Styrian GP: Hamilton takes controlled victory in Mercedes 1-2 as Ferraris collide
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton beat Valtteri Bottas to victory in Formula 1’s first Styrian Grand Prix, where Ferrari drivers Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel collided on lap one and retired.
In what was a straightforward race compared to last weekend’s incident-filled and attritional Austrian GP at the Red Bull Ring, Hamilton controlled the lead throughout, while Bottas edged a thrilling battle with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen for second and retained the championship lead.
At the start, Hamilton easily led away from pole, with Verstappen under pressure from the fast-starting McLaren of Carlos Sainz Jr on the outside of the first corner.
As Hamilton ran clear, Sainz shot across the Turn 1 runoff, which cost him momentum and let Verstappen surge back onto the offensive as they approached the tight, uphill right of Turn 3.
The leaders ran through unscathed but in the pack behind the two Ferrari drivers came together, with Leclerc bouncing onto Vettel’s rear wing after a late dive to the inside of his team-mate, who was battling Haas’ Kevin Magnussen after a slow start.
Vettel’s rear wing was broken and he retired as the Ferrari drivers came into the pits just as the safety car was called for the debris from their collision – the second in four races after the 2019 Brazil Grand Prix – with Leclerc, who later accepted blame, being called back in a lap later after a front wing change.
The race restarted for lap four of 71 and Hamilton immediately pulled clear of Verstappen with a series of early fastest laps, while Bottas took until lap six to pass Sainz into Turn 4 – where Hamilton and Alex Albon clashed last Sunday.
Albon also got by the McLaren at the same spot two tours later.
Bottas gave chase to Verstappen as Hamilton continued to build his lead little by little across the first stint.
The Mercedes drivers began to push hard after the first twenty laps had been completed, which forced Red Bull to pit Verstappen on lap 24 to ward off the threat of being jumped by an early Bottas stop – as by this point Albon was too far behind to back up his team-mate.
Verstappen rejoined on fresh mediums ahead of Albon in third and Hamilton stayed in the net lead when he came in at the end of lap 27.
Bottas stayed out for a further seven laps before he too came in to switch to the medium tyres and he came out again third, 8.2s behind Verstappen.
The Finn initially struggled to close the gap but Mercedes told him he would have the chance to attack Verstappen in the final stages.
As Hamilton surged into a big lead across the second stint to take his first win of 2020 by 13.7s, Bottas suddenly began to take chunks out of Verstappen’s advantage – the Red Bull’s front wing also sustaining damage to its right-hand endplate.
Bottas launched an attack around the outside of Turn 3 on lap 66 and then used DRS to blast alongside Verstappen into the downhill right of Turn 4 – but Verstappen fought back and edged him wide into Turn 6 to hang onto second.
But it was only for one more lap as Bottas used DRS to get further ahead into Turn 4 on lap 67, defending the outside line to make sure of second place.
Behind the podium finishers came Albon, who survived late contact with Sergio Perez at Turn 4 – in near copy of his incident with Hamilton a week ago, although Albon was on the defensive this time – which broke the Racing Point’s front wing.
That damage undid a sensational charge from Perez, who had started in P17, and as he limped to the flag he was overtaken by Lando Norris – who had put in his own late-race rise – at the event’s penultimate corner.
Perez hung on in a drag race to the line to beat his team-mate Lance Stroll – also rising from a lower-than-expected grid spot in P12 – while Daniel Ricciardo took eighth for Renault as his contra-strategy of starting on the mediums did not pay off.
Sainz had handed Norris a place just before he pitted late on to take fresh softs for an attempt at the fastest lap, which Verstappen also did, with Sainz ultimately taking the extra point on offer.
AlphaTauri’s Daniil Kvyat rounded out the top 10 – the only driver to make the hard tyres work, after his team-mate Pierre Gasly abandoned that plan with a second stop to move back to the softs.
Gasly was hit by Ricciardo at the first corner and lost out to the Renault driver as they scrapped over seventh position at the start, but his race unravelled with the second stop and he finished 15th, just ahead of Williams pair George Russell and Nicholas Latifi.
Russell started strongly from his P11 grid spot but fell to last at the safety car restart when he skated into the Turn 6 gravel as he battled Magnussen (who finished P12, just ahead of team-mate Romain Grosjean and behind Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen).
Esteban Ocon was the only other retirement with suspected cooling problems, coming to a stop on lap 25 after he had been battling team-mate Ricciardo in the opening stint.
Styrian Grand Prix Results
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||71||33.698s|
|4||Alexander Albon||Red Bull/Honda||71||44.400s|
|6||Sergio Perez||Racing Point/Mercedes||71||1m02.387s|
|7||Lance Stroll||Racing Point/Mercedes||71||1m02.453s|
|9||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren/Renault||70||1 Lap|
|10||Daniil Kvyat||AlphaTauri/Honda||70||1 Lap|
|11||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||70||1 Lap|
|12||Kevin Magnussen||Haas/Ferrari||70||1 Lap|
|13||Romain Grosjean||Haas/Ferrari||70||1 Lap|
|14||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||70||1 Lap|
|15||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri/Honda||70||1 Lap|
|16||George Russell||Williams/Mercedes||69||2 Laps|
|17||Nicholas Latifi||Williams/Mercedes||69||2 Laps|
Styrian GP: Hamilton storms to pole position in wet qualifying
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position for Formula 1’s first Styrian Grand Prix ahead of Max Verstappen in a wet and wild qualifying session at the Red Bull Ring.
Carlos Sainz grabbed third place for McLaren, with Austrian Grand Prix winner and current championship leader Valtteri Bottas finishing fourth.
Despite fears heavy rain would lead to a washout on Saturday after FP3’s cancellation, qualifying got going 46 minutes later than scheduled as a break in the weather meant the action could take place on the extreme wet weather tyres.
The fluctuations in the weathers’ intensity meant Q2 had the fastest times of the three segments, but still came down to the final runs in Q3 as the water cleared from a late-Q2 rain surge.
Hamilton held the top spot ahead of the final runs but was under significant pressure from Verstappen, who saved two big snaps of oversteer at Turns 6 and 8 on his final flying lap but could not save a slide exiting the penultimate corner.
Although the Red Bull driver managed to avoid a full 360 his chances of pole were dashed and Hamilton in any case improved his best Q3 time to a 1m19.273s to end up 1.216s clear.
Sainz popped into third to take his best F1 career starting spot, with Bottas taking fourth despite setting his best Q3 time at the death.
Esteban Ocon took fifth for Renault ahead of Lando Norris, who will drop three grid spots for his FP1 penalty for overtaking under yellow flags.
Alex Albon was seventh in the second Red Bull ahead of Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri, with Daniel Ricciardo ninth.
Sebastian Vettel rounded out the Q3 runners in another disappointing qualifying showing for Ferrari.
Behind the top 10, Charles Leclerc became the second Ferrari driver in a week to be knocked out in Q2 as he could not improve on his final laps in the middle segment.
Leclerc had indicated he wanted to stay out on his initial Q2 wets when it came to putting a fresh set on for the final runs, but when he did come in the rain intensified and few drivers managed to improve their times late-on.
Leclerc was told to push all through his final runs, but his final lap was 1.3s down on his Q2 best and he will start 11th – as Vettel did a week ago.
George Russell will start an F1 career-best 12th as he got Williams into Q2 – something it did not do once in 2019 – with a late rapid run on fresh wets in Q1.
Russell then posted a strong early Q2 effort, which helped him hold onto his high grid spot as the rain that thwarted Leclerc also frustrated Lance Stroll, Daniil Kvyat and Kevin Magnussen.
Stroll did look like he might be able to improve on his final run, but after a strong start his last lap got slower as it went on and then running wide at the exit of Turn 9 cost him and he will line up P13.
When Q1 did get underway, Vettel headed the queue to get out of the pitlane when the delayed session finally started and it was an ever-changing order as the drivers explored the soaking track.
Hamilton ended up quickest in the first segment, which was ended early after Antonio Giovinazzi spun as he ran across the kerbs at the exit of penultimate corner, spearing off into the barriers at the final turn.
He was able to drive clear by dropped debris on the pit straight and eventually stopped on the approach to Turn 4 – where Hamilton and Albon clashed in the closing stages of last weekend’s Austrian GP – which meant the red flags were shown.
That meant few drivers were able to improve on fresh wets, with Kimi Raikkonen and Sergio Perez heading those knocked out in Q1 – with the latter the most high-profile exit after finishing Friday with the day’s third fastest time.
Unlike Russell, Nicholas Latifi, who skated across the Turn 6 gravel mid-way through Q1, was unable to improve on his new wets as the red flags came out as he approached the final corners and he will start 18th as a result, ahead of Giovinazzi.
