F1- Racing Point’s Sergio Pérez tops opening practice at first Styrian Grand Prix

F1- Racing Point’s Sergio Pérez tops opening practice at first Styrian Grand Prix

Sergio Pérez went quickest in the opening practice session for the first Styrian Grand Prix, with the Racing Point driver beating Red Bull’s Max Verstappen by less than a tenths of a second. Mercedes’s Valtteri Bottas was third.

McLaren’s Carlos Sainz set the pace in the early part of the 90-minute session, a period that was characterised by a number of team running aerodynamic rakes as they tested development parts ahead of the second event of the season at the Red Bull Ring. 

Red Bull’s Alex Albon then moved to the top of the order on medium tyres before ceding he position to team-mate Max Verstappen who set time of 1:06.087s, also on medium compound Pirelli tyres.

Verstappen then chipped away at his benchmark until the session was red-flagged a third of the way through when Williams’s Nicholas Latifi stopped at Turn 5. The Canadian driver reported that his engine had lost power.

Once running resumed Verstappen continued to improve on medium tyres, eventually reaching 1:05.760s as the halfway mark approached.

Mercedes’s Bottas and Lewis Hamilton then moved to medium tyres and after Bottas enjoyed a very brief spell at the top, Hamilton took over with a lap of 1m05.208s.

Pérez then went out on softs tyres and took P1 with a lap of 1:04.867s just before the one-hour mark. Bottas then took P2 on medium tyres before Verstappen switched to soft compound Pirellis to steal second place just 0.096s off Perez’s best time.

Pérez’s teammate Lance Stroll finished the session in fourth place on a 1:05.396. The Canadian ended the 90 minutes just under a tenth ahead of Red Bull’s Alex Albon, with Sainz seventh ahead of AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly and Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo.

Sebastian Vettel finished 10th for Ferrari, which was trialling its new front wing and floor for the first time.

Further back, Jack Aitken made his F1 weekend debut with Williams and he finished in P17 just ahead of Robert Kubica who made his first practice appearance for Sauber. Haas’ Kevin Magnussen did not set a time due to a possible battery problem.

2020 FIA Formula One Styrian Grand Prix – Free Practice 1 
1 Sergio Pérez Racing Point/Mercedes 1:04.867 32 239.641
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda 1:04.963 0.096 31 239.286
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:05.089 0.222 31 238.823
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:05.120 0.253 29 238.710
5 Lance Stroll Racing Point/Mercedes 1:05.396 0.529 36 237.702
6 Alexander Albon Red Bull/Honda 1:05.483 0.616 28 237.386
7 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren/Renault 1:05.602 0.735 40 236.956
8 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri/Honda 1:05.698 0.831 27 236.609
9 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1:05.769 0.902 31 236.354
10 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:05.770 0.903 25 236.350
11 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri/Honda 1:05.815 0.948 28 236.189
12 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:05.837 0.970 28 236.110
13 Esteban Ocon Renault 1:05.874 1.007 35 235.977
14 Lando Norris McLaren/Renault 1:05.908 1.041 25 235.856
15 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1:06.441 1.574 23 233.963
16 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1:06.446 1.579 31 233.946
17 Jack Aitken Williams/Mercedes 1:06.768 1.901 35 232.818
18 Robert Kubica Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1:06.797 1.930 31 232.717
19 Nicholas Latifi Williams/Mercedes 1:09.598 4.731 6 223.351
20 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 3  

Source : Fia