The rain threatens the Red Bull Ring and should mark the second free practice session of the Styrian F1 GP this afternoon, in addition to being able to appear in qualifying or race. For this reason, all the teams decided to make the most of the first free practice sessions of the weekend at the Spielberg track this Friday morning with extensive work programs in which to start hitting the key with the appropriate settings for their cars. The times were still unrepresentative on a track where many drivers had their laps invalidated due to exceeding the track limits, a great warning for everyone before qualifying on Saturday. However, although the times still need to improve a lot, Max Verstappen was in charge of sending the first message to his great rival Hamilton leading the session with a 1’05 ”910, beating a Pierre Gasly (at 0 ”256) that slipped into second position ahead of Hamilton, which was third at 0 ”422. Red Bull is favorite with Max and the Dutchman started in the best of ways, leaving good feelings ahead of a crucial weekend. He wants to win again at his team’s home as he did in 2018 and 2019, although the fight against the Mercedes is again expected to be tremendous. Lewis and a bottas which was fourth, they kept more potential before the real battle.
Final classification of the FP1 of the F1 Styrian GP 2021Max Verstappen at the 2021 F1 Styrian GP
In fifth position he finished a Tsunoda in need of better results, and just behind, the two Alpine, which started in a good place as they did at Paul Ricard. But as it happened in France, we will have to wait for qualification to see the real out of Alonso and Ocon on this track. The Asturian already told MD last week that his expectations for the remainder of the championship were the same at the beginning, fighting to be between 8th and 12th in the standings and fighting for the points on Sunday. But be careful because the rain could give Alonso the opportunity he was looking for to maximize those results. For now, the Spaniard is preparing to test eagerly on the wet in FP2 if the weather forecasts finally come true.
Max Verstappen at the 2021 F1 Styrian GP
Ferrari, to improve degradation
Before that, it was time to test setups and different configurations in FP1 where the Ferrari they were far from their goal of leading the middle zone. Leclerc was 10th at 0 ”719 and Sainz was 11º at 0” 720. Both, separated by a thousandth, but still without giving importance to the times and yes to their sensations. His objective was to verify that the changes made to the car, analyzed during three long days of work in Maranello, served to improve the serious degradation problems that Ferrari had in Paul Ricard and in other previous races. Above all, Ferrari suffers on circuits where the front wheels are extremely demanding. It is not the case of Red Bull Ring, where things are more balanced. Ferrari should suffer less here, although it will also depend on the rain and when it appears. If you do it just before the race and then the asphalt dries up, you could hurt some more Ferrari that without grip, sliding, they degrade more.
Carlos Sainz had a somewhat busy start to the day. First, he had some problem with the accelerator pedal. “I noticed something strange when coming out of the pits, in turn 1,” said the Spaniard before returning to the pits. Subsequently, a turn was canceled for exceeding the track limits, and immediately afterwards, he spun out of the second corner, in full acceleration. However, they were all minor setbacks. There is still a lot of cloth to cut and Carlos only thinks about the improvement of his car in the race compared to a Sunday in Paul Ricard very suffered.
Carlos Sainz, at the 2021 F1 Styrian GP