Romain Grosjean did not set a time in Q1 after going off at Turn 4 on his out-lap – just in front of Vettel’s opening lap in the segment – and he did reappear after returning to the pits after that incident.
Styrian Grand Prix Qualifying Results
|1||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team||Mercedes||1m19.273s||–|
|2||Max Verstappen||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing||Red Bull/Honda||1m20.489s||1.216s|
|3||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren F1 Team||McLaren/Renault||1m20.671s||1.398s|
|4||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team||Mercedes||1m20.701s||1.428s|
|5||Esteban Ocon||Renault DP World F1 Team||Renault||1m20.922s||1.649s|
|6||Alexander Albon||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing||Red Bull/Honda||1m21.011s||1.738s|
|7||Pierre Gasly||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||AlphaTauri/Honda||1m21.028s||1.755s|
|8||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault DP World F1 Team||Renault||1m21.192s||1.919s|
|9||Lando Norris||McLaren F1 Team||McLaren/Renault||1m20.925s||1.652s|
|10||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari||Ferrari||1m21.651s||2.378s|
|11||Charles Leclerc||Scuderia Ferrari||Ferrari||1m19.628s||0.355s|
|12||George Russell||Williams Racing||Williams/Mercedes||1m19.636s||0.363s|
|13||Lance Stroll||BWT Racing Point F1 Team||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m19.645s||0.372s|
|14||Daniil Kvyat||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||AlphaTauri/Honda||1m19.717s||0.444s|
|15||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team||Haas/Ferrari||1m20.211s||0.938s|
|16||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1m21.372s||2.099s|
|17||Sergio Perez||BWT Racing Point F1 Team||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m21.607s||2.334s|
|18||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Racing||Williams/Mercedes||1m21.759s||2.486s|
|19||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1m21.831s||2.558s|
|20||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team||Haas/Ferrari||–||–|
Styrian GP: Third F1 practice session cancelled due to torrential rain
The third practice session for Formula 1’s inaugural Styrian Grand Prix was abandoned due to torrential rain at the Red Bull Ring.
After Saturday’s Formula 3 race was called off just after half-distance due to the wet weather, F1’s third practice session of the weekend was delayed indefinitely just before its scheduled start time of 12pm local time.
But as conditions did not improve during the allotted one-hour session for FP3, it was called off 40 minutes after it was supposed to begin.
An FIA bulletin announcing the news read: "After consultation and recommendation of the FIA Formula 1 safety delegate, the stewards decide that the Formula 1 free practice three will be cancelled due to the inclement weather and safety reasons in accordance with Art. 2.1.6.a and 11.9.3.m of the FIA International Sporting Code."
Qualifying is scheduled to get underway at 3pm local, but unless the rain eases off it is unlikely this session will be able to take place on Saturday – although F1 remains hopeful some running can take place.
But if no running is possible today, F1 has two choices – either alter its Sunday schedule due to more favourable conditions forecast for tomorrow and hold qualifying on Sunday morning, or set the grid by the order of Friday’s FP2 session.
Should the latter option be taken, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen would start on pole ahead of Austrian GP winner Valtteri Bottas and Racing Point pair Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll.
Lewis Hamilton would start sixth after struggling with the handling of his Mercedes W11 during Friday afternoon’s running, where it appeared as if Red Bull had made a step to close the gap to Mercedes at the head of the field.
But the option of holding qualifying on Sunday morning is F1’s preferred choice, as the weather conditions are predicted to be dry.
Delaying qualifying to Sunday has been an option used in recent F1 history – with the grid-setting session taking place ahead of the race at the 2019 Japanese Grand Prix, when Typhoon Hagibis brought extreme weather to Suzuka, and the 2015 US Grand Prix at Austin, where FP3 took place as planned before qualifying was delayed several times.
It is understood that in order to fit in as much of the planned Styrian GP track action as possible – including the F1 support categories – the new Sunday schedule would not feature the Formula 2 sprint race and one of the Porsche Supercup races.
Styrian GP: Verstappen leads second F1 practice, Ricciardo crashes out
Max Verstappen set the fastest time for Red Bull in second practice for the Styrian Grand Prix on Friday afternoon as former team-mate Daniel Ricciardo crashed early on.
In a session that could end up setting the grid should qualifying be cancelled due to forecast rain, 2019 Austrian Grand Prix winner Verstappen managed to edge out Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas for top spot in the timesheets.
Verstappen recorded a best lap time of 1m03.660s to take top spot for Red Bull, making the most of extended qualifying simulation running through FP2.
The session was red flagged after just 13 minutes following a hefty crash for Renault driver Ricciardo at the penultimate corner.
Ricciardo lost the rear-end of his Renault R.S.20 car as he turned in to the fast right-hand corner, causing him to spin backwards into the barrier.
The crash left the car with a damaged left-hand side and rear wing, while Ricciardo appeared to be limping slightly as he walked away from the incident.
He went to the medical centre for a check-up and was subsequently declared fit, but was shown to still be limping when returning through the paddock.
A 15-minute wait followed under the red flag as the barrier repairs were completed and Ricciardo’s car was returned to the pits, with Renault facing a sizeable repair job this evening.
Knowing FP2 could set the grid for Sunday’s race, teams opted to spend a lot of time on their qualifying simulations midway through the session.
The Racing Point duo of Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll set the initial pace during their soft-tyre runs, sitting 1-2 at the halfway point in the session.
Stroll completed three separate runs on fresh tyres, while Perez was able to get within one-hundredth of his Q3 time from last Saturday.
Championship leader Bottas was able to depose Perez at the head of the timesheets by almost two-tenths of a second, only to then be pipped by the Red Bull of Verstappen.
Verstappen had a handful of times deleted for exceeding track limits, but managed to hook up a lap on a set of soft-compound tyres to grab top spot by 0.043 seconds.
It left Bottas to settle for second, but Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton struggled to a lowly sixth place after struggling during his qualifying simulation runs.
The team reported that Hamilton was unhappy with the car, prompting it to complete a set-up change and check the alignment of the W11 before investigating his struggles this evening.
Perez and Stroll were able to retain third and fourth in the final classification ahead of McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr in fifth, with Hamilton following in P6.
Alex Albon ended the session seventh-fastest for Red Bull, surviving two spins during the session, while Lando Norris took eighth in the other McLaren.
Ferrari had another difficult session as Charles Leclerc led its charge in ninth, but team-mate Sebastian Vettel finished a lowly 16th, having feared damage to the right-hand side of the car after clouting the kerbs through the final sector.
Esteban Ocon rounded out the top 10 for Renault ahead of the AlphaTauri duo of Pierre Gasly and Daniil Kvyat, whose attempts at practicing giving a slipstream ended in an angry tirade over the radio from Gasly.
Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi finished 13th and 14th respectively for Alfa Romeo, followed by George Russell in 15th for Williams, who returned to the cockpit after giving up FP1 to reserve driver Jack Aitken.
Also enjoying his first extended running of the weekend for Williams was Nicholas Latifi, who was sidelined in FP1 by a gearbox issue. Latifi ended the session 17th, one place behind Vettel.
Haas drivers Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean wound up in 18th and 19th place, more than two seconds off Verstappen’s benchmark, and only ahead of Ricciardo who failed to set a time.
Styrian GP free practice 2 – results
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||1m03.660s|
|3||Sergio Perez||Racing Point/Mercedes||0.217s|
|4||Lance Stroll||Racing Point/Mercedes||0.581s|
|5||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren/Renault||0.673s|
|7||Alexander Albon||Red Bull/Honda||0.777s|
|13||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1.492s|
|14||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1.705s|
Styrian GP: Perez leads Verstappen in first practice
Racing Point’s Sergio Perez set the fastest time in opening practice for Formula 1’s first Styrian Grand Prix ahead of Max Verstappen, as Mercedes avoided soft tyre running.
Austrian GP winner Valtteri Bottas finished third ahead of his team-mate Lewis Hamilton, with Ferrari again significantly adrift of the top times.
In a session that began six degrees hotter than the equivalent session from last weekend’s event at the Red Bull Ring, McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr set the initial pace, as several squads – including Renault and Alfa Romeo – fitted aerodynamic measuring devices for the early laps.
Red Bull’s Alex Albon took over at the head of field with a 1m06.344s on the medium tyres just over 10 minutes into the 90-minute session, improving that mark before Verstappen took over with 1m06.087s – also on the yellow-walled mediums.
Verstappen continued to lower the best time in the session’s opening half an hour, which ended under red flag conditions as Williams’s Nicholas Latifi stopped on the inside of the fast right-hand kink of Turn 5.
Latifi reported the engine "just went", although a gearbox issue was suspected of causing the stoppage, which was initially covered by a virtual safety car before the session was suspended so the FW43 could be craned away.
