Austrian GP: Verstappen fastest in FP3 by over half a second

Max Verstappen led Valtteri Bottas at the top of the times in final practice for Formula 1’s 2021 Austrian Grand Prix, with Lewis Hamilton third after losing his best time. 

Austrian GP: Verstappen fastest in FP3 by over half a second

In bright sunshine compared to the overcast running on Friday, FP3 featured much hotter conditions, which meant the drivers struggled to keep the softer tyres alive – particularly at the end of the lap, where Hamilton’s best time was deleted after he ran too wide out of the final corner on a late flying lap. 

In any case, the gap to Verstappen was still considerable as Red Bull returned to dominating at the head of the pack after Mercedes ended the opening day of practice on top. 

After Nikita Mazepin had completed the first timed lap of the one-hour session – a 1m11.974s – Lando Norris established the first place benchmark at 1m06.454s. 

The majority of the runners that headed out in the early stages did so on the prototype, unmarked medium tyre Pirelli has brought to the weekend, as the teams opted to save their weekend allocation of event tyres ahead of qualifying – where it is likely the medium tyre will be key to getting through to Q3 to gain a strategy advantage at the start of the race. 

Pierre Gasly then took the top spot with a 1m06.282s, also on the test tyres, which he improved on his next flying lap – a 1m06.058s. 

Gasly’s AlphaTauri teammate Yuki Tsunoda then forged ahead on a 1m06.045s, which stood as the fastest time until 25 minutes had passed, when Norris completed the first run on the soft tyres. 

The McLaren driver had had to abandon his first flying lap on the red-walled rubber after climbing over the kerbs exiting Turn 1, but his next flyer was a 1m05.762s, which he beat on third run at this stage the next time by – a 1m05.700s. 

The Mercedes drivers had joined the pack running the test tyres in the first half of the session, while Verstappen remained in the Red Bull garage until just before the halfway mark. 

Red Bull sent him out on the soft tyres immediately and he duly went quickest with a 1m04.941s that featured then fastest times in the second and third sectors. 

Nearly 40 minutes had passed before the Mercedes drivers went for their first runs on the softs, with Hamilton moving into second but ending up 0.491s adrift of Verstappen after losing time early in the lap as he hit the kerbs heavily exiting Turn 1 and then going deep at the tight, uphill right of Turn 3. 

The leaders went for a second qualifying simulation run with 10 minutes to go, where Verstappen improved the fastest time to a 1m04.591s. 

Hamilton had just dipped into the 1m04s bracket a few moments, but he lost his 1m04.994s – still 0.403s slower than Verstappen’s best effort – was deleted as he had briefly run beyond track limits exiting the final corner. 

That bumped Bottas up to second with his 1m05.129s, which would have been third best had Hamilton’s time stood. 

Gasly ended up fourth ahead of Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi and Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz, who slipped off the road at the final corner around the halfway stage – noting that his softs “gave up on me in the final sector”. 

Sergio Perez ended up seventh in the second Red Bull, the Mexican driver setting his personal best as the chequered flag fell as he ran a different run plan to Verstappen, which included a series of laps on the hard tyres in the early stages. 

Fernando Alonso finished eighth ahead of Charles Leclerc – who was one of several drivers including Bottas and Mazepin who had moments in the gravel exiting the long, downhill right of Turn 4 – as Sebastian Vettel rounded out the top 10 for Aston Martin. 

Turn 1 was another area where the drivers found the going tricky, with a series of offs taking place at the 90-degree right hander, while Tsunoda had a big sideways moment between the final two corners just before the halfway point. 

The AlphaTauri driver ended up completely sideways and went off onto the grass beyond the runoff area at the final corner, but was able to gather things up and escape, eventually ending up 12th in the standings. 

