; FP2: 1:06.173, P20
“This car has a difficult aero package – one of the most difficult I’ve driven. Coming from junior formulas, more aero balance means more oversteer, but in F1 it definitely doesn’t mean that, with things like the different way the tires work during the lap and all sorts of things that affect the warm up. It’s quite extreme and not very straightforward I’d say.
„But we’re using these Friday practices to experiment with the set up, and then try and divert both cars into something that could potentially give us a good gain. Free practice time has been reduced from last year, we’re just trying things – so, tomorrow should be more equal and finalised let’s say."
AlphaTauriYuki Tsunoda - FP1: 1:05.474, P5; FP2: 1:05.356, P6
“We’ve had a decent day and are happy that we’ve maintained the pace from last week. We have worked hard on our longer running, as that was something we found we struggled with during the race, and I think this has been really positive. They weren’t the easiest conditions out there, the circuit is much colder this week and then we had some rain towards the end of FP2.
„My main objective today was to gather as much data as possible ahead of qualifying and the race, by slowly building up my lap times and I’ve achieved that without making any mistakes, so I’m pleased with that.”