The suspension was lifted at the 34-minute mark and over the next 10 minutes Verstappen continued to lower the P1 benchmark on the medium tyres, slotting in a 1m05.760s approaching the halfway point.
The Mercedes pair then appeared on the mediums, after they had conducted all their early running on the hard tyres, with Bottas stealing P1 seconds before Hamilton nipped ahead with a 1m05.208s.
Hamilton lowered the best time again before Perez went out on the softs and shot to the head of the pack with 1m04.867s just before the one-hour mark, which was not beaten in the rest of the running.
Bottas did move into second – again on the mediums – before Verstappen used the softs to go just 0.096s slower than Perez’s best time.
That left Bottas and Hamilton 0.222s and 0.253s adrift respectively, with Perez’s team-mate Lance Stroll fifth on a 1m05.396s.
But Stroll lost his best time on the softs – a 1m05.211s – which was set shortly before Perez’s session-topping effort on the red-walled tyres went in, because of a track limits infringement at the exit of the final corner as he ran too wide and had that lap deleted.
Albon, who complained about the handling of his RB16, particularly in slow speed corners, finished sixth, with Sainz seventh ahead of Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri), who also had a time deleted for a last corner track limits violation, and Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo.
Sebastian Vettel was 10th for Ferrari, which was trialling its new front wing and floor for the first time.
Vettel’s best time on the softs was 0.903s slower than Perez’s best time, with the four-time world champion locking up heavily at the tight uphill right of Turn 3 and going off into the runoff there during the early running.
Daniil Kvyat spun his AlphaTauri at the same spot late on – losing the rear as he turned in well away from the apex – and was 11th fastest, just ahead of Charles Leclerc in the second Ferrari.
Jack Aitken and Robert Kubica ended up 17th and 18th in their FP1 cameos in place of George Russell and Antonio Giovinazzi at Williams and Alfa Romeo respectively.
Kevin Magnussen did not set a time and only completed three laps as Haas was forced to inspect a possible battery problem on his car for much of the session.
Styrian GP FP1 – Results
|1||Sergio Perez||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m04.867s|
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||0.096s|
|5||Lance Stroll||Racing Point/Mercedes||0.529s|
|6||Alexander Albon||Red Bull/Honda||0.616s|
|7||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren/Renault||0.735s|
|15||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1.574s|
|18||Robert Kubica||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1.930s|
Raikkonen doubts Vettel/Ferrari relationship in F1 as bad as portrayed
Kimi Raikkonen doubts Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari’s relationship in Formula 1 is as bad as some think, and is "certain" the team will give him equal treatment to Charles Leclerc.
Vettel will leave Ferrari at the end of the year after the team opted against offering him a new contract beyond 2020, signing Carlos Sainz Jr. from Ferrari.
Vettel revealed last weekend in Austria that he was "surprised" to not receive an offer from Ferrari, with his story contradicting the initial explanation offered by the team regarding his exit.
Raikkonen raced alongside Vettel at Ferrari between 2015 and 2018 before being dropped and joining Alfa Romeo. The Finn is known to have a good personal friendship with the four-time world champion.
Asked by Autosport if he felt Vettel was being treated unfairly by Ferrari since his exit was confirmed, Raikkonen said he did not think relations had soured as people may think.
"Honestly, I spoke to him last weekend, quickly when we saw each other, I think it was before the start, and that’s all that I know," Raikkonen said.
"I don’t know what is going on there, it’s none of my business. I think it’s unfair to comment if someone is treated badly or not, because I don’t know what is going on.
"I doubt that they have as bad relationship as people are making out.
"Obviously sometimes it goes this way, that you leave the team, or choose to leave, whichever way it is. We’ll see what happens in his future. You need to ask from him.
"I wouldn’t put too much saying how difficult it is right now after one race. It wasn’t the most easy for [Alfa Romeo] either. I’m sure they can be much stronger than they were last weekend."
Raikkonen’s exit from Ferrari was confirmed after the 2018 Italian Grand Prix, with the team announcing Leclerc as his replacement with seven races still remaining in the season.
But Raikkonen said he was not treated any differently by Ferrari once his departure had been confirmed.
"No, absolutely not," Raikkonen said.
"I’m certain that they get exactly the same treatment, both of them.
"It’s in their benefit to try to get the best result on both cars, so I don’t see why they would do anything else."
Alfa Romeo fined over Raikkonen wheel loss in F1 Austrian GP
The Alfa Romeo Formula 1 team has been fined €5000 for Kimi Raikkonen’s wheel detaching following a pitstop on lap 54 of the Austrian Grand Prix.
Raikkonen dived into pitlane for a new set of tyres when the safety car was called with 17 laps remaining after Williams’ George Russell ground to a halt on the exit of Turn 4.
Rejoining the race in 12th as the safety car returned to the pits at the end of lap 54, Raikkonen’s front right wheel detached as he rounded Turn 9 and came off completely as he exited the corner.
The Finn was forced to park up on the main straight, which led to another safety car period, with his errant wheel coming to a rest in the gravel on the exit of the final corner.
A post-race investigation by the FIA concluded that a wheel nut was cross-threaded during his pit stop, though noted that in a statement that the team was unaware it had released the car in an unsafe condition.
The FIA statement read: "The Stewards heard from the team representative and reviewed video and technical evidence provided by the FIA Technical Delegate, as well as car telemetry by the team.
"Having examined photos of the damaged wheel and the axle shaft, it is evident that the wheel nut of the RHS [right-hand side] front wheel got cross-threaded during the wheel change, which was not identified by the wheel gun operator.
"As a consequence the front right wheel went off when the car was back in the race.
"The Stewards accept, however, that neither the team, nor the driver had the opportunity to realise that the car was in an unsafe condition and therefore did not stop the car.
"Taking into account these circumstances, a fine of €5000 is appropriate."
Commenting on the incident, Raikkonen said he had "no warning" of the issue before it happened.
Raikkonen was one of nine drivers to retire from a chaotic F1 opener at the Red Bull Ring.
Team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi capped off a bittersweet day for Alfa Romeo with a ninth-place finish to secure two championship points, beating the recovering Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel – who suffered a spin earlier in the race after contact with McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr.
Bottas wins eventful Austrian GP from Leclerc after Hamilton penalty
Valtteri Bottas won a dramatic Formula 1 Austrian Grand Prix from Charles Leclerc, after Lewis Hamilton’s penalty for contact with Alex Albon dropped him from second to fourth.
Bottas crossed the line as the winner of an attritional race 0.6-seconds clear of his team-mate, but Hamilton was immediately demoted, which boosted McLaren’s Lando Norris to first F1 career podium in third.
Hamilton’s incident with Albon happened after the end of the race’s third safety car period and after Mercedes had had to intervene with its drivers due to critical reliability warnings.
At the start, Bottas easily held the lead off the line and blasted to a two-second lead at the end of the opening tour, as Red Bull’s Max Verstappen – the only top-10 starter on the medium tyres – soaked up pressure from Norris after several cars including Norris, Hamilton and Leclerc shot across the runoff at the exit of Turn 1.
Bottas set about extending his lead as the race settled down, warned by his team to look after his car on the third lap, as Verstappen tracked him.
But any hope Red Bull had of its alternative strategy helping Verstappen to a third win in succession at the team’s home track was crushed when the Dutchman suddenly lost power approaching Turn 1 on lap 11 of 71. He toured back to the pits attempting to reset the issue – a suspected electrical problem – but was forced to retire.
That left Hamilton chasing Bottas, as the world champion had earlier demoted Albon using DRS to blast by on the run to the Turn 4, and he quickly began eating into the leader’s advantage.
As the first stint wore on, Hamilton had lowered the gap to Bottas, but the soft-tyre run was suddenly ended when the safety car was called out after Kevin Magnussen spun off with an apparent brake issue as he was being passed by Esteban Ocon into Turn 3.
Mercedes managed to turn its two cars around – both going onto the hard tyres – without losing any time for either one, and when the race resumed Bottas again streaked clear.
Hamilton, however, was soon putting Bottas under severe pressure and he called the team to check he would be allowed to choose his own engine mode, as Mercedes soon planned to turn down the power units on both cars.
But as the leaders ran ever closer together, Mercedes moved to warn them about a potential gearbox sensor issue that threatened both of the continued participation of both cars. The race engineers of both Bottas and Hamilton warned their charges to stay off the kerbs before Mercedes’ chief strategist James Vowles intervened to tell them the issue was "critical".
As the leaders adapted their driving styles, Hamilton began to drop back from Bottas when the race was suddenly suspended again as George Russell retired from P13 with a loss of fuel pressure in his Williams.