Austrian GP - FP3 results:

Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap
1 Netherlands Max Verstappen
Red Bull 15 1'04.591
2 Finland Valtteri Bottas
Mercedes 22 1'05.129 0.538
3 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes 20 1'05.277 0.686
4 France Pierre Gasly
AlphaTauri 27 1'05.280 0.689
5 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi
Alfa Romeo 27 1'05.345 0.754
6 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr.
Ferrari 29 1'05.347 0.756
7 Mexico Sergio Perez
Red Bull 20 1'05.396 0.805
8 Spain Fernando Alonso
Alpine 23 1'05.434 0.843
9 Monaco Charles Leclerc
Ferrari 35 1'05.484 0.893
10 Germany Sebastian Vettel
Aston Martin 22 1'05.542 0.951
11 Canada Lance Stroll
Aston Martin 19 1'05.546 0.955
12 Japan Yuki Tsunoda
AlphaTauri 23 1'05.561 0.970
13 France Esteban Ocon
Alpine 22 1'05.674 1.083
14 United Kingdom George Russell
Williams 23 1'05.694 1.103
15 United Kingdom Lando Norris
McLaren 23 1'05.700 1.109
16 Australia Daniel Ricciardo
McLaren 21 1'05.725 1.134
17 Finland Kimi Raikkonen
Alfa Romeo 31 1'05.747 1.156
18 Germany Mick Schumacher
Haas 26 1'06.078 1.487
19 Canada Nicholas Latifi
Williams 17 1'06.105 1.514
20 Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin
Haas 28 1'06.289 1.698
Honda’s Sakura facility will supply Red Bull F1 engines in 2022

Previous article

Honda’s Sakura facility will supply Red Bull F1 engines in 2022

Next article

Alpine ‘bitter’ about ‘collateral damage’ in F1 flexi-wing saga

Alpine ‘bitter’ about ‘collateral damage’ in F1 flexi-wing saga
Load comments
Why unseen Hungary heroics could be Latifi's making Prime

Why unseen Hungary heroics could be Latifi's making

The chaotic start to the Hungarian GP set the scene for F1's less heralded drivers to make a name for themselves. Esteban Ocon did just that to win in fine style, but further down the order one driver was making his first visit to the points and - while the circumstances were fortunate - took full advantage of the chance presented to him

Hungarian Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Hungarian Grand Prix driver ratings

This was race that showcased the best and worst of Formula 1, producing a first time winner and a memorable comeback to a podium finish. Avoiding trouble at the start and astute strategy calls were key to success, but where some drivers took full advantage, others made key errors that cost them dearly

Formula 1
Aug 2, 2021
The "heart-breaking" call that led to Ocon's Hungarian GP triumph Prime

The "heart-breaking" call that led to Ocon's Hungarian GP triumph

Set to restart the red-flagged Hungarian Grand Prix in second, Esteban Ocon had some doubts when he peeled into the pits to swap his intermediate tyres for slicks. But this "heart-breaking" call was vindicated in spectacular fashion as the Alpine driver staved off race-long pressure from Sebastian Vettel for a memorable maiden Formula 1 victory

Formula 1
Aug 2, 2021
The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career Prime

The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career

Emerson Fittipaldi’s decision to go racing with his brother led to him falling out of F1, but he bloomed again on the IndyCar scene. NIGEL ROEBUCK considers a career of two halves

Formula 1
Jul 31, 2021
Why Mercedes is pleased to be in the Hungary hunt at a 'Red Bull track' Prime

Why Mercedes is pleased to be in the Hungary hunt at a 'Red Bull track'

Mercedes ended Friday practice at the Hungaroring with a clear gap to Red Bull thanks to Valtteri Bottas’s pace in topping FP2. But there are other reasons why the Black Arrows squad feels satisfied with its progress so far at a track many Formula 1 observers reckon favours Red Bull overall...

Formula 1
Jul 30, 2021
How Red Bull endured its second car crash in two weeks Prime

How Red Bull endured its second car crash in two weeks

OPINION: Red Bull was justified to be upset that Lewis Hamilton survived his British GP clash with Max Verstappen and went on to win. But its attempts to lobby the FIA to reconsider the severity of Hamilton's in-race penalty were always likely to backfire, and have only succeeded in creating a PR disaster that will distract from its on-track efforts

Formula 1
Jul 30, 2021
The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach Prime

The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach

OPINION: It wasn't just the Verstappen/Hamilton clash that had the Red Bull and Mercedes bosses at loggerheads at Silverstone, with the nature of Formula 1's 2025 engines also subject for disagreement. But hopes to have loud, emotive engines that are also environmentally friendly don't have to be opposed.

Formula 1
Jul 29, 2021
How Lotus uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’ Prime

How Lotus uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’

Cast in the mould of its founder Colin Chapman, Lotus was powerful and daring but flawed – as it proved through further soaring peaks and painful troughs into the 1980s. DAMIEN SMITH examines a game-changing era

Formula 1
Jul 27, 2021