The first practice session of the Styrian GP has ended with the fastest lap done by Sergio Perez, with the time of 1:04.867. Close behind him, Max Verstappen was beaten by Perez only by 0.1s. Third in the FP1 was Valteri Bottas, with the time of 1:05.089. Lewis Hamilton, Lance Stroll, Alexander Albon, Carlos Sainz Jr, Pierre Gasly, Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel have completed the top 10.
In the FP1 of Sytrian GP we had two changes in the cars: Jack Aitken took over the Williams car of George Russell, while Robert Kubica took over the Alfa of Antonio Giovinazzi.
Red Bull said they will re-use the engines from the previous GP, although two different, unrelated to each other issues have been identified for both of the cars. They were said to be electrical issues, that since have been worked on to be resolved.
For Sytrian GP Ferrari brought upgrades that were originally supposed to have debuted during the 3rd racing weekend, but after a difficult first GP they were able to bring the needed changes faster, to not repeat the poor performance of Austrian GP. Among the upgrades for Ferrari was a new front wing, and the team was also testing a new floor in his SF1000.
Additionally, it has been said that also Mercedes had two new rear wings prepared for the Styrian GP, as well as Red Bull brought a new one too.
The first practice has been plagued with information outside of what was taking place on the track. For example - the rounds at Sochi and a debut for F1 at Mugello have been confirmed by Formula 1. Also, a “definite no” has been said by Christian Horner in terms of the rumours hinting at possible comeback of Sebastian Vettel to Red Bull Racing.
Nicholas Latifi suffered a problem with his gearbox during the FP1 and had to stop on track. A week before he crashed during FP2, and during the first practice of Styrian GP he has issues with his car. Afterwards, with still almost an hour to go, the session has been red flagged due to the problems with removing the Williams from the track. After the FW43 was removed a couple of minutes later, the session resumed.
As in comparison to last weeks Austrian GP, that also took part at the track in Spielberg, Mercedes visibly took the free practice easy, occupying the lower positions of top 10 and being as far down as P12 for most of the session before climbing to the top of the board around half hour before the end of FP1. Red Bull definitely had more pressure for better performance during this weekend, hence both Verstappen and Albon staying close to the Top 3 for most of the session. Similar performance for Ferrari, keeping in the lower positions of top 10 as well and behind, although at a point Leclerc was able to jump into P2. Magnussen sustained a battery problem that kept him in the garage for all of the session, and he set no time during the FP1.
The second free practice is set to take place later during the day.