Both Mercedes and Sergio Perez’s Racing Point all stayed out on their hard tyres, while Albon pitted for third for a set of softs, rejoining in fourth.
Almost immediately after the race restarted, it was suspended again as Kimi Raikkonen, who had just stopped for fresh softs, lost his right front wheel running through the penultimate corner.
However just before the safety car returned, Albon had managed to get ahead of Perez on the exit of Turn 3 after the Mexican locked up and ran deep.
When the safety car peeled off for the final time, Bottas again shot clear and on the following lap Albon – who had given the position back to Perez, only to resume third place while the race was still neutralised – attacked Hamilton around the outside of Turn 4. The Red Bull seemed to be ahead on the outside line but contact between Hamilton’s left-front and Albon’s right rear sent Albon spinning off in the gravel – echoing the contact between the pair at last year’s Brazilian GP.
As Bottas raced to the flag in what was an 11 lap final sprint, Hamilton was given a five-second time addition. That meant Leclerc, who had been driving a low-key race before the safety cars turned the action around, finished second as he had stopped for fresh mediums during the Russell safety car.
He demoted Perez from third on the road with a late move into Turn 3 five laps to run and was close enough to Hamilton to move up to second after the flag.
Norris claimed the final podium spot after surviving a late scrap with his team-mate Carlos Sainz and then bumping past Perez, who had tried to make a long run of mediums work earlier in the race, at Turn 3. But Norris needed to close the gap to Hamilton rapidly and he set the race’s fastest lap on the last tour to take third by 0.1s.
Sainz finished fifth with Perez sixth after his own five-second penalty was applied for speeding in the pitlane.
Pierre Gasly took seventh ahead of the returning Ocon for Renault, with Antonio Giovinazzi ninth for Alfa Romeo.
Sebastian Vettel took 10th despite a spin when he misjudged his braking while running behind Sainz going into Turn 3 shortly before half-distance.
Nicholas Latifi finished his F1 debut as the final runner on track in P11, with Albon a late retirement alongside a host of other non-finishers who suffered various mechanical problems – except Daniil Kvyat who retired late on with a blown left-rear tyre as he ran into Turn 1 with two laps to go.
‘That’s where we are right now’ – Raikkonen laments Alfa pace after qualifying on back row
Last year Alfa Romeo enjoyed a double points finish in Austria. This year, the team saw both drivers exit qualifying at the earliest stage in Q1, as Kimi Raikkonen finished 19th on Saturday, behind his team mate Antonio Giovinazzi. And the veteran Finnish driver said the result represents the reality of the team’s current situation.
Saturday’s result will leave Raikkonen – who has 18 career pole positions – on the back row of the grid for just the 10 time in his lengthy F1 career.
Asked if he expected such a difficult session, he replied: “I think after yesterday and this morning we didn’t expect a very easy day to come.
“But that’s where we are right now and we have to make the car faster and be more competitive.”
At the Red Bull Ring in 2019 Raikkonen started sixth and finished ninth while Giovinazzi started seventh and finished 10th. For Raikkonen such a drop in performance is “far” from where he wants Alfa Romeo to be, as the 40-year-old Finn gears up for his 313th start in the sport.
“Obviously we are not as good as we were last year. comparing what happens this year against the others, but it’s the first race weekend and obviously so far from where we want to be but that’s the reality right now and we need to see what we can do,” he concluded.
As for Giovinazzi, the Italian went off-track at Turn 4 on his final flying lap in Q1 and, while he finished 0.049s ahead of his team mate, he was still behind Williams’ George Russell and Haas’s Kevin Magnussen.
Austrian GP: Bottas beats Hamilton to pole position as Ferrari struggle
Valtteri Bottas turned the tables on his Mercedes Formula 1 team-mate Lewis Hamilton by claiming pole for the Austrian Grand Prix despite skating into the gravel on his final effort.
Max Verstappen claimed third for Red Bull and will start on alternate tyres to the Mercedes drivers, with Lando Norris claiming a sensational fourth for McLaren as Racing Point’s pace was only good enough for sixth for Sergio Perez and Ferrari’s form faltered further than expected.
Bottas broke the track record at the Red Bull Ring with a 1m02.939s on his first run in Q3, with Hamilton unable to get under 63-seconds on his own first effort in the final segment as he lost time in the second and third sectors.
On their final flying tours, Bottas improved his time in the first sector but then slid into the gravel at the exit of Turn 4 – later spinning on the grass as he returned to the track – while Hamilton looked to be improving.
The world champion did better his time to a 1m02.951s but wound up second on the grid for the race having topped all three practice sessions.
Verstappen took third but will start the race on the mediums after getting through Q2 on the yellow-walled rubber, with Norris rising to fourth with a stunning final effort in his MCL35.
Alex Albon qualified fifth in the second Red Bull ahead of the much-fancied RP20 of Perez, who nevertheless beat Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc to P6.
Leclerc was the sole Ferrari runner in Q3 after Sebastian Vettel did not make it past Q2, but the 2019 Austrian GP polesitter ended up nearly a second slower than Bottas’ time.
Carlos Sainz took P8, with Lance Stroll and Daniel Ricciardo rounding out the top 10.
In Q2, which Bottas topped fractionally ahead of Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel was dramatically knocked out when Albon leapt up the order with a late improvement in the second segment.
Vettel had been at risk as he was only P10 after the first Q2 runs, and on his final effort he bounced over the kerbs at the first and final corners, sliding wide on each occasion and not improving as a result, with Leclerc only just getting into Q3 with P10 at the end of Q2.
Behind Vettel came Pierre Gasly in the lead AlphaTauri, with his team-mate Daniil Kvyat in P13, ahead of Esteban Ocon – making his first F1 qualifying appearance since the 2018 Abu Dhabi GP – and Romain Grosjean.
In Q1, which was topped by Verstappen while Albon had a nervous wait as he was not sent out again for a final run in the opening segment, last-gasp improvements from the Haas drivers cost Williams a Q2 slot.
Grosjean squeaked through ahead of his team-mate Kevin Magnussen, while Russell, who was P15 before the final Q1 runs, did not improve on his last effort – possibly losing out thanks to a snap of oversteer exiting the downhill right of Turn 4 – and will start 17th.
Antonio Giovinazzi ended up 18th after he skated into the Turn 4 gravel trap on his final run, with Kimi Raikkonen behind in P19, ahead of Williams rookie Nicholas Latifi, who took to the track immediately in Q1 to make up for the time lost in his FP3 crash.
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||0.538s|
|5||Alexander Albon||Red Bull/Honda||0.929s|
|6||Sergio Perez||Racing Point/Mercedes||0.929s|
|8||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren/Renault||1.032s|
|9||Lance Stroll||Racing Point/Mercedes||1.090s|
|18||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||2.236s|
|19||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||2.285s|
Austrian GP: Hamilton tops FP3 to complete practice clean sweep
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton completed a clean sweep of practice for the 2020 Formula 1 Austrian Grand Prix with the fastest time in FP3, which was disrupted by Nicholas Latifi’s crash.
Hamilton again finished ahead of his team-mate Valtteri Bottas, while Max Verstappen finished third for Red Bull and Racing Point’s Sergio Perez again beat the Ferrari drivers with fourth.
Under sunny skies at the Red Bull Ring on Saturday morning, Carlos Sainz Jr and Daniel Ricciardo enjoyed brief spells at the top of the times in the early running before the Mercedes drivers – initially led by Bottas – moved to the head of the times on the medium tyres with a 1m05.488s.
Sebastian Vettel then put Ferrari on top, using the soft tyres to put in a 1m05.159s, before Hamilton used his mediums to take P1 with a 1m05.140s.
The session was then suspended for nearly 10 minutes when Latifi lost the rear of his Williams at the exit of Turn 1, with his snap to catch the oversteer as he approached the run-off kerbs pitching him into the barriers nose first.
The rookie was able to climb from his car and return to be checked over in the paddock while his FW43 was recovered.
When the session resumed, the Mercedes drivers returned to complete their medium tyre running, which meant Ferrari moved back to the front using the soft rubber.
First, Vettel lowered the P1 benchmark to a 1m04.851s before Charles Leclerc stole ahead of his team-mate for the first time this weekend with a 1m04.703s.
But when the Mercedes duo bolted on the red-walled soft tyres they roared back to the top, first with Bottas demoting the Ferrari drivers and then Hamilton posting the session’s best time with a 1m04.130s.
Hamilton established his advantage in the opening sector and although his team-mate clawed back time in sector two, the world champion held on through the lap’s conclusion to take P1 by 0.147s.
Verstappen then enjoyed a comparatively empty track to slot his Red Bull into third – largely staying with Hamilton’s time through the first two sectors before fading in the final segment to wind up 0.283s adrift.
