F1: Analysing Friday in Styria
There were familiar faces, some new faces, a big crash, new upgrades while for the first time in 2020, somebody other than a Mercedes driver topping the time-sheets.
10th July 2020
Today's Second Free Practice Session could have been a very important session given that the weather conditions in Austria are set to change dramatically. Heavy rain is set to dominate the day tomorrow with the FIA notifying the teams that if there is no running, the grid will be decided by the times the drivers set in FP2.
FP1: Perez on top for Racing Point
Racing Point's Sergio Perez set the pace in FP1 with the Mexican putting in a very impressive performance, however, he set his best time on the Soft tyre.
Red Bull's Max Verstappen was less than a tenth behind with the duo of Valterri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton over two tenths behind for Mercedes although the set their times on the Medium tyre.
The session was stopped briefly as the Williams of Nicholas Latifi stopped on track with a gearbox issue.
2008 Canadian GP winner and 2019 Williams driver Robert Kubica took over from Antonio Giovinazzi at Alfa Romeo while F2 Race Winner Jack Aitken took over from George Russell at Williams. Aitken finished the quicker of the two in 17th with Kubica just 0.029s behind in 18th.
FP2: Verstappen tops potentially crucial session as Ricciardo crashes
Verstappen rose to the top of the standings in what could be a very crucial session as former team-mate, Renault's Daniel Ricciardo crashed heavily at Turn 9.
The session was red flagged as Ricciardo's Renault was recovered while the Australian limped away from his car. After visiting to the Medical Centre, he was cleared and fit however, his car, was not with visible damage to the front and the rear of the R.S.20.
Bottas finished less than a tenth behind Verstappen and was comfortably ahead of Hamilton who was less than happy with the balance of his Mercedes.
The McLaren's put in a great showing with Carlos Sainz Jr in 5th with Lando Norris, who finished in 3rd to take his maiden podium last weekend, in 8th. Norris will start Sunday's race three places back from he will start after been given a penalty for ignoring yellow flags in FP1.
Ferrari bring forward much needed upgrades
For this weekend, Ferrari's upgrades include a new front wing and rear diffuser, with reports of a new floor for Charles Leclerc to test. Sebastian Vettel, who was very unhappy with the balance of his car was weekend, said: "It was straight-away a different car and then I was just able to get at it."
After finishing in 16th in FP2 after his best time was deleted for track limits, Vettel said: He said: "It was a lot better than last week; if you look at the timing sheet I got my lap deleted and it was not a great day for lap times."
Horner says "no" to Vettel rejoining in 2021
Team Principal Christian Horner ruled out the four time world champion on re-joining the team. Vettel's chances to stay on the Formula One grid for next year are sliming by the day and this was another potential avenue that his former team saying "it's a definite no."
With the return of double champion Fernando Alonso to Renault for next year, this would have been a viable option for Vettel who is being replaced by Sainz Jr next year.
Vettel's options are limiting by the hour with a move Racing Point not being on the cards with Perez contracted until 2024 and Lance Stroll looking very confident to stay as well.