Max Verstappen’s goal of returning to race-winning form had a boost on Friday afternoon’s second practice session for the Styrian Grand Prix, with the Dutch driver posting the fastest overall time at Red Bull Racing’s home venue.

The Dutch driver narrowly beat last weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix race-winner Valtteri Bottas to top spot to the tune of just 0.043 seconds.  His fastest time, a 1:03.660, was still around seven-tenths of a second slower than Bottas’ pole-winning time from last weekend.

The Racing Point Mercedes’ continued to match the pace that had seen Sergio Pérez fastest of all in today’s earlier FP1 session, with the Mexican heading teammate Lance Stroll to third- and fourth-fastest on the timesheets.

Carlos Sainz Jr was the quicker of the McLarens and wound up fifth-fastest overall, while Bottas’ teammate Lewis Hamilton appeared comparatively out of sorts in his Mercedes W11 and placed sixth on the timesheets – nearly a whopping 0.7 seconds slower than the Finn.

Verstappen’s teammate Alexander Albon struggled with a tail-happy RB16 and demonstrated this with a spin at Turn 3 followed by another rotation through the Turn 7/8 sequence. Nonetheless, he finished seventh-fastest but nearly eight-tenths down on Verstappen’s benchmark time.

Lando Norris’ prospects of matching his career-best qualifying performance last weekend are dead after the Briton was handed a three-place penalty for a yellow flag breach in FP1. The English youngster finished the session eighth-fastest, with his lap tally hindered by an onset of pains in his chest for which he is receiving treatment.

Updates to the Ferrari SF1000 do not appear to have improved the Italian team’s fortunes greatly.  Charles Leclerc was the better-placed of the duo, lapping ninth-fastest, while teammate Sebastian Vettel was an unrepresentative P16 after having several lap times deleted for track limit violations.

Renault’s Esteban Ocon completed the top ten, however teammate Daniel Ricciardo was sidelined after a heavy crash at Turn 9 on just his second lap of the session. The Australian couldn’t catch a snap of oversteer as he turned into the high-speed right-hander, sliding backwards into the tyre wall on the outside of the track.

Daniel Ricciardo, Renault Sport R.S.20 - 2020 Styrian Grand Prix

Daniel Ricciardo’s session ended early with a heavy crash at Turn 9.

Ricciardo banged his knees in the impact and visited the circuit medical centre for a check-up, but perhaps worse is the extensive damage to his R.S.20 which will require lengthy repairs tonight.

With very wet weather forecast for tomorrow, there is a chance of no running at all on Saturday which could lead to the cancellation of qualifying.  With a packed event schedule meaning a postponement to Sunday is unlikely, the starting grid order could be determined by the results of FP2.

This would put Ricciardo at the back of the grid behind the two Haas Ferraris of Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean – both struggled for pace and neither was able to lap within two seconds of Verstappen’s session-topping effort.


FORMULA 1 ROLEX GROβER PREIS VON STEIERMARK 2020 – FREE PRACTICE SESSION 2
Driver Team / Entry Time Gap Laps
1. Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing RB16 1:03.660 27
2. Valtteri Bottas Mercedes-AMG F1 Team W11 1:03.703 + 0.043 36
3. Sergio Pérez Racing Point Logo 2020 Racing Point F1 Team RP20 1:03.877 + 0.217 43
4. Lance Stroll Racing Point Logo 2020 Racing Point F1 Team RP20 1:04.241 + 0.581 43
5. Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren Logo 2020 McLaren F1 Team MCL35 Renault Logo 2020 1:04.333 + 0.673 45
6. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes-AMG F1 Team W11 1:04.348 + 0.688 27
7. Alexander Albon Red Bull Racing RB16 1:04.437 + 0.777 29
8. Lando Norris McLaren Logo 2020 McLaren F1 Team MCL35 Renault Logo 2020 1:04.541 + 0.881 31
9. Charles Leclerc Scuderia Ferrari SF1000 Ferrari Logo 2020 1:04.706 + 1.046 35
10. Esteban Ocon Renault F1 Team R.S.20 Renault Logo 2020 1:04.746 + 1.086 32
11. Pierre Gasly Scuderia AlfaTauri Logo 2020 Scuderia AlfaTauri AT01 1:04.757 + 1.097 37
12. Daniil Kvyat Scuderia AlfaTauri Logo 2020 Scuderia AlfaTauri AT01 1:05.050 + 1.390 34
13. Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo Racing Logo 2020 Alfa Romeo Racing C39 Ferrari Logo 2020 1:05.152 + 1.492 23
14. Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing Logo 2020 Alfa Romeo Racing C39 Ferrari Logo 2020 1:05.365 + 1.705 36
15. George Russell Williams Racing Logo 2020 Williams Racing FW43 1:05.588 + 1.928 34
16. Sebastian Vettel Scuderia Ferrari SF1000 Ferrari Logo 2020 1:05.613 + 1.953 40
17. Nicholas Latifi Williams Racing Logo 2020 Williams Racing FW43 1:05.655 + 1.995 49
18. Kevin Magnussen Haas F1 Team Logo 2020 Haas F1 Team VF-20 Ferrari Logo 2020 1:05.790 + 2.130 36
19. Romain Grosjean Haas F1 Team Logo 2020 Haas F1 Team VF-20 Ferrari Logo 2020 1:06.096 + 2.436 38
20. Daniel Ricciardo Renault F1 Team R.S.20 Renault Logo 2020 no time 1

Image via Aston Martin Red Bull Racing and Fox Sports

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.
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