Clouds had appeared on the Spielberg circuit when the F1 Austrian Grand Prix EL2 started. This session, which takes place between the qualifications and the Sprint, allows in particular to test the tires and the strategies for the long stints.
At the start of the session, however, the drivers did some performance testing, and it didn’t take long for the Ferraris of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc to top the timesheets. Shortly after, it was Max Verstappen who took over, and quickly improved to 1’08″966.
The Dutchman was on soft tyres, unlike the Ferrari drivers, on medium tyres. Lando Norris took fourth place, also in soft, ahead of Pierre Gasly in medium, who then took fourth place. The Frenchman, tenth on the Sprint grid this afternoon, seems to be showing the best.
George Russell set the provisional sixth fastest time while Lewis Hamilton was still in the garage, his car not ready as he received a new chassis on his Mercedes W13 overnight after his crash in qualifying yesterday. Both drivers have changed gearboxes, Russell has a new one, and no penalty is expected for the two men.
The Alpine F1 drivers were also in the garage, although they have shown an excellent level so far and will start fifth (Esteban Ocon) and eighth (Fernando Alonso) in the Sprint. Leclerc wondered about the behavior of his engine but chained the fast laps.
Russell took third and Gasly improved to fifth, still with the medium tires. Alex Albon also placed in the top 10, ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, Lance Stroll (in mediums) and Yuki Tsunoda. Sergio Pérez was only 11th in soft rubber.
Albon then progressed to sixth place on his soft tyres, one second behind Verstappen. Shortly before the half-hour session, the activity on the track started to change, and the drivers worked on the long stints, with a view to the Sprint therefore, but above all the race tomorrow. The Alpine and Hamilton riders were still not out.
Alonso and Ocon finally set a time mid-session, and immediately placed fourth and sixth. Pérez then took fifth, while Norris and Guanyu Zhou moved ahead of the Frenchman. Hamilton was still in the garage, and it was surprising that Mercedes F1 chose not to use the curfew to repair the W13 n°44.
Verstappen improved his time to 1’08.799 on medium tyres, and Pérez moved up to third place. Ocon and Alonso then progressed to second and third, on medium tyres. Leclerc, on soft tyres, took the hand in 1’08″660.
Also on soft tyres, Sainz took the best time in 1’08″610, 50 thousandths of a second ahead of his teammate, Leclerc. Gasly moved up to the top 10, also on soft tyres, immediately beaten by Lance Stroll.
There were 14 minutes left in this session when Hamilton took to the track, wearing soft rubber. From his first lap, the Briton ranked ninth, 0″110 behind Russell.
The ranking has not changed and it is therefore Sainz who is in the lead ahead of Leclerc and Verstappen. The Alpines confirm their good form in fourth place for Alonso, and fifth for Ocon. Pérez is sixth ahead of Russell, Valtteri Bottas, Hamilton and Norris.
Stroll is 11th ahead of Gasly, who is framed by Aston Martin. Zhou is 14th ahead of Albon and Mick Schumacher, whose Haas seemed down compared to yesterday. Daniel Ricciardo is 17th ahead of Kevin Magnussen, Tsunoda and Nicholas Latifi.
|01||carlos sainz||Ferrari F1-75||1:08.610||40|
|02||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari F1-75||1:08.660||13|
|03||Max Verstappen||Red Bull RBPT RB18||1:08.778||32|
|04||Fernando Alonso||Alpine Renault A522||1:08.832||21|
|05||Stephen Ocon||Alpine Renault A522||1:08.848||24|
|06||Sergio Perez||Red Bull RBPT RB18||1:09.179||36|
|07||george russell||Mercedes W13||1:09.240||33|
|08||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo Ferrari C42||1:09.251||28|
|09||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes W13||1:09.350||14|
|ten||Lando Norris||McLarenMercedes MCL36||1:09.519||38|
|11||Spear Stroll||Aston MartinMercedes AMR22||1:09.525||43|
|12||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri RBPT AT03||1:09.579||37|
|13||Sebastian Vettel||Aston MartinMercedes AMR22||1:09.602||44|
|14||Guanyu Zhou||Alfa Romeo Ferrari C42||1:09.665||36|
|15||Mick Schumacher||Haas Ferrari VF-22||1:09.700||32|
|16||Alex Albon||Williams Mercedes FW44||1:09.740||34|
|17||Daniel Ricardo||McLarenMercedes MCL36||1:09.852||34|
|18||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari VF-22||1:09.960||34|
|19||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri RBPT AT03||1:10.005||39|
|20||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Mercedes FW44||1:10.261||36|