FP1: Verstappen tops opening practice at the Red Bull Ring

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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.


11Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Rbpt1:06.30234
216Charles LeclercFerrari1:06.557+0.255s32
363George RussellMercedes1:06.702+0.400s32
411Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Rbpt1:06.839+0.537s27
544Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:06.909+0.607s31
620Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1:06.965+0.663s32
755Carlos SainzFerrari1:07.039+0.737s29
814Fernando AlonsoAlpine Renault1:07.100+0.798s32
947Mick SchumacherHaas Ferrari1:07.246+0.944s32
1022Yuki TsunodaAlphatauri Rbpt1:07.296+0.994s33
1118Lance StrollAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:07.431+1.129s26
1231Esteban OconAlpine Renault1:07.462+1.160s27
135Sebastian VettelAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:07.476+1.174s29
1477Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:07.522+1.220s27
1523Alexander AlbonWilliams Mercedes1:07.582+1.280s32
1610Pierre GaslyAlphatauri Rbpt1:07.592+1.290s33
173Daniel RicciardoMclaren Mercedes1:07.743+1.441s25
1824Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:07.889+1.587s28
196Nicholas LatifiWilliams Mercedes1:08.149+1.847s28
204Lando NorrisMclaren Mercedes1:09.915+3.613s14