Perez left it late to complete his final qualifying simulation run – his car again seen smoking during the early running as it had in FP1 – and although he gave away a just over a tenth to Hamilton in the first two sectors and then double that in sector three he still slotted into fourth ahead of Leclerc.
Alex Albon, whose front wing had been fitted to Verstappen’s car ahead of qualifying due to damage picked up on the Dutchman’s on Friday, improved late on to push Vettel down to seventh.
Lance Stroll took eighth in the other Racing Point, with Pierre Gasly slotting his AlphaTauri in ninth with a late flyer.
McLaren’s Lando Norris rounded out the top 10 ahead of Esteban Ocon, who did not appear in the late running for Renault.
Ricciardo finished 12th ahead of Sainz, while George Russell took 15th for Williams, which did not have a car get out of Q1 in 2019, ahead of Kevin Magnussen and the Alfa Romeo pair.
Free practice 3 results
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||0.283s|
|4||Sergio Perez||Racing Point/Mercedes||0.475s|
|6||Alexander Albon||Red Bull/Honda||0.595s|
|8||Lance Stroll||Racing Point/Mercedes||0.788s|
|13||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren/Renault||1.047s|
|18||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1.524s|
|19||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1.643s|
Austrian GP: Hamilton leads second Mercedes 1-2 in FP2, Perez third
Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time in Austrian Grand Prix second practice ahead of his team-mate Valtteri Bottas, leading a second consecutive Mercedes 1-2 to start Formula 1’s 2020 season.
Racing Point’s Sergio Perez claimed third place, with the Ferrari and Red Bull drivers finishing well adrift of their leading Class A rivals in the classification.
At the start of the 90-minute session at the Red Bull Ring, Romain Grosjean led the field out – the Haas driver looking to make up for lost time in FP1, where a brake issue had confined him to the garage for much of the morning session.
McLaren’s Carlos Sainz set the first real flying lap of the session – a 1m06.886s on the hard rubber – before Lance Stroll deposed him with a 1m05.469s on the mediums.
Max Verstappen then moved to the top spot after 20 minutes, with a 1m05.379s, also on the yellow-walled mediums.
Hamilton completed few laps in the early stages, but when he headed out after 25 minutes on the mediums he improved over three laps to take the top spot with a 1m05.095s.
A few minutes later, the field switched to qualifying simulation efforts on the softs, with Sergio Perez and his Racing Point team-mate Stroll lighting up the time screens.
But while Perez grabbed P1 on a 1m04.945s, Stroll snagged the gravel trap as he flew through the rapid right of Turn 8 and he lost time, with both Racing Point drivers then demoted by Bottas’s 1m04.501s – the Mercedes driver audibly attacking the kerbs at the final two corners.
Sebastian Vettel popped his Ferrari into third place on his flying effort on the softs, but he could not beat Perez’s time for best of the rest behind Mercedes’ benchmark.
Shortly after Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen skated across the gravel trap at the exit of Turn 6 – the long left-hander in the middle sector – Hamilton moved to improve that target.
Using the softs fitted to his newly-liveried W11, the world champion shot to the top of the times with a 1m04.304s – despite encountering a McLaren touring slowly at the exit of Turn 3.
Hamilton’s effort put him 0.197s clear of Bottas, with Perez and Vettel shuffled down to third and fourth.
The times remained static thereafter as the teams concentrated on long run data gathering, which sealed Daniel Ricciardo (Renault), McLaren’s Lando Norris and Stroll in P5-P7.
Max Verstappen wound up eighth as the lead Red Bull driver, but his soft tyre effort was 0.911s slower than Hamilton’s best.
Verstappen also had a near-identical off to Raikkonen’s just past the hour mark, keeping his RB16 out of the barriers and back onto the track by using the perimeter road beyond the Turn 6 gravel to rejoin as the drivers are instructed to so by the race director.
Alex Albon finished 13th in the other Red Bull after spinning in near-identical fashion to his team-mate’s off in FP1 as he lost the rear of his car running through the Turn 1 right-hander with just over 20 minutes to go.
Charles Leclerc finished ninth to end a low-key day for Ferrari, with Sainz rounding out the top 10.
Albon was not the only driver to have a spin at Turn 1, with AlphaTauri driver Daniil Kvyat and Williams rookie Nicholas Latifi also going around there in the session’s early stages.
Latifi also locked up and went off at approaching the tight right-hand left of Turn 3 shortly after his Turn 1 spin, with Bottas, Vettel and Grosjean (who spun and finished 16th in the final order) also having issues at that corner during the later running.
Mercedes’ session did end on a down note as Bottas reported problems shifting through his gears with 10 minutes to go and he was called in to allow the team to investigate the issue.
The FIA was again forced to take action regarding track limits, with Kevin Magnussen (15th in the final order) losing a time early for running too wide at Turn 9, and Raikkonen – P19, just ahead of Latifi at the end – having four laps deleted for repeated wide running at the final turn.
Free practice 2 results
|3||Sergio Perez||Racing Point/Mercedes||0.641s|
|7||Lance Stroll||Racing Point/Mercedes||0.831s|
|8||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||0.911s|
|10||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren/Renault||1.048s|
|13||Alexander Albon||Red Bull/Honda||1.149s|
|14||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1.304s|
|19||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1.974s|
Austrian GP: Hamilton beats Bottas in FP1 to kickstart F1 2020 season
Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas topped the times in first practice for the Austrian Grand Prix, as the on-track action for Formula 1’s 2020 season finally got underway.
Seven months after the 2019 campaign concluded, the coronavirus-delayed new season began under cloudy skies at the Red Bull Ring, with little action taking place in the first third of the 90-minute session.
Most cars were kept in their garages after the field completed the initial installation laps, although the McLaren drivers Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris, along with Bottas, set the early pace.
But the trio joined the rest in the pits after 20 minutes as a wet track was declared following a light smattering of rain.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel led the field back out for a few laps on the intermediates, but the drivers quickly concluded that the track was not wet enough to use the grooved rubber.
Shortly after the session’s first third had been completed, Hamilton set his first flying laps on the hard Pirelli rubber, improving on three successive laps to soon claim the top spot with a 1m06.994s.
Racing Point’s Sergio Perez looked set to depose Hamilton soon afterwards but his RP20 began smoking around his flying lap – later confirmed to be oil on his exhaust – and he had to abandon his effort so the issue could be rectified.
Hamilton continued to improve the best time, briefly interrupted by Lance Stroll before the Racing Point driver had his time deleted for a track limits infringement at the exit of the penultimate corner.
A flurry of action in the middle of the session led to Sainz, Stroll and Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo enjoying brief spells in first place, with Perez then taking the top spot as soon as he returned to the track to head a brief Racing Point 1-2 with 1m06.052s.
But as the session approached the one-hour mark, the Mercedes cars returned to the fray after a chunk of time waiting in their garages, with Bottas bettering Perez’s improved best of 1m05.773s to a 1m05.486s on the softs.
Hamilton then used his own first effort on the red-walled soft tyres to retake first with a 1m04.968s – attacking the kerbs at the exit for the Turn 7/8 fast chicane and the final with apparent gusto.
The world champion then improved the fastest time to a 1m04.816s with 27 minutes remaining, which stood as the session’s until the end – Bottas finishing 0.3s in arrears.
Max Verstappen took third after spinning his Red Bull at the exit of the first corner – losing the rear as he swung past the apex, echoing the several spins he and team-mate Alex Albon had in winter testing.
But he quickly got going again and used his softs to climb the order and end up 0.6s slower than Hamilton.
Sainz, Perez and Norris finished in positions four-six, with Albon and Ricciardo trailing them.
Kevin Magnussen took ninth for Haas, with Charles Leclerc rounding out the top 10 on the medium tyres, 1.1s slower than Hamilton in what was a low-key session for Ferrari.
Stroll finished 11th ahead of Vettel, with Esteban Ocon 13th for Renault but stepping out of his car early after it shed a piece of bargeboard bodywork as he ran down the main straight with 20 minutes to go, which required a brief virtual safety car to recover.
Several drivers – including Perez – had lock-ups at the tight up-hill right of Turn 3, but it was Turn 1 that appeared to be causing most problems, with Kimi Raikkonen (15th for Alfa Romeo) looking up and running deep there on two occasions.
Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) spun in front of George Russell at the final corner late on, which the Williams driver did well to avoid, and the pair finished P16 and P17.
Romain Grosjean brought up the rear of the field for Haas with just six laps on the board, as he missed most of the session after reporting a brake issue in the early stages, although he did appear for a final tour in the dying moments.
