Styrian GP FP1 Report: Rain Stays Away as Verstappen Leads Ahead of Mercedes F1

The on-track action in the Styrian Grand Prix is officially under way, with the first practice session now completed. With Spielberg playing host to consecutive races, drivers spent the session feeling their way around the fast-paced Red Bull Ring.

The championship battle between Mercedes and Red Bull continues to intensify, as their drivers jostled for top spot in the timesheets. However, the midfield battle yielded an interesting frontrunner in AlphaTauri.

Max Verstappen tops the timesheets in first practice session at the Styrian GP

Max Verstappen leads Lewis Hamilton by 12 points heading into the Styrian GP. Although Mercedes topped the timesheets for some time, Verstappen stormed to the top of the timesheets towards the second half of the session.

The Dutchman put in the only sub-66 second lap of the session in Red Bull’s home Grand Prix. Although the Dutchman topped the timesheets, his teammate Sergio Perez finished far behind in P13.

Hamilton finished the session in P3 ahead of his teammate Valtteri Bottas in P4, with the Finn looking to prove a point this weekend.

Valtteri Bottas in action at the Styrian GP
Formula One F1 – Steiermark Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Styria, Austria – June 25, 2021 Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas in action during practice REUTERS/Lisi Niesner

Although there are two more practice sessions left, Verstappen laid down a solid marker for his competition in the Styrian mountains.

Pierre Gasly leads AlphaTauri’s charge in the midfield battle

Pierre Gasly put in a spectacular lap during the first practice session, finishing in P2 ahead of both Mercedes. In addition, his teammate Yuki Tsunoda finished just behind both Mercedes drivers in P5.

The Frenchman looks to build on his P7 finish in the French Grand Prix, while Red Bull’s sister team will look to stand out in the midfield battle this weekend. Alpine’s Fernando Alonso finished P6, while Esteban Ocon finished P7.

Although Lance Stroll endured a difficult Friday in France, he put in a solid lap to finish P8 in the timesheets. However, his teammate Sebastian Vettel struggled throughout the session, finishing P14.

While Charles Leclerc endured a difficult French Grand Prix, he finished P10 in this session, with Carlos Sainz just behind him in P11. However, they can take heart from McLaren’s struggles, with Daniel Ricciardo P12 and Lando Norris a lowly P16.

With the first practice session done and dusted, the focus now shifts to FP2. The second practice session takes place later today at 3:00pm local time and 1:00pm IST.

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