Sainz pips Leclerc to set pace in final Austrian GP practice


Sainz leads Austrian GP practice

Carlos Sainz gave Ferrari fans plenty to smile about as he set an impressive pace in the second and final practice session for the Austrian Grand Prix weekend, with his team mate Charles Leclerc second at the Red Bull Ring.

The Spaniard clocked a 1m 08.610s, just 0.05s clear of Leclerc, with reigning world champion Max Verstappen, who has a legion of orange-clad fans in the grandstands in Austria, going third quickest.

As it’s an F1 Sprint weekend, there only two 60-minute practices, with Saturday morning’s session used to evaluate the tyres both for this afternoon’s fast-and-furious 24-lap Sprint but also Sunday’s main event – the Grand Prix.

Alpine continued their fine form around the 10-turn track this weekend, with Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon fourth and fifth respectively, the duo within a quarter of a second the leading time.

Sainz pips Leclerc to set pace in final Austrian GP practice
Sainz pips Leclerc to set pace in final Austrian GP practice

Sergio Perez, who will start the F1 Sprint 13th after having all his Q3 laps and his quickest Q2 lap deleted for track limits, was sixth, ahead of George Russell, whose Mercedes team did an impressive job to get the car ready for the session after his qualifying crash (there were just six hours between qualifying and FP2 where teams were allowed to work on cars).

Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas – who has a back-of-the-grid start for Sunday’s race after a suite of engine component changes – is eighth, with Lewis Hamilton joining the fray with 14 minutes to go after a Mercedes completed his rebuild to end up ninth.


1  Carlos SAINZ Ferrari 1:08.610
2  Charles LECLERC Ferrari +0.050s
3  Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull Racing +0.168s
4  Fernando ALONSO Alpine +0.222s
5  Esteban OCON Alpine +0.238s

Mercedes said they have swapped Hamilton to the spare chassis because of the damage caused by his uncharacteristic crash in qualifying.

Lando Norris completed the top 10, his McLaren team mate Daniel Ricciardo nearly four tenths of a second adrift in 17th.

Lance Stroll was the leading Aston Martin in 11th, ahead of AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly and Sebastian Vettel, who will start the F1 Sprint 20th and last.

Zhou Guanyu was 14th, with Alex Albon in the upgraded Williams 15th and the Haas duo of Mick Schumacher and Kevin Magnussen, who will start the Sprint inside the top-seven, 16th and 18th respectively.

AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda and the Williams of Nicholas Latifi rounded out the timesheets.

The F1 Sprint starts at 1630 local time on Saturday.

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