Free practice 1 results
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||0.602s|
|4||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren/Renault||0.615s|
|5||Sergio Perez||Racing Point/Mercedes||0.696s|
|7||Alexander Albon||Red Bull/Honda||0.885s|
|11||Lance Stroll||Racing Point/Mercedes||1.258s|
|14||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1.544s|
|15||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1.549s|
Raikkonen: 2021 rules delay won’t impact F1 future
Kimi Raikkonen says the decision to delay Formula 1’s new technical regulations by one year will have no bearing on his future in the sport.
Raikkonen, 40, made his F1 debut in 2001 and is the oldest driver currently on the grid, racing for Alfa Romeo.
The Finn joined Alfa Romeo at the start of 2019 on a two-year contract which is due to expire at the end of the current season.
Raikkonen has always said his long-term F1 future would depend on his enjoyment of racing and motivation, which may have been impacted by a change in the specification of cars for 2021.
This overhaul has now been delayed until 2022 in a bid to aid teams financially following the COVID-19 pandemic, with the existing cars set to be used again next year.
Raikkonen said ahead of this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix that the rules delay had not changed his thinking at all, nor did he have any deadline in mind to decide on his future.
"No, it hasn’t. That’s obviously how it’s going to be with the rules and everything, but it doesn’t really dictate what happens in the future," Raikkonen said.
"Obviously the right answer [for a deadline] is before next year starts. I don’t know.
"We haven’t done a single race, obviously it’s a very odd situation this year. We’ll wait and see what happens."
Raikkonen has enjoyed an upturn in form since the introduction of the current-spec cars in 2017, scoring 18 podium finishes and one race win with Ferrari through their first two years of use.
Upon joining Alfa Romeo last year, Raikkonen emerged as the team leader against Antonio Giovinazzi, scoring 43 of the team’s 57 points.
Asked if he was pleased the current-spec cars would be used in 2021 instead of the slower models on the horizon, Raikkonen replied: "I wouldn’t say they’re a lot different from what we had some years ago.
"The regulations changed, but the driving part doesn’t change that much really.
"We’ll see if we do well. Obviously it’s always more fun than if we don’t.
"We have no idea where we’re going to be, so we’ll do our best, go from this weekend and work from there.
"The future will be decided as and when."
Raikkonen in no rush to decide future amid ‘odd situation’
With his 2021 plans still unknown, the ever-enigmatic Kimi Raikkonen has commented on speculation over his future as the 40-year-old gets ready for his 18th season in Formula 1, and a second with Alfa Romeo.
The Finn’s contract with the team expires at the end of this season and, with F1’s new rules package delayed until 2022 – and a cost cap coming in next season to make the sport more competitive and sustainable – Raikkonen was asked if that had any bearing on his decision to continue in F1 or call it quits at the end of this year.
“It hasn’t," he replied. "That’s how it’s going to be with the rules, but it doesn’t dictate what happens in the future. Right answer: [the decision will be made] before next year starts, but I don’t know. We haven’t done a single race. A very odd situation this year, we’ll wait and see.”
Speaking in the press conference ahead of the 2020 Austrian Grand Prix, Raikkonen was also asked where his team lie in the order after their P8 finish in the 2019 standings.
“Testing every year, it’s impossible to say who is where. A lot of speculation. But in the first race, we always see what is the real story; and we never managed to do the first race. Now, months later, we’re obviously going to do it. Then we’ll see where we are. People are bringing updates, so who knows? We’ll see.
As for team mate Antonio Giovinazzi, the Italian – also gearing up for a second season with Alfa Romeo – said that he wasn’t paying attention to junior drivers who could poach his seat for 2021, with Ferrari’s Driver Academy and the newly formed Sauber Academy two major potential sources of talent for the team.
He said: “Every year, you have some pressure, so for me it will be similar from last year. Of course I knew that in F2 [there would be] a lot of young drivers, especially from the driver academy, but [I] just need to focus on my job and not waste time looking at F2 drivers. Focus on my job, do the best I can and then we’ll see.”
Raikkonen: "Probably not right" for F1 to go ahead
Kimi Raikkonen isn’t convinced Formula 1 has made the right decision by pressing on with its 2020 season opener amid the coronavirus pandemic.
As concerns continue to mount over the virus, particularly since paddock members have been tested and put into self-isolation, the Alfa Romeo star has questioned whether the Australian Grand Prix should be taking place.
He says it’s "probably not" the right call to be pressing on with the race, and claims it wouldn’t be going ahead if the teams had the final say.
"It’s nothing to do with us, that it’s like this," Raikkonen said. "I don’t know if it’s the right thing that we are here. Probably not.
"But it’s not up to us, it’s not our decision. I think if it would be purely all the teams’ decision we probably wouldn’t be here."
Hamilton dominates F1 Abu Dhabi GP, Verstappen beats Leclerc to P2
Lewis Hamilton ended his title-winning 2019 Formula 1 season by dominating the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, as Max Verstappen overcame a power problem to pass Charles Leclerc and finish second.
Hamilton’s 11th victory of the year, his joint-best haul in a single campaign, was never in doubt as he comfortably led from pole position, aided by Leclerc getting ahead of Verstappen on the first lap.
Verstappen executed a long first stint, then caught and forced his way past Leclerc to secure second and finish a career-best third in the drivers’ championship.
Hamilton streaked clear immediately at the start, as Leclerc used the slipstream to get ahead of Verstappen on the second of the two back straights.
The race remained stagnant until the two Ferraris pitted on lap 12, with Leclerc far enough ahead of Sebastian Vettel not to hold up his team-mate in the pitbox but Vettel subsequently lost time to a slow change of his left-rear tyre.
That meant Vettel rejoined behind Valtteri Bottas, who was running long after starting from the back of the grid, and Vettel lost further seconds as the Mercedes struggled to clear the Renault of Nico Hulkenberg due to a technical issue that meant no drivers could use the DRS through the first third of the race.
At the front, Hamilton and Verstappen ran extremely long on their medium tyres, with Verstappen stopping on lap 25 and Hamilton coming in a lap later.
Verstappen complained of "massive lag" when he rejoined and would continue to ask for a solution to the problem with his power unit despite showing no lack of pace and slowly closing on Leclerc.
Red Bull told Verstappen it could not fix the issue, which did not stop Verstappen using the DRS to attack at the end of the first back straight and squeeze by on the inside.
Leclerc tried to fight back with an aggressive, late-on-the-brakes pass on the outside at the end of the following straight, but Verstappen was able to rebuff the attempt.
With Vettel dropping back in fourth and eventually pitting, and neither Alex Albon or Bottas within a pitstop, Ferrari switched Leclerc to ‘Plan C’ and brought him in for a second time to set the fastest lap – which he failed to earn.
That left Verstappen free to secure a comfortable second place, 16.7 seconds behind race winner Hamilton, who pumped in the fastest lap on his penultimate tour to clinch a bonus point for good measure.
Leclerc completed the podium, but his third place is in doubt as Ferrari faces a stewards’ inquiry into a "significant" pre-race fuel declaration discrepancy.
That means Bottas may yet be rewarded with a podium, after he cleared Albon in the final third of the race to recover to fourth.
His progress from the back was slow early on because of the issue with the DRS, but strong pace thereafter eventually left him only missing out on a podium to Leclerc by less than a second.
Vettel recovered some ground after his second stop by passing Albon for fifth with two laps to go.
Sergio Perez’s long first stint paved the way for a late charge to best-of-the-rest in seventh.
The Racing Point driver started 10th but a later stop than his midfield rivals allowed him to charge past five cars over the last 17 laps and pass the McLaren of Lando Norris on the final tour.
Daniil Kvyat finished ninth for Toro Rosso, beating its constructors’ championship rival Renault, but the Red Bull junior team’s two-point haul meant Renault still secured fifth place in the constructors’ championship.
Nico Hulkenberg looked set to sign off his three-year spell with Renault, and potentially his F1 career, with a point for 10th but was passed by the second McLaren of Carlos Sainz Jr on the very last lap.
Sainz’s last-gasp move secured him sixth place in the drivers’ championship by just one point, ahead of Pierre Gasly.
