Verstappen fastest in Austrian GP practice

Vienna, June 30 (BNA): Red Bull’s Max Verstappen set the pace in practice for his team’s home Austrian Grand Prix on Friday despite holding on to medium tires while the rivals set their best times on the fastest.

The Formula 1 championship leader set a best time of 1 minute 05.742 seconds with his last lap of the course around Spielberg’s impressive Red Bull circuit in the season two start weekend.

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz was 0.241 slower on goal with teammate Charles Leclerc third and 0.270 off the lead after his last attempt, Reuters reports.

Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton finished fourth for Mercedes and was also in a poor position after making his hard-won long runs, with Verstappen’s teammate and closest title challenger Sergio Perez in fifth, midfield.

The strategy indicated that Mercedes would supply the medium tires for Sunday and Red Bull, who have won every race this season, while keeping the power reserve.

Perez, who is 69 points behind Verstappen after eight of 22 races, was taken off the circuit on Thursday after reporting himself ill.

Canadian Lance Stroll finished sixth in the Aston Martin softball, ahead of Haas’ Kevin Magnussen and Fernando Alonso, the eighth Aston driver in the middle.

The session was the only practice of the weekend, with qualifying for the Sunday race following Friday, with Saturday being a standalone race day featuring qualifying for the 100 km race that followed.

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