Styrian Grand Prix: Perez straight to the Point in FP1

Sergio Perez topped the timesheets in FP1 for the Styrian Grand Prix ahead of Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas in uneventful session at the Red Bull Ring.

Nicolas Latifi suffered an engine failure after only six laps and his car had to be recovered by marshals while Jack Aitken made his F1 debut as test-driver in the other Williams and finished 17th, running in car number 40.

He ran 35 laps, one of the highest totals in the session, and was ahead of Alfa Romeo reserve driver Robert Kubica but 0.3s behind Romain Grosjean, the next best driver to set a time.

After Grosjean sat out the whole of FP1 last week, it was the turn of teammate Magnussen to be frustrated, as he was unable to set a flying lap due to a car issue. Following on from Haas’ double-DNF last weekend it’s been a tough start to the season for the team.

The most exciting moment of the session didn’t even happen in the same country – the news that F1 will visit Mugello Circuit this year for the Tuscan Grand Prix was announced while practice was underway with the Russian Grand Prix also confirmed at Sochi.

Mugello and Sochi to host 2020 F1 rounds

Lewis Hamilton ran fourth behind Bottas, while Perez’s teammate Lance Stroll completed the top five.

After showing disappointed performance last weekend, despite Charles Leclerc’s second place, Ferrari finished the session 10th and 12th with Sebastian Vettel and Leclerc respectively, although we’ll have to wait until at least FP2 before we see a true marker of teams’ performance this weekend.

Another driver under pressure after the opening round was Esteban Ocon and he notched the 13th best time, although he completed 35 laps and  was only 0.1s behind teammate Daniel Ricciardo.

Carlos Sainz, whom Ricciardo will replace at McLaren next year, completed the most laps with 40, and was seventh on the timesheets.

FP2 is set to be an important session for all this afternoon, with a potential rain storm threatening to cancel qualifying.

If qualifying is cancelled and if it cannot be carried out on Sunday morning, teams have been told that FP2 times will be used to determine the grid for the race.