Results – 55 laps
|1||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport||Mercedes||1h34m05.715s|
|2||Max Verstappen||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing||Red Bull/Honda||16.772s|
|3||Charles Leclerc||Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow||Ferrari||43.435s|
|4||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport||Mercedes||44.379s|
|5||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow||Ferrari||1m04.357s|
|6||Alexander Albon||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing||Red Bull/Honda||1m09.205s|
|7||Sergio Perez||SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team||Racing Point/Mercedes||1 Lap|
|8||Lando Norris||McLaren F1 Team||McLaren/Renault||1 Lap|
|9||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda||Toro Rosso/Honda||1 Lap|
|10||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren F1 Team||McLaren/Renault||1 Lap|
|11||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault F1 Team||Renault||1 Lap|
|12||Nico Hulkenberg||Renault F1 Team||Renault||1 Lap|
|13||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo Racing||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1 Lap|
|14||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team||Haas/Ferrari||1 Lap|
|15||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team||Haas/Ferrari||1 Lap|
|16||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1 Lap|
|17||George Russell||ROKiT Williams Racing||Williams/Mercedes||1 Lap|
|18||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda||Toro Rosso/Honda||2 Laps|
|19||Robert Kubica||ROKiT Williams Racing||Williams/Mercedes||2 Laps|
|–||Lance Stroll||SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team||Racing Point/Mercedes||Brakes|
|6||Carlos Sainz Jr.||96|
Abu Dhabi GP qualifying: F1 world champion Hamilton seals pole
Lewis Hamilton claimed the final Formula 1 pole position of the 2019 season in qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The Mercedes driver was fastest on the first runs in Q3 with a time of 1m34.828s. He then shaved a few hundredths off that time on his second run, posting a 1m34.779s to consolidate his position at the top of the timesheets.
Team-mate Valtteri Bottas was second fastest, 0.194 seconds slower, though he will have to serve a back-of-the-grid penalty for power unit changes.
This means Red Bull’s Max Verstappen will start second having set the third-fastest time, 0.360s off the pace.
Charles Leclerc won the intra-Ferrari battle by beating Sebastian Vettel to fourth place despite not reaching the line in time to start his final lap.
He complained of Vettel slowing ahead, although Vettel himself was being backed up as drivers prepared for their final quick laps.
Vettel did not improve on his final lap, ending up 0.560s off pole.
Alex Albon was sixth fastest in the second Red Bull, nine-tenths off the pace.
All of the fastest six qualifiers will start on medium-compound Pirellis, except for Vettel who used softs to post his fastest Q2 time.
Lando Norris won the midfield battle with seventh-fastest time, beating Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo by just two hundredths of a second.
Carlos Sainz Jr was a further 0.003s down in ninth place, with the second Renault of Nico Hulkenberg a distant 10th.
Racing Point’s Sergio Perez was eliminated at the last moment in Q2 by Nico Hulkenberg’s late improvement after being pushed down to 11th – although Bottas’s penalty means he will start 10th.
Pierre Gasly ended up 12th having briefly dipped into the top 10 on his final run before being relegated by Norris and Hulkenberg.
Lance Stroll took the second Racing Point to 13th, 0.038s faster than the second Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat.
Haas driver Kevin Magnussen was 15th, over a tenth slower than Kvyat – who is being investigated by stewards for a potential unsafe release during Q1.
Romain Grosjean was quickest of those eliminated in Q1 in 16th place after being put into the elimination zone by Stroll at the end of the session.
Grosjean was vulnerable thanks to a poor first sector on his final lap, although he was still 0.341s away from reaching Q2, apologising to the team over the radio for something going wrong on the lap.
Alfa Romeo duo Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Raikkonen were 17th and 18th, with both briefly lifting themselves out of the bottom five in the final flurry of laps before being shuffled back.
George Russell made sure of a clean sweep in his qualifying head-to-head with Williams team-mate Robert Kubica by taking 19th place, just over half-a-second ahead of the one-time grand prix winner.
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||0.360s|
|5||Alexander Albon||Red Bull/Honda||0.903s|
|8||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren/Renault||1.680s|
|10||Sergio Perez||Racing Point/Mercedes||2.276s|
|11||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||2.310s|
|12||Lance Stroll||Racing Point/Mercedes||2.324s|
|13||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Honda||2.362s|
|16||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||3.335s|
|17||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||3.604s|
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix practice: Verstappen edges Mercedes F1 duo
Max Verstappen topped the final practice session of the 2019 Formula 1 season as three drivers lapped within a tenth ahead of Abu Dhabi Grand Prix qualifying.
The Red Bull driver improved with less than five minutes to go to deny Mercedes a 1-2 in FP3, heading Lewis Hamilton by 0.074 seconds and Valtteri Bottas by 0.089s.
Ferrari was less competitive in terms of outright pace, as neither of its drivers lapped within four tenths of Verstappen’s benchmark, but used medium tyres instead of a second set of softs.
Hamilton was quickest after the first round of soft-tyre runs, comfortably clear of Bottas, though suffered a lock-up into the first chicane that caused him to abort his next flying lap.
He did not set a quicker time than his 1m36.640s afterwards but remained on top despite a big improvement from Bottas that brought him just 0.015s slower than Hamilton.
Verstappen trailed Hamilton by 0.089s at this point but completed a second flying lap on his second set of softs late on to vault both Mercedes and top the last free practice session of the year.
Red Bull team-mate Alex Albon backed up Verstappen in fourth, 0.361s off the pace and ahead of the medium-shod Ferraris.
An early run for Albon had been ruined in a near-miss with Nico Hulkenberg’s Renault, which was running slowly and partly on the racing line after the blind, fast Turn 16 that leads into the slow Turn 17 right-hander.
Both drivers have been summoned to see the stewards.
Sebastian Vettel won the Ferrari fight for fifth with a 1m36.975s ahead of Leclerc’s 1m37.010s. Leclerc did not have a second set of softs to use as he was forced to use an extra set in FP2, after he had hit the wall and damaged the right-rear wheel and tyre.
Behind the big three teams, Sergio Perez led the midfield battle for Racing Point and lapped within a second of Verstappen.
Daniel Ricciardo was fractionally slower in his Renault, while McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr and Toro Rosso driver Pierre Gasly made it four team in the final four places in the top 10.
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||1m36.566s||–||15|
|4||Alexander Albon||Red Bull/Honda||1m36.927s||0.361s||18|
|7||Sergio Perez||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m37.516s||0.950s||16|
|9||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren/Renault||1m37.691s||1.125s||22|
|10||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m37.736s||1.170s||17|
|12||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m37.963s||1.397s||18|
|15||Lance Stroll||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m38.462s||1.896s||16|
|16||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1m38.514s||1.948s||21|
|18||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1m38.782s||2.216s||18|
Abu Dhabi GP: Bottas leads Mercedes 1-2, but clashes with Grosjean
Valtteri Bottas set the pace in second Formula 1 free practice ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, although his evening was marred by a collision with Romain Grosjean.
The Mercedes driver was second fastest, a tenth slower than Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, in the early running when both were using medium-compound Pirellis.
He was the first of the frontrunners to post a qualifying simulation time, setting a time of 1m36.256s on his first flier in the floodlit session.
That was enough to give him top spot by 0.310 seconds from team-mate Lewis Hamilton, with the advantage built in the first and second sectors – perhaps helped by the fact Bottas is running a fresh Mercedes power unit that means he will start from the back of the grid.
Bottas was later on a long run when he made a move that was unusually aggressive for a free practice session by diving up the inside of Grosjean’s Haas at the Turn 11 left-hander.
Grosjean appeared not to see the Mercedes and turned in, with both cars shedding bodywork in the resulting clash – and the drivers blaming each other over the radio.
Although both cars continued to the pits, the session was red flagged for seven minutes to allow debris to be cleared up.
Bottas did return to the track after the session restarted with 12 minutes remaining, although Grosjean did not.
Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc was third fastest, 0.386s slower than Bottas, having taken a second set of fresh Pirellis to set his time.
Leclerc had been the first in the field to embark on a qualifying simulation lap, but the rear stepped out on him coming out of the Turn 19 left-hander.
He caught it, but slapped the wall with the right side of the car and had to abort the lap – later opting to take a fresh set of rubber for another attempt.
Verstappen ended up fourth fastest, 0.551s off the pace, and three tenths clear of the second Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel.
Vettel was running with a replacement gearbox having damaged his previous one during FP1 – although as this was a Friday unit it does not trigger a penalty.
Alex Albon rounded out the top six in the second Red Bull, a second off the pace having lost almost half a second to team-mate Verstappen in the twisty final sector.
Grosjean led the midfield for Haas with a relatively early lap that made him only the third driver to attempt a qualifying simulation lap.
Sergio Perez got closest to him, ending up just 0.036s behind, with the two Toro Rosso drivers rounding out the top 10.
Daniil Kvyat had the edge over Gasly in ninth thanks to his pace advantage in the final sector.
McLaren duo Carlos Sainz Jr and Lando Norris were 11th and 12th ahead of the second Racing point of Lance Stroll.
Kevin Magnussen was 14th for Haas, losing time to his team-mate in both the second and third sectors, just ahead of the lead Renault of Nico Hulkenberg.
Hulkenberg posted his lap of 1m38.122s with 48 minutes remaining, with team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, running his intended race engine after a major failure in FP1, three-tenths slower.
Hulkenberg was set to improve on his second attempt but ran deep at the Turn 17 right-hander and aborted the lap.
