FP1: Perez sets the pace as Racing Point star in first practice for the Styrian GP
Racing Point's Sergio Perez was the driver to beat in FP1 on Friday morning as F1 returned to the Red Bull Ring for this weekend's Styrian Grand Prix. Perez was followed closely by Max Verstappen of Red Bull and Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes on the timesheets as the Silver Arrows failed to finish 1-2 a practice session for the first time this season.
Perez's time of 1m04.867s on soft tyres was 0.051s slower than Lewis Hamilton's fastest lap set in last Friday's FP1 on the same track, but 0.096s faster than Verstappen's time today. The Red Bull driver was testing a new rear-wing for the session while Honda also brought reliability upgrades for their engine after the team suffered a double DNF in last week's Austrian Grand Prix.
Third-place Bottas and Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton in fourth were just over two-tenths of a second slower the Racing Point leader – but on medium compound tyres, while Perez's time was set on the softs.
Lance Stroll rounded out the top five for Racing Point, half a second back, with Alex Albon in the second Red Bull in sixth-place overall.
The session was briefly stopped after 30 minutes when Williams' Nicholas Latifi stopped at Turn 5 with a gearbox issue, but the session was largely incident-free.
In seventh and reportedly sporting aero upgrades was McLaren's Carlos Sainz, who finished a tenth faster than AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly in P8. Gasly's team mate Daniil Kvyat spun at Turn 3 with two minutes remaining with a wicked snap of oversteer on the exit, to finish 11th. Last week's third-place man Lando Norris was down in 14th in the second McLaren.
Just 0.001s apart, Daniel Ricciardo and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel rounded out the top 10 with Ricciardo in ninth for Renault. Charles Leclerc was 12th with Ferrari having brought new aero parts including a new front-wing and rear diffuser, as well as a new floor for Leclerc to test, after they struggled for pace last weekend. The Monegasque was the last driver within a second of session leader Perez with both Ferraris on soft tyres.
Formula 1 Pirelli Grosser Preis Der Steiermark 2020
Practice 1 results
|1 Sergio Perez PER Racing Point||1:04.867|
|2 Max Verstappen VER Red Bull Racing||+0.096s|
|3 Valtteri Bottas BOT Mercedes||+0.222s|
|4 Lewis Hamilton HAM Mercedes||+0.253s|
|5 Lance Stroll STR Racing Point||+0.529s|
Two familiar faces stepped in for the regular drivers in FP1: former Williams driver Robert Kubica replaced Antonio Giovinazzi at Alfa Romeo for the session, and Jack Aitken took over from George Russell at Williams. Aitken (P17) finished 0.029s faster than Kubica (P18).
Finally, Kevin Magnussen was stuck in the garage throughout the session with a battery issue in his VF-20, with team mate Romain Grosjean in 16th as Haas hope for a better showing following their double retirement last week.