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Max fastest in only free practice of Austrian GP

Published on 28 June 2024 by Misha van der Kroon

Max Verstappen finished fastest in the only free practice session for the Austrian Grand Prix. Halfway through the session the Dutchman stopped on track due to an issue. However, because he came to a stop close to the pitlane, his car was quickly pushed back to his team. A few minutes later, the reigning World Champion reappeared on track, after which he clocked the fastest time. Oscar Piastri followed in second place, and Charles Leclerc in third. Carlos Sainz and Lewis Hamilton completed the top five.

Round eleven of the 2024 season takes place at the home base of Oracle Red Bull Racing: the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria. Once again, thousands of Dutch fans travelled to the circuit to support Max Verstappen. At the start of the first and only training session of the weekend, it’s a pleasant 23 degrees, with a track temperature of 31 degrees. Rain cannot be completely excluded, so early in the session it gets busy on track.

Max also immediately heads out and sets a 1:08.044 on the medium compound. Later he improves his own time, but is soon pushed back to sixth place. The Mercedes and McLarens, amongst others, are faster. However, the reigning World Champion will not stay in sixth place for long. He pushes a bit harder and goes to second place, more than two tenths behind Russell. Teammate Hamilton manages to improve and sets the fastest time then on the clock, a 1:06.254. He does so on the hard compound. Towards the halfway point of the session, it quiets down as all drivers have returned to the pits.

Thirty minutes into the session there is some movement again. The top five at this point: Hamilton, Russell, Verstappen, Perez and Norris. Max heads out again and is closely behind Piastri when exiting the pit lane. It looks like he wants to pass the McLaren driver, but he stays behind him. A lap later, issues arise for Verstappen. Over the on-board radio he reports to his team that something is wrong and his car stalls near the start-finish line, causing a red flag. The marshals quickly push the RB20 back into the pit lane. It seems like the end of the session for the Dutchman, but the team quickly manages to fix the issue and a few minutes later Max appears on the track again.

On track, Alexander Albon and Yuki Tsunoda have a moment. Albon drives slowly in his Williams to prepare for a fast lap, when Tsunoda is on a fast lap and overtakes the Williams. Albon sees the Japanese driver just in time and manages to avoid a collision. With ten minutes to go, many drivers are inside, including Verstappen and Perez. When Max goes out again, he sets the fastest time with a 1:05.685 on the soft tyre. It is a big step forward, and he is almost four tenths faster than the number two. Norris is on a fast lap as well, but has to abort that lap after going through the gravel after a mistake in sector two. The practice session in Austria ends with Max in P1, despite the issues. Piastri sets the second fastest time, followed by Leclerc in third. Sainz and Hamilton complete the top five.

Contest GP Austria: win a by Max Verstappen signed Racing cap!

Results first free practice Austria:

1Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1:05.685 27
2Oscar PiastriPIAMcLaren Mercedes1:05.961+0.276s31
3Charles LeclercLECFerrari1:06.055+0.370s30
4Carlos SainzSAIFerrari1:06.128+0.443s30
5Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes1:06.254+0.569s38
6Esteban OconOCOAlpine Renault1:06.297+0.612s29
7Lance StrollSTRAston Martin Mercedes1:06.384+0.699s26
8George RussellRUSMercedes1:06.386+0.701s31
9Yuki TsunodaTSURB Honda RBPT1:06.579+0.894s29
10Fernando AlonsoALOAston Martin Mercedes1:06.603+0.918s29
11Pierre GaslyGASAlpine Renault1:06.734+1.049s27
12Sergio PerezPERRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1:06.783+1.098s23
13Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Mercedes1:06.880+1.195s29
14Zhou GuanyuZHOKick Sauber Ferrari1:06.919+1.234s27
15Valtteri BottasBOTKick Sauber Ferrari1:06.925+1.240s28
16Daniel RicciardoRICRB Honda RBPT1:06.962+1.277s30
17Nico HulkenbergHULHaas Ferrari1:06.966+1.281s30
18Alexander AlbonALBWilliams Mercedes1:06.995+1.310s27
19Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari1:07.145+1.460s30
20Logan SargeantSARWilliams Mercedes1:07.259+1.574s28