F1 – Verstappen Tops Practice In Austria Despite Causing Red Flag

F1 – Verstappen Tops Practice In Austria Despite Causing Red Flag

Max Verstappen topped the timesheet in the sole practice session for this weekend’s 2024 FIA Formula 1 Austrian Grand Prix, despite bringing out the red flags midway through the session due to an engine issue. Oscar Piastri was second McLaren ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

At the start of the single hour of practice on F1’s third Sprint weekend of 2024, Verstappen was first out on track on Medium tyres. However, it was George Russell on Hard tyres who led the way early on with the Mercedes driver taking P1 with a time of 1:07.932. Verstappen briefly went quicker but Russell soon returned to the top with a lap of 1:07.013.

After playing second fiddle to his Mercedes team-mate in the opening stages, Lewis Hamilton put his Mercedes top shortly before the 10-minute mark with a time of 1:06.925, also set on Hard tyres.

The Williams pair of Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant then became the first to switch to Soft tyres and though both enjoyed the advantage of better grip, Albon only climbed to P9 initially while Sargeant languished in 17th. The American then improved to 11th as Albon dropped to 12th.

Further up the order Hamilton went quicker again, stopping the clock at 1:06.254, a tenth up Russell on Hards, with Verstappen third and 0.4s back on Mediums.

Just after the halfway mark Verstappen lost power in the final corners of a lap and he then crawled to a halt on the pit straight telling his team that he had an “engine fault”. He then rolled back down the hill before marshals came to his aid and pushed his RRB20 back to the pit lane.

Remarkably, after a short red flag spell, Verstappen was quickly back in action after the track went green again. The Dutchman’s car had suffered a minor sensor issue and after a reset he was on his way again.

In the final 10 minutes of the session more qualifying sims began to arrive, with Charles Leclerc jumping to the top of the order with a 1:06.055 on the red-walled soft compound. The Monegasque was soon bumped out of top spot, however, with Verstappen putting in a 1:05.685.

That proved to be the session-best time as Russell abandoned his Soft tyre lap when he was slowed by a Sauber at Turn 4, while Lando Norris, who might have pipped Verstappen, locked up and slid wide at the same corner.

That opened the door for Piastri who took second in the other McLare, 0.276s behind Verstappen and almost a tenth ahead of Leclerc. Hamilton, meanwhile, did not attempt a Soft tyre run and focused on Hard tyres in the latter stages of the session. Behind Lelcerc, Carlos Sainz was fourth in the second Ferrari ahead of Hamilton, Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll, Russell, RB’s Yuki Tsunoda and Aston’s Fernando Alonso.

2024 FIA Formula 1 Austrian Grand Prix – Free Practice 1 
1  Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda RBPT 1:05.685  28 236.656
2  Oscar Piastri McLaren/Mercedes 1:05.961 0.276 32 235.666
3  Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:06.055 0.370 31 235.331
4  Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:06.987 1.302 31 232.056
5  Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:06.254 0.569 39 234.624
6  Esteban Ocon Alpine/Renault 1:07.341 1.656 30 230.837
7  Lance Stroll Aston Martin/Mercedes 1:06.384 0.699 27 234.164
8  George Russell Mercedes 1:06.386 0.701 32 234.157
9  Yuki Tsunoda RB/Honda RBPT 1:07.510 1.825 30 230.259
10  Fernando Alonso Aston Martin/Mercedes 1:07.905 2.220 30 228.919
11  Pierre Gasly Alpine/Renault 1:07.468 1.783 28 230.402
12  Sergio Pérez Red Bull/Honda RBPT 1:06.783 1.098 24 232.765
13  Lando Norris McLaren/Mercedes 1:07.050 1.365 30 231.838
14  Zhou Guanyu Sauber/Ferrari 1:07.964 2.279 28 228.721
15  Valtteri Bottas Sauber/Ferrari 1:07.613 1.928 29 229.908
16  Daniel Ricciardo RB/Honda RBPT 1:06.962 1.277 31 232.143
17  Nico Hülkenberg Haas/Ferrari 1:06.966 1.281 30 232.129
18  Alexander Albon Williams/Mercedes 1:06.995 1.310 28 232.029
19  Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1:07.145 1.460 31 231.510
20  Logan Sargeant Williams/Mercedes 1:07.259 1.574 29

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