Reigning world champion Max Verstappen ended the disrupted opening practice for the Austrian Grand Prix on top, dominating the session on both the medium and the soft compound. Charles Leclerc took 2nd with Ferrari while George Russell confirmed Mercedes' improvement with a third place. F1Technical's Balázs Szabó reports from the Red Bull Ring.
The session started with every driver eager to get out on to the track, knowing that a sole 60-minute session proceeds the vital qualifying as this weekend's Austrian Grand Prix features the special sprint weekend format.
The first minutes saw Max Verstappen dominate the field on the medium compound, beating Alpine's Fernando Alonso. The Ferrari and Mercedes drivers spent the opening phase of the session in the second half of the order, concentrating on high fuel runs. Halfway through the session, the practive was red-flagged as Lando Norris' McLaren came to a halt. The Briton stopped at Turn 6 and complained on the radio that his car was alight.
It took relatively long for the marshals to recover the stricken McLaren. When the session was restarted, drivers got out on to the 4.3km Red Bull Ring on Pirelli's red-walled C5 compound. Ferrari's Charles Leclerc briefly took over the lead, but Verstappen clocked a 1m 06.302s to top the session ahead of his championship rival.
Mercedes sent out its driver quite late on the soft tyre, but both George Russell and Lewis Hamilton were quick on the C5 rubber, occupying the third and fifth place respectively. Red Bull's Mexican racer Sergio Perez slotted in between the two Mercedes drivers while Ferrari's Carlos Sainz appeared to struggle for pace and finished the session down in P7 following his win at last weekend's British Grand Prix.
The midfield battle was extremely close once again with only a couple of tenths of a second separating the Alpine, AlphaTauri, Alfa Romeo and Aston Martin drivers. Valtteri Bottas faces un uphill battle this weekend as he is set to start the Austrian Grand Prix from the back of the field after his team decided to install fresh power unit elements into his Alfa Romeo.
|1||1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Rbpt||1:06.302||34|
|4||11||Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing Rbpt||1:06.839||+0.537s||27|
|6||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||1:06.965||+0.663s||32|
|8||14||Fernando Alonso||Alpine Renault||1:07.100||+0.798s||32|
|9||47||Mick Schumacher||Haas Ferrari||1:07.246||+0.944s||32|
|10||22||Yuki Tsunoda||Alphatauri Rbpt||1:07.296||+0.994s||33|
|11||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||1:07.431||+1.129s||26|
|12||31||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault||1:07.462||+1.160s||27|
|13||5||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||1:07.476||+1.174s||29|
|14||77||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:07.522||+1.220s||27|
|15||23||Alexander Albon||Williams Mercedes||1:07.582||+1.280s||32|
|16||10||Pierre Gasly||Alphatauri Rbpt||1:07.592||+1.290s||33|
|17||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Mclaren Mercedes||1:07.743||+1.441s||25|
|18||24||Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:07.889||+1.587s||28|
|19||6||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Mercedes||1:08.149||+1.847s||28|
|20||4||Lando Norris||Mclaren Mercedes||1:09.915||+3.613s||14|