Max Verstappen has set the best time in the first free practice for the Grand Prix of Styria in Formula 1. In the battle for the world title, the Dutch leader was on the Red Bull Ring in Austria with a lap time of 1.05.910, more than two tenths faster than Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri).
Verstappen’s major competitor in the battle for the world title, Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, was good for the third time at more than four-tenths away.
Both Hamilton and Verstappen started and finished the training on the slower medium tires. In between, they drove their best times on the soft tires. Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Pérez, number 3 in the World Cup standings, did not get further than the thirteenth time. Valtteri Bottas, Hamilton’s teammate, clocked fourth in practice.
Verstappen aims for his fourth win of the season at the home base of his team Red Bull. Last week in France, the Dutchman increased his lead over Hamilton to 12 points with his third victory.
Verstappen was victorious in 2018 and 2019 in Spielberg. According to the 23-year-old Limburger, that does not mean that this track is better for his Red Bull than the Mercedes of seven-time world champion Hamilton, he said earlier. “I find that difficult to estimate. I think the training will show what that looks like. Every year is different anyway, if only because the car is different.”
The second free practice starts at 3 p.m. The third practice and qualifying are scheduled for Saturday, after which the race will start at 3 p.m. on Sunday. The Austrian Grand Prix will also be held at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg next week. Then the stands, where there is room for almost 40,000 spectators, can be completely filled again. Up to 3000 visitors are welcome this weekend.