Racing Point’s Sergio Perez was the driver to beat in FP1 on Friday morning as F1 returned to the Red Bull Ring for this weekend’s Styrian Grand Prix. Perez was followed closely by Max Verstappen of Red Bull and Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes on the timesheets as the Silver Arrows failed to finish 1-2 a practice session for the first time this season.
Perez’s time of 1m04.867s on soft tires was 0.051s slower than Lewis Hamilton’s fastest lap set in last Friday’s FP1 on the same track, but 0.096s faster than Verstappen’s time today. The Red Bull driver was testing a new rear-wing for the session while Honda also brought reliability upgrades for their engine after the team suffered a double DNF in last week’s Austrian Grand Prix. Third-place Bottas and Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton in fourth were just over two-tenths of a second slower the Racing Point leader – but on medium compound tires, while Perez’s time was set on the sorts. Lance Stroll rounded out the top five for Racing Point, half a second back, with Alex Albon in the second Red Bull in sixth-place overall.