F1 Austrian GP: Sainz leads Ferrari 1-2 from Verstappen in FP2

Carlos Sainz fractionally led Charles Leclerc to complete a Ferrari 1-2 over Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in second practice ahead of Formula 1’s 2022 Austrian Grand Prix sprint race.

F1 Austrian GP: Sainz leads Ferrari 1-2 from Verstappen in FP2

The Spaniard eked out a slender 0.05s margin over his team-mate as the Scuderia pair also dominated the lap count - combining to accrue more than 80 laps of data ahead of the Saturday race.

Sprint race polesitter Verstappen, meanwhile, was closer to two tenths adrift of the headline times but did appear to show the most impressive long-run pace, as the Alpines moved ahead of his team-mate Sergio Perez.

It was with 25 minutes of the hour remaining that the Ferraris surged towards the top of the timing screens as they bolted on a set of the fastest-available C5 soft tyres.

Leclerc buzzed the timing line in 1m08.660s to sit provisionally fastest and would not improve from there, as he dropped 0.9s over his next few laps to assess the durability of the red-walled tyre.

With 18 minutes to run, then Sainz laid down the benchmark for the session, completing the 2.68-mile lap in 1m08.610s to find five hundredths over Leclerc and top the times.

He was just two laps shy of Leclerc, 40 versus 42, but will start the sprint race from third place, one spot behind his team-mate, the Monegasque eclipsed in qualifying by Verstappen late on.

The defending champion ended the session third, dropping 0.168s adrift of the quickest Ferrari as Verstappen ended the practice running at Red Bull’s home track on a 1m08.778s.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

Verstappen had set the pace during the early part of the session, when there was a focus on race pace, although teams did split between targeting the sprint contest or full grand prix.

The Alfa Romeo, Haas and Aston Martin cars ventured out first in the hour-long morning run and were joined by the McLaren of Lando Norris, who gained an early tow from Leclerc across the line to post a 1m10.670s effort on medium tyres to initially head the pack.

Verstappen did not join the action until five minutes in, with Red Bull seemingly placing an emphasis on the sprint race simulation by running on softs while Ferrari kept medium tyres.

With the advantage of C5 compound, Verstappen’s first representative effort stopped the clock at 1m09.170s to surpass Sainz by 0.3s and Leclerc, then running in third place.

Verstappen then lowered that to a 1m09.067s to claw four tenths ahead and after being told to hold fifth gear between Turns 6 and 7, dipped into the 1m08s with a 1m08.966s effort.

That placed Verstappen 0.2s ahead of Sainz’s best early run as part of the race runs, with Leclerc 0.6s off the ultimate pace even if his stint average was quicker than his team-mate.

Russell entered the session after 11 minutes following repairs to the floor and gearbox after his Q3 shunt at the final corner, the Mercedes emerging on soft tyres to run third quickest as part of the race runs.

He sat on a 1m09.240s, 0.3s adrift of Verstappen, while splitting the Ferrari pair, who then allowed a couple of errors to slip in - Leclerc running off at Turn 3, Sainz locking up at Turn 1.

As Perez continued to miss out on the fight at the front of the leaderboard, it allowed the Alpines to come to the fore in the overall times as Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon traded places.

It was eventually two-time F1 world champion Alonso that had the measure, lapping in 1m08.832s to find a narrow 0.16s over Ocon - with Perez ultimately sixth on a 1m09.179s.

Fernando Alonso, Alpine A522

Fernando Alonso, Alpine A522

Photo by: Alessio Morgese

The Mexican will start the sprint race from 13th, having had his Q3 times deleted for a late track limits violation in Q2 that prevented Pierre Gasly from taking part in the top-10 shootout for sprint race pole.

George Russell, the only driver to adopt the slowest hard tyre, was classified seventh.

Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton was ninth behind former stablemate Valtteri Bottas, the seven-time champion not emerging until just 14 minutes were left as a legacy of his hefty Q3 shunt.

Hamilton only set one fast lap on the softs, posting a 1m09.350s to end up ninth ahead of Lando Norris, the McLaren making up lost time following its brake issues in Q2.

Lance Stroll pipped Gasly, while Sebastian Vettel ran 13th fastest - his session including a run over the serrated kerb on the edge of the final corner to shed a chunk of carbonfibre.

Zhou Guanyu was 14th fastest over Mick Schumacher, Alex Albon and Daniel Ricciardo as Kevin Magnussen, Yuki Tsunoda and Nicholas Latifi brought up the rear.

F1 Austrian GP - FP2 results

Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap Interval
1 Spain Carlos Sainz Ferrari 40 1'08.610    
2 Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari 43 1'08.660 0.050 0.050
3 Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull 32 1'08.778 0.168 0.118
4 Spain Fernando Alonso Alpine 21 1'08.832 0.222 0.054
5 France Esteban Ocon Alpine 24 1'08.848 0.238 0.016
6 Mexico Sergio Perez Red Bull 36 1'09.179 0.569 0.331
7 United Kingdom George Russell Mercedes 33 1'09.240 0.630 0.061
8 Finland Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo 26 1'09.251 0.641 0.011
9 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 14 1'09.350 0.740 0.099
10 United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren 38 1'09.519 0.909 0.169
11 Canada Lance Stroll Aston Martin 43 1'09.525 0.915 0.006
12 France Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 37 1'09.579 0.969 0.054
13 Germany Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 44 1'09.602 0.992 0.023
14 China Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo 36 1'09.665 1.055 0.063
15 Germany Mick Schumacher Haas 32 1'09.700 1.090 0.035
16 Thailand Alex Albon Williams 34 1'09.740 1.130 0.040
17 Australia Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 34 1'09.852 1.242 0.112
18 Denmark Kevin Magnussen Haas 34 1'09.960 1.350 0.108
19 Japan Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 39 1'10.005 1.395 0.045
20 Canada Nicholas Latifi Williams 36 1'10.261 1.651 0.256
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