F1 Austria: Verstappen puts everyone in their place after Free Practice

Champion Lewis Hamilton did well not to trust this Friday about what happened in the first day of Free Practice for the Austrian F1 GP in which the Mercedes finished at the top of the table and he put two tenths to his maximum rival Max Verstappen. This Saturday the Dutchman has taken the lap and the rhythm that he had in his pocket and has turned the situation around putting everyone in their place. He has been unapproachable to a lap with his 1’04 ”591 and has put more than half a second to his Mercedes rivals to a lap and has a pace of three tenths higher than them

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In the best of the only 15 laps he has given – he has not entered the track in the first 30 minutes when the others have already rubberized the track -, Verstappen has covered, with a soft tire, and without making a mistake in each attack rushed to the 4,318 meters of the Spielberg circuit in 1’04 ”541, 538 thousandths less than Bottas and 686 less than Lewis Hamilton, the man he precedes in the general classification by 18 points and that this Saturday was news for his renewal until 2023 with Mercedes.

A week ago the free practice was scored by Hamilton with 1’04 ”369 with two tenths of advantage over Verstappen. Lewis took Free 3 and Verstappen Free 1 and 2. Then the Dutchman chained pole and victory from top to bottom. The fastest lap went to Hamilton. This time Free 1 and 3 were for Verstappen and Free 2 for Hamilton.

Ferrari has put Carlos Sainz (6th) and Charles Leclerc (9th) in the top-10 and Alpine only Fernando Alonso (8th) with his teammate Esteban Ocon 13th.

Red Bull, which also leads Mercedes in the constructors’ championship, is chasing its fifth victory in a row. Verstappen won the Styrian Grand Prix from pole on the same circuit last Sunday and the temperatures this Saturday are being similar to then after a Friday in which there was a drop of 10ºc. Verstappen’s teammate, Mexican Sergio Pérez, was seventh fastest.

FREE CLASSIFICATION 3:

1. Max Verstappen (NED / Red Bull-Honda) 1: 04.591 (15 laps)

2. Valtteri Bottas (FIN / Mercedes) 1: 05.129 (22)

3. Lewis Hamilton (GBR / Mercedes) 1: 05.277 (20)

4. Pierre Gasly (FRA / AlphaTauri-Honda) 1: 05.280 (27)

5. Antonio Giovinazzi (ITA / Alfa Romeo-Ferrari) 1: 05.345 (27)

6. Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP / Ferrari) 1: 05.347 (29)

7. Sergio Pérez (MEX / Red Bull-Honda) 1: 05.396 (20)

8. Fernando Alonso (ESP / Alpine-Renault) 1: 05.434 (23)

9. Charles Leclerc (MON / Ferrari) 1: 05.484 (35)

10. Sebastian Vettel (GER / Aston Martin-Mercedes) 1: 05.542 (22)

11. Lance Stroll (CAN / Aston Martin-Mercedes) 1: 05.546 (19)

12. Yuki Tsunoda (JPN / AlphaTauri-Honda) 1: 05.561 (23)

13. Esteban Ocon (FRA / Alpine-Renault) 1: 05.674 (22)

14. George Russell (GBR / Williams-Mercedes) 1: 05.694 (23)

15. Lando Norris (GBR / McLaren-Mercedes) 1: 05.700 (23)

16. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS / McLaren-Mercedes) 1: 05.725 (21)

17. Kimi Räikkönen (FIN / Alfa Romeo-Ferrari) 1: 05.747 (31)

18. Mick Schumacher (GER / Haas-Ferrari) 1: 06.078 (26)

19. Nicholas Latifi (CAN / Williams-Mercedes) 1: 06.105 (17)

20. Nikita Mazepin (RUS / Haas-Ferrari) 1: 06.289 (28)