REPORT: Max Verstappen fastest in FP3 at the Austrian Grand Prix

03-07-2021 12:07 | Updated: 03-07-2021 12:08
F1 News
REPORT: Max Verstappen fastest in FP3 at the Austrian Grand Prix

Max Verstappen was imperious around the Red Bull Ring as he finished half a second clear of the field in FP3. The Dutchman only completed 14 laps, in comparison to Charles Leclerc who did 34, and stayed in the garage for half the session, but it didn't matter. His time of 1:04.591 was 0.538 seconds quicker than Valtteri Bottas in P2, and 0.686 seconds quicker than Lewis Hamilton in P3. The Brit did have his best lap deleted for exceeding track limits however.

Pierre Gasly ended the session in fourth, whilst Antonio Giovinazzi shocked everyone by a very impressive P5 time. He came out of nowhere and completed a lap around four tenths quicker than his teammae Kimi Raikkonen, who was down in 17th.

Carlos Sainz, Sergio Perez, Fernando Alonso, Charles Leclerc, and Sebastian Vettel rounded out the top 10.

As it happened

Nikita Mazepin was the first driver out on track, and nine others followed him straight out in the first two minutes of the session. All the drivers went out on the prototype tyres, rather than either this year's soft, medium or hard tyres, and Pierre Gasly set the quickest flying lap with a time of 1:06.282 after five minutes of FP3. 

His teammate Yuki Tsunoda immediately went into P2, which highlighted the speed the AlphaTauri has around the Red Bull Ring.

Tsunoda then went quickest with a time of 1:06.045, with Gasly and Charles Leclerc rounding off the top three.

Lewis Hamilton eventually came out onto the track with just over 15 minutes gone, and went into sixth place on his first flying lap. His teammate Valtteri Bottas finally exited the pits two laps later, and his first flying lap saw him move only into 12th place, which was slower than everyone except the two Haas drivers. 

His rival for the second Mercedes seat next season, George Russell, immediately went fifth fastest on his first flying lap; 0.603 seconds quicker than Bottas' first time.

Lando Norris then went fastest on the soft tyre, the first driver to move away from the prototype tyres, with a time of 1:05.762, with Kimi Raikkonen 0.068 seconds behind in P2.

With 31 minutes of the session remaining, Max Verstappen finally exited the pits. By the time he'd come out on track, Norris had already completed 15 laps. However, Verstappen has made a habit of staying in the pits for a while, and so far, it's served him well.

The Dutchman then immediately moved into P1 with a time of 1:04.941, whilst Hamilton was down in 16th with 25 minutes to go. However, once the Brit finally moved off the prototype tyres and onto the softs, he moved up to P2, but he was still 0.491 seconds behind Verstappen.

With 15 minutes to go, the track started to rubber in, and the time's started to come down. Both Ferrrari's and both Aston Martin's were within seven tenths of Verstappen, and ahead of Bottas, whilst Russell was up in eighth.

Verstappen then went even quicker and ended the session with a bang.

Worrying signs for McLaren 

Whilst Lando Norris started third on the grid last weekend, he was only good enough for 15th in FP3, with his time of 1:05.700, over a second behind Verstappen. His teammate Daniel Ricciardo finished the session in P16, 0.025 seconds slower than Norris.

Final Standings

P1 - Max Verstappen (1:04.591)

P2 - Valtteri Bottas

P3 - Lewis Hamilton

P4 - Pierre Gasly

P5 - Antonio Giovinazzi

P6 - Carlos Sainz

P7 - Sergio Perez

P8 - Fernando Alonso

P9 - Charles Leclerc

P10 - Sebastian Vettel

P11 - Lance Stroll

P12 - Yuki Tsunoda

P13 - Esteban Ocon

P14 - George Russell

P15 - Lando Norris

P16 - Daniel Ricciardo

P17 - Kimi Raikkonen

P18 - Mick Schumacher

P19 - Nicholas Latfifi

P20 - Nikita Mazepin

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