Max Verstappen picked up where he left off at the Red Bull Ring to again top the timesheet on the team’s home circuit on the opening day of the venue’s second race, the Austrian GP.
Last Sunday’s runaway race winner set a morning pace of 1:05.143 to outpace Ferrari duo Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, who each displayed strong race pace here last Sunday.
Mercedes have used the few days between races to try and find ways to improve the pace of their W12 around a circuit that has not always historically favoured them, with Lewis Hamilton again returning to the team’s factory to help with the efforts.
Valtteri Bottas was their lead runner in opening practice with the fourth-quickest time, while Hamilton was seventh.
Japan’s Yuki Tsunoda, a points finisher last week, was fifth fastest ahead of Alfa Romeo veteran Kimi Raikkonen.
Lance Stroll was one of last week’s top performers but the Canadian driver spun his Aston Martin twice during the opening session, once at Turn Six and then at the final corner.
“I had no grip – these tyres are done,” reported Stroll over the radio after the latter incident.
More to follow…