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Austrian GP: Leclerc tops FP2 as Verstappen, Bottas crash

Austrian GP: Leclerc tops FP2 as Verstappen, Bottas crash

Charles Leclerc topped a stop-start second Formula 1 free practice for the Austrian Grand Prix, which was interrupted by two red flags caused by Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas crashing.

Bottas set the pace early on using medium Pirellis thanks to a lap of 1m05.417s, with Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton a tenth behind.

But as the field started to switch onto softs for qualifying simulation runs, the first red flag was caused by Max Verstappen crashing in the last corner.

Verstappen, who was still on his first set of mediums, lost the rear just before the apex and backed heavily into the wall after 35 minutes.

Verstappen was able to get out of the car and return to the Red Bull garage after jogging down the pit entry road, but when the session did restart it didn't last long.

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Both Mercedes drivers embarked on their qualifying simulation runs at the restart, with Bottas 0.044s up on Hamilton after the first sector.

But after struggling to get the car into the Turn 6 right-hander and running slightly wide, the rear stepped out mid-corner.

Bottas corrected, but the car then snapped right and fired him nose-on into the wall in a heavy impact that led to a second red flag.

This also prevented Hamilton, among others, from completing their qualifying simulation lap - although he was slower on his aborted quick lap after two sectors compared to Leclerc's later pace.

After the restart, the two Ferrari drivers had a clear run at topping the timesheets on softs, only for Sebastian Vettel to lose the rear on turn-in to the final corner and spin – stopping just short of the barriers.

Leclerc had to back off through the final corner thanks to the yellow flags, but still set a time good enough to earn him top spot.

Bottas's medium time was good enough for second fastest, 0.331s down, while Red Bull driver Pierre Gasly recovered from a trip through the gravel at Turn 4 on his first run to take third place.

That put him 0.041s faster than Hamilton, who did not resume his qualifying simulation after the red flag so had to rely on his earlier hard-shod time.

McLaren driver Carlos Sainz, among the first drivers to post a quick time on softs before the red flags, was fifth fastest and just 0.459s off the pace - although he did have a trip through the gravel late in the session at Turn 6 after the rear stepped out on entry.

Romain Grosjean hinted at a return to form for Haas with the sixth fastest time, also set before the red flags, 0.615s off the pace.

Alfa Romeo driver Kimi Raikkonen survived a wide moment at the last corner on his quick lap to take seventh place, just ahead of Vettel – whose hard-tyre pace from early on set his position.

Verstappen was ninth fastest having never had the chance to run on softs, with the second McLaren of Lando Norris completing the top 10 after aborting several attempts on softs before making a marginal improvement when he did put a lap together.

Kevin Magnussen and Sergio Perez were 11th and 12th, and both managed to put in a quick lap on softs, as did 13th-placed Alex Albon's Toro Rosso.

Antonio Giovinazzi had the misfortune to have just started his soft run when the first red flag came, then was on a quick lap when the second appeared.

He eventually did get the chance to improve on softs, but it was only marginally faster than his hard-tyre pace and good enough for 14th ahead of Daniil Kvyat, who posted his quick lap after the red flags.

Renault had a difficult session, with Nico Hulkenberg 16th and Daniel Ricciardo 17th – both ahead of the Racing Point of Lance Stroll.

The two Williams drivers brought up the rear, with George Russell over a second quicker than Robert Kubica.

Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap
1 Monaco Charles Leclerc
Ferrari 37 1'05.086
2 Finland Valtteri Bottas
Mercedes 12 1'05.417 0.331
3 France Pierre Gasly
Red Bull 33 1'05.487 0.401
4 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes 43 1'05.529 0.443
5 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr.
McLaren 44 1'05.545 0.459
6 France Romain Grosjean
Haas 38 1'05.701 0.615
7 Finland Kimi Raikkonen
Alfa Romeo 37 1'05.728 0.642
8 Germany Sebastian Vettel
Ferrari 34 1'05.871 0.785
9 Netherlands Max Verstappen
Red Bull 13 1'05.879 0.793
10 United Kingdom Lando Norris
McLaren 48 1'05.952 0.866
11 Denmark Kevin Magnussen
Haas 41 1'05.960 0.874
12 Mexico Sergio Perez
Racing Point 43 1'05.964 0.878
13 Thailand Alex Albon
Toro Rosso 46 1'06.064 0.978
14 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi
Alfa Romeo 37 1'06.119 1.033
15 Russian Federation Daniil Kvyat
Toro Rosso 38 1'06.148 1.062
16 Germany Nico Hulkenberg
Renault 27 1'06.249 1.163
17 Australia Daniel Ricciardo
Renault 30 1'06.418 1.332
18 Canada Lance Stroll
Racing Point 40 1'06.829 1.743
19 United Kingdom George Russell
Williams 27 1'07.217 2.131
20 Poland Robert Kubica
Williams 38 1'08.508 3.422
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About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Austrian GP
Author Edd Straw