Verstappen tops 2nd practice for Styrian GP

Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen

Red Bull's Max Verstappen turned a lap of 1m03.660s to top the 2nd practice session for the Styrian GP at the Red Bull Ring. With heavy rains predicted for qualifying Saturday today's times may form the grid for the race Sunday.

Valtteri Bottas was 2nd quick for Mercedes 0.043s behind and once again got the best of his teammate Lewis Hamilton.

Sergio Perez was 3rd quick 0.217s behind in the pink Force India Mercedes copy. So good is the copycat pink Mercedes that Lance Stroll was 4th quick 0.581s with Carlos Sainz Jr. rounding out the top-5 0.673s behind.

Lewis Hamilton could do no better than 6th 0.688s back.

Alex Albon recovered from a spin at Turn 3 to go P7, and complained about a snappy Red Bull RB16 – which then led to another spin into the gravel going though the Turn 7-8 chicane with 15 minutes of the session to go.

Lando Norris put the second McLaren P8, but will be compromised on Sunday after he was handed a three-place grid penalty for a yellow flag infraction during FP1 – while the updates to Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari SF1000 couldn’t get him within a second of Verstappen’s session-heading time, as he took P9.

Renault’s Esteban Ocon rounded out the top 10 – but his team mate Daniel Ricciardo missed the majority of the session, after losing the rear end of his R.S.20 on the exit of Turn 9 and barrelling into the wall on the outside of the track.

Ricciardo was able to limp out of the car, before being cleared by the doctors after a visit to the medical centre. His car was looking less happy, though, with visible damage to the front and rear wings – and what looks to be a long evening ahead for the Renault mechanics.

Vettel was much happier with the car on full fuel load
Vettel was much happier with the car on full fuel load

The timesheet may not have looked great for him, but Sebastian Vettel insisted he was feeling "a lot happier" after spending his Friday testing a raft of upgrades that Ferrari brought to Austria one race ahead of schedule. According to the four-time world champion the new parts have made a big difference to the SF1000's driveability – and provided a huge contrast given Vettel's disdain for the car's balance last week.

Ferrari's upgrades included a new front wing and rear diffuser, with reports of a new floor for Charles Leclerc to test. They were scheduled for July 17 at the Hungaroring but brought forward a week after Vettel finished 10th last week in Austria having spun and described his car as 'undriveable'. And when the SF1000 was loaded with fuel today, Vettel said the performance was incomparable to that of last week's car.

"Yeah, it was much better all day," said a relieved-looking Vettel. "It was straightaway a different car and then I was just able to get at it. So not really possible to compare [to last week] because there was such a big difference and now I hope it stays like this."

He said: "[It was a] lot better than last week; if you look at the timing sheet I got my lap deleted and it was not a great day for lap times but some people anticipated, maybe, rain tomorrow. [I'm] just prepared in case this is the quali for Sunday."

"I think on our side the main thing was to look after the upgrade we brought, so step by step we were putting stuff on and it seems to be positive and we need to have a look and find the best window where the car is happiest.

"As I said we tried some stuff, so usual homework, and I tried some stuff on the brakes – and I need to get into a better rhythm, especially after last weekend but I felt a lot happier today," concluded Vettel.

Practice 2 Results

1 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing Honda 1:03.660 +0.000s 27
2 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:03.703 +0.043s 35
3 11 Sergio Perez Racing Point BWT Mercedes 1:03.877 +0.217s 43
4 18 Lance Stroll Racing Point BWT Mercedes 1:04.241 +0.581s 43
5 55 Carlos Sainz McLaren Renault 1:04.333 +0.673s 44
6 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:04.348 +0.688s 26
7 23 Alexander Albon Red Bull Racing Honda 1:04.437 +0.777s 28
8 4 Lando Norris McLaren Renault 1:04.541 +0.881s 30
9 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:04.706 +1.046s 34
10 31 Esteban Ocon Renault 1:04.746 +1.086s 32
11 10 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri Honda 1:04.757 +1.097s 36
12 26 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri Honda 1:05.050 +1.390s 33
13 7 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari 1:05.152 +1.492s 23
14 99 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari 1:05.365 +1.705s 35
15 63 George Russell Williams Mercedes 1:05.588 +1.928s 33
16 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:05.613 +1.953s 39
17 6 Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes 1:05.655 +1.995s 48
18 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1:05.790 +2.130s 36
19 8 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:06.096 +2.436s 37
20 3 Daniel Ricciardo Renault Crash No Time 2

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