Saturday, July 20, 2024

Austrian GP: Max Verstappen tops practice despite causing red flag ahead of Sprint Qualifying at Red Bull Ring -Dlight News

Max Verstappen was quickest in the only practice session at the Austrian Grand Prix despite causing a red flag.

Championship leader Verstappen stopped on track halfway through the session due to a sensor issue with his engine but rolled back down the hill on the main straight and was pushed back to the garage.

He came back onto the track just a few minutes later and went on to top the timing sheets by 0.276s from McLaren’s Oscar Piastri and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

Lando Norris had gone quickest in the first sector on his soft tyre run but went wide at Turn Four, so aborted his lap and finished down in 13th. McLaren spent the first half of the session testing their new front wing and floor which they have brought to Spielberg.

Carlos Sainz was fourth, with Lewis Hamilton in fifth but the Mercedes driver’s best lap was on the hards and set much earlier in the session.

Hamilton was only 0.569s off Verstappen’s leading pace but his early speed will be encouraging as Mercedes continue to show strong form after podiums in Canada and Spain.

Esteban Ocon was sixth, with the newly re-signed Lance Stroll in seventh for Aston Martin and George Russell was eighth, also on the hard tyres.

Yuki Tsunoda nearly collided with a slow-moving Williams at the final corner but ended up ninth and Fernando Alonso was 10th.

Quick thinking from Red Bull and Verstappen

It looked like Verstappen was going to lose crucial track time ahead of Sprint Qualifying, which is live on Sky Sports F1 at 3.30pm.

His engineer Gianpiero Lambiase told him to stay in the car after switching the car off, before Verstappen began to roll down the hill on the main straight towards a gap in the pit wall.

The marshals pushed him through the gap into the pit lane where his Red Bull crew retrieved the car and managed to quickly get him back out there, so he didn’t lose any time.

Mercedes didn’t do a qualifying simulation, but the early signs are they will be up there with Red Bull and McLaren this weekend.

“Mercedes hit the ground running, they seem to be okay on pace. I feel like Ferrari are lacking a bit,” said Sky Sports F1‘s Anthony Davidson.

“Verstappen was supreme, always quick around here and he’s got the car to do it.

“We didn’t see the full story [with Lando Norris], but that first sector whets the appetite for later.

“I take away from it that Norris is once again Verstappen’s closest competitor in Austria.”

Sky Sports F1’s live Austrian GP schedule

Friday June 28
1.50pm: F2 Qualifying
3pm: Austrian GP Sprint Qualifying (session starts at 3.30pm)*

Saturday June 29
8.25am: F3 Sprint
10am: Austrian GP Sprint (race starts at 11am)*
12.25pm: F2 Sprint
2pm: Austrian GP Qualifying build-up
3pm: Austrian GP Qualifying
5pm: Ted’s Qualifying Notebook

Sunday June 30
7.25am: F3 Feature Race
8.55am: F2 Feature Race
12:30pm: Grand Prix Sunday: Austrian GP build-up*
4pm: Chequered Flag: Austrian GP reaction*
5pm: Ted’s Notebook

*also live on Sky Sports Main Event

F1’s triple-header continues at the Austrian Grand Prix with the Sprint format at the Red Bull Ring. Watch every session live on Sky Sports F1, with Sunday’s big race at 2pm. Stream every F1 race and more with a NOW Sports Month Membership – No contract, cancel anytime

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