Formula 1

FP1: Perez sets the pace as Racing Point star in first practice for the Styrian GP

imageRacing Point’s Sergio Perez was the driver to beat in FP1 on Friday morning as F1 returned to the Red Bull Ring for this weekend’s Styrian Grand Prix. Perez was followed closely by Max Verstappen of Red Bull and Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes on the timesheets as the Silver Arrows failed to finish 1-2 a practice session for the first time this season.

Perez’s time of 1m04.867s on soft tyres was 0.051s slower than Lewis Hamilton’s fastest lap set in last Friday’s FP1 on the same track, but 0.096s faster than Verstappen’s time today. The Red Bull driver was testing a new rear-wing for the session while Honda also brought reliability upgrades for their engine after the team suffered a double DNF in last week’s Austrian Grand Prix.

Third-place Bottas and Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton in fourth were just over two-tenths of a second slower the Racing Point leader – but on medium compound tyres, while Perez’s time was set on the softs.

Lance Stroll rounded out the top five for Racing Point, half a second back, with Alex Albon in the second Red Bull in sixth-place overall.

The session was briefly stopped after 30 minutes when Williams’ Nicholas Latifi stopped at Turn 5 with a gearbox issue, but the session was largely incident-free.

In seventh and reportedly sporting aero upgrades was McLaren’s Carlos Sainz, who finished a tenth faster than AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly in P8. Gasly’s team mate Daniil Kvyat spun at Turn 3 with two minutes remaining with a wicked snap of oversteer on the exit, to finish 11th. Last week’s third-place man Lando Norris was down in 14th in the second McLaren.

Just 0.001s apart, Daniel Ricciardo and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel rounded out the top 10 with Ricciardo in ninth for Renault. Charles Leclerc was 12th with Ferrari having brought new aero parts including a new front-wing and rear diffuser, as well as a new floor for Leclerc to test, after they struggled for pace last weekend. The Monegasque was the last driver within a second of session leader Perez with both Ferraris on soft tyres.

Two familiar faces stepped in for the regular drivers in FP1: former Williams driver Robert Kubica replaced Antonio Giovinazzi at Alfa Romeo for the session, and Jack Aitken took over from George Russell at Williams. Aitken (P17) finished 0.029s faster than Kubica (P18).

Finally, Kevin Magnussen was stuck in the garage throughout the session with a battery issue in his VF-20, with team mate Romain Grosjean in 16th as Haas hope for a better showing following their double retirement last week.

2020 Styrian Grand Prix — FP1 Results

1 11 Sergio Perez RACING POINT BWT MERCEDES 1:04.867 32
2 33 Max Verstappen RED BULL RACING HONDA 1:04.963 +0.096s 31
3 77 Valtteri Bottas MERCEDES 1:05.089 +0.222s 31
4 44 Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES 1:05.120 +0.253s 29
5 18 Lance Stroll RACING POINT BWT MERCEDES 1:05.396 +0.529s 36
6 23 Alexander Albon RED BULL RACING HONDA 1:05.483 +0.616s 28
7 55 Carlos Sainz MCLAREN RENAULT 1:05.602 +0.735s 40
8 10 Pierre Gasly ALPHATAURI HONDA 1:05.698 +0.831s 27
9 3 Daniel Ricciardo RENAULT 1:05.769 +0.902s 31
10 5 Sebastian Vettel FERRARI 1:05.770 +0.903s 25
11 26 Daniil Kvyat ALPHATAURI HONDA 1:05.815 +0.948s 28
12 16 Charles Leclerc FERRARI 1:05.837 +0.970s 28
13 31 Esteban Ocon RENAULT 1:05.874 +1.007s 35
14 4 Lando Norris MCLAREN RENAULT 1:05.908 +1.041s 25
15 7 Kimi Räikkönen ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI 1:06.441 +1.574s 23
16 8 Romain Grosjean HAAS FERRARI 1:06.446 +1.579s 31
17 40 Jack Aitken WILLIAMS MERCEDES 1:06.768 +1.901s 35
18 88 Robert Kubica ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI 1:06.797 +1.930s 31
19 6 Nicholas Latifi WILLIAMS MERCEDES 1:09.598 +4.731s 6
20 20 Kevin Magnussen HAAS FERRARI 3

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