Max Verstappen hit the ground running in Spielberg, and went fastest at the end of FP1 for the 2022 Austrian Grand Prix, ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.
The Dutchman seemed comfortable from the word go at the Red Bull Ring, and was comfortably fastest at the end of session that was interrupted twice by Red flags.
Charles Leclerc tried all he could but could not get close to the his rival, and ended the session over tenths slower, as George Russell was third fastest for Mercedes.
With qualifying set to take place on the same day, that puts the Red Bull driver at a decent advantage for Friday afternoon’s shootout.
Buildup towards FP1
Formula 1 will be holding its second Sprint Race of the 2022 season at the weekend of the 2022 Austrian Grand Prix, held at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg.
The race in Austria has big shoes to fill, coming after a thrilling weekend of the sport at Silverstone just one week ago, a race where all you could think of happened, with controversy, dramatic crashes, and supreme racing all featuring during F1’s stay at the UK.
The great news is that the two drivers involved in the crashes – Zhou Guanyu and Alex Albon – are both well and fit to race this weekend, while we can hopefully throw the poison from Nelson Piquet’s statement behind us, and maybe see if Ferrari can go through this weekend without any drama…
Also worth keeping an eye on is the form the Mercedes will be in this weekend, after a strong appearance at Silverstone, because the chances are that it may well be another false sign of resurrection after the one we got from Barcelona.
A potential controversy might ignite as the Formula 1’s Technical Advisory Committee will convene this weekend to discuss the FIA’s Technical Directive regarding the clamp down on 2022 F1 cars’ bouncing, as well as the matter of some teams – Ferrari and Red Bull – violating the intent of the regulations, a topic out technical expert Mark Kay analyzed in full in his latest Tech Draft.
Max Verstappen will be setting his target of having a win at his team’s home race, where the Orange Army would be out in full to support the 2021 Champion, especially after the disappointment of Silverstone that saw him finish seventh.
Nevertheless, with qualifying being after FP1 immediately, giving the teams limited times to set their cars up, and the nature of the Red Bull ring being a short track punishing the slightest error, all should be the ingredients for another spicy weekend of F1 racing.
Austria FP1 Session Insights
Red Bull brought some revisions to their RB18 for Austria, a revised engine cover with a central cooling exit to dissipate more heat from the power unit, as well as revised front brake cooking ducts, along with a tweaked floor.
Red Bull have come to Austria with some upgrades! 🔧
Twenty minutes into the session, Lando Norris parked his McLaren at Turn 6, bringing out the Red Flags, not something none of the teams needed with so little time available for them to dial their cars ahead of qualifying on Friday afternoon.
🚩 RED FLAG 🚩
📻 “I’m on fire I need to stop… there’s smoke from under my seat so I’d rather get out alright”
Norris reported on the team radio that he was “on fire and needed to stop” adding that their was smoke coming out” from under his feet.
The session was resumed with almost half the time remaining, but the session was Red flagged again ten minutes later, as there was some debris on the track on the run down to Turn 7, which appeared to be a piece of rubber that was dislodged from the kerbs after Kevin Magnussen ran over it.
🚩 RED FLAG 🚩
📻 “There’s a bit of debris exit of Turn 6” – Bottas
The session was re-started with 15 minutes remaining, as the field set out for qualifying runs in preparation for qualifying.
Daniel Ricciardo had an issue with his DRS, Red Bull style, which kept the team working on sorting it out for the whole session. It was finally sorted with only five minutes or so remaining from the session.
How they finished
Verstappen could have gone faster towards the end of the session had he not been hampered by traffic several times, but in the end his lap time of 1:06.302 was good enough to claim top spot.
Charles Leclerc was second for Ferrari, 0.255s off the top, as George Russell was third fastest for the Silver Arrows, 0.400 slower than Verstappen.
Sergio Perez did not seem comfortable with his RB18 during the session, and was only good for fourth, 0.537s down on his teammate.
Lewis Hamilton put the second Silver Arrow in fifth over two tenths slower than Russell, while Kevin Magnussen was an encouraging sixth for Haas – yet to update their car – 0.56s off Hamilton’s time.
The winner of last week’s British Grand Prix, Carlos Sainz, was nowhere near the top, seventh fastest, over seven tenths slower than the benchmark time.