Kimi Raikkonen won the battle of the Alfa Romeo drivers in 17th place, lapping half a tenth faster than Antonio Giovinazzi.
Giovinazzi made three attempts on his set of softs, the final one coming to an end when he spun at Turn 19. He avoided the wall, but returned to the pits immediately.
Williams driver George Russell was 19th, close to a second faster than team-mate Robert Kubica.
|5||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||0.551s||30|
|6||Alexander Albon||Red Bull/Honda||1.032s||30|
|8||Sergio Perez||Racing Point/Mercedes||1.381s||32|
|9||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Honda||1.395s||34|
|10||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||1.514s||36|
|11||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren/Renault||1.578s||32|
|13||Lance Stroll||Racing Point/Mercedes||1.729s||32|
|17||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||2.159s||30|
|18||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||2.208s||32|
Abu Dhabi GP: Bottas heads Verstappen in FP1, Vettel crashes late on
Valtteri Bottas set the pace in Formula 1’s opening Abu Dhabi Grand Prix practice session, in which Daniel Ricciardo suffered an engine failure and Sebastian Vettel crashed late on.
Bottas headed the order at the halfway mark of the session after switching to medium tyres, which elevated him 0.6 seconds clear of Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton.
It appeared the order would change with the usual late-session improvements, but with half an hour to go the session was interrupted for more than 10 minutes following Ricciardo’s failure and when it resumed drivers were forced to go off-line at the final corner.
Ricciardo was on a fast lap but on the entry to the final corner his car emitted a plume of fluid, two bursts of flames and some shrapnel from the apparently detonated engine.
He pulled over immediately on the runoff exiting the final corner but the recovery of his car and treating the circuit that had been covered by the Renault’s fluid necessitated a stoppage.
Pierre Gasly, who had just been overtaken by Ricciardo prior to the failure, almost lost the rear of his Toro Rosso, while Bottas skated off onto the runoff as well.
Renault said it was a "very high mileage engine from the start of season" that suffered the failure.
When the session resumed, with a slippery surface warning ahead of the final corner, none of the leading runners improved their times.
That meant Bottas led Max Verstappen by more than half a second, as the Red Bull driver jumped ahead of Hamilton on his second set of soft tyres.
Hamilton had to return to the pits slowly after complaining of a loss of power in the early part of the session.
That trouble was traced to a sensor issue sending the engine into limp mode and he returned to the track later on.
Neither of the Ferraris challenged at the front, with Vettel fifth behind Alex Albon’s Red Bull and Charles Leclerc seventh.
Vettel was 1.9s off the pace and his session suffered a late setback when he lost the rear of his car at Turn 19, the final left-hander of the lap, with two minutes remaining.
The Ferrari swapped ends and rolled backwards into the barrier on the outside, bringing out a second red flag and ending the session early.
Romain Grosjean split the Ferraris in sixth for Haas, while team-mate Kevin Magnussen was eighth in an encouraging FP1 for the American team.
Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi and Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg completed the top 10.
Williams driver George Russell took part in FP1 despite a pre-session health concern.
He was slowest of those to set a time, 4.4s off the pace, but completed 24 laps – more than any other driver.
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||1m37.492s||0.535s||22|
|4||Alexander Albon||Red Bull/Honda||1m38.084s||1.127s||23|
|9||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1m39.423s||2.466s||20|
|12||Lance Stroll||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m39.864s||2.907s||23|
|13||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1m39.888s||2.931s||17|
|14||Sergio Perez||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m39.901s||2.944s||17|
|15||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m39.969s||3.012s||20|
|16||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m40.401s||3.444s||17|
|17||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren/Renault||1m40.687s||3.730s||23|
Q: Kimi, coming on to you: it’s been an up and down kind of season for Alfa Romeo. When you reflect on it, what has the team done well and where does it need to improve?
Kimi RAIKKONEN: I think it’s two different halves of the year where the first part of the year was pretty decent and most of the races and also we had some bad races around Barcelona, Monaco but it improved from there and then since the summer break, first we had good speed still but didn’t score any points as a team and then it’s been very difficult apart from the last couple of races where we at least had some speed to fight in the top ten. Only in the last one could we score good points with two cars but it’s a bit too late, looking more as a team halfway through but that’s how it goes. I think we learned some things; last race we brought a new front wing which helped a bit, so we’re still trying to improve so it’s all learning for next year and we try to do a better job as a team.
Q: Kimi, how much have you enjoyed this season, away from the pressure cooker environment of Ferrari?
KR: I don’t think the pressure was any different. Obviously we want to do well and like I said, it’s a shame we’ve kind of fallen down as a team but as a driver, I think everyone puts a lot of pressure on themselves and in the end the work that we do over the race weekend is not really any different whichever team you’re in, it’s just that the meetings are very similar between teams, the driving is there and the racing. Outside of racing it has been less busy so that’s nice part of it plus obviously the team is very close to where I live so I don’t need to travel to different countries, in many ways it helps, I have a bit more time to stay with the family. It’s a nice thing.
Q: And this is race number 312 for you, taking you ahead of Fernando Alonso to second on the all-time list of starts. Are you excited to come back next year and become the all-time most experienced…
KR: On that, not. It gives me nothing but I’m excited now to have another go and we can improve from this year and learn the lessons from what we’ve done wrong and what we’ve done good and get a bit closer to the front but time will tell, it’s way too early. Once we start running the cars in the first race next year we will get a good idea.
Q: (Heikki Kulta -Turun Sanomat) Kimi, your first season without a podium since 2014. Which one was more difficult to go through, this season or the first season with Ferrari?
KR: I think the expectation at the start of the year is completely different in those two different teams. For sure this year has generally been much better than if you have such a difficult year in Ferrari as a team or as a driver.
Q: (Daria Panova – Motorlat) Next season [sic, 2021] we will have three-day race weekends; what do you think about it? Isn’t it too much to have so many activities in one day for you?
KR: It should happen next year, already. I mean today is an absolutely useless day. Honestly, we’re going to talk the same things, half of the things we talk at least on Sunday after the last race and tomorrow again. I think it will be a good step because people don’t need to be away that many days and there’s no cost and hotels and (indistinct) that much and all things will be better for the team… so stop wasting time.
Brazilian GP: Verstappen wins from Gasly, while Ferraris collide
Max Verstappen won a crazy Brazilian Grand Prix in which Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly claimed his first Formula 1 podium in second and the two Ferraris collided with each other.
Poleman Verstappen had to pass Lewis Hamilton on-track twice to score his third victory of 2019, while Gasly beat Hamilton in a drag race to the line after being handed second place when Hamilton and Alex Albon collided on the penultimate lap.
A collision between team-mates Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc caused a safety car and set up a four-lap climax to a thrilling race, with Albon in second because Hamilton had made a switch to soft tyres under the safety and dropped to third.
When Hamilton tried to pass Albon for second on the penultimate lap, they hit each other and the Red Bull spun. Then gave Gasly chance to jump Hamilton and he then somehow resisted the Mercedes on the run to the line in a virtual photo-finish.
Poleman Verstappen had maintained the lead at the start as Hamilton attacked Vettel on the outside into Turn 1 and grabbed second.
Hamilton fell away from Verstappen through the first stint and Verstappen held a lead of around 2.4s initially, which Hamilton had whittled down to 1.8s when he dived into the pitlane at the end of lap 20 of 71.
That committed him to a two-stop strategy as he stayed on soft tyres, and though Red Bull responded one lap later Hamilton’s massive pace advantage on new rubber meant he was set to jump Verstappen with relative ease.
He caught Leclerc, who was yet to stop having started 14th, at the end of the lap but still moved ahead of Verstappen because Verstappen was baulked by the Williams of Robert Kubica in the pitlane.
Williams released Kubica but the Pole was slow away and swerved into Verstappen’s path at the exit, forcing Verstappen to take evasive action and then sit behind the Williams until they rejoined the circuit.
That allowed Hamilton ahead, but Leclerc put up a stern resistance through the rest of the lap, which meant Verstappen – also on fresh softs – closed back up immediately.
Hamilton passed Leclerc on the outside of the fast left-hander at the end of the middle sector but Verstappen followed him through immediately, darting down the inside of Leclerc into the Juncao left-hander that follows.
Verstappen was then immediately on Hamilton’s tail and blasted past into the Senna S, as Hamilton ran out of battery power at the end of the lap and bemoaned his team for a lack of information.
The lead gap gradually extended to more than three seconds and Hamilton grew irate, insisting he could not close the gap and requesting to stop to try to force the undercut again.
Mercedes obliged on lap 43 of 71, but Red Bull covered the move one lap later again and Verstappen retained track position.
He proceeded to keep Hamilton at arm’s length until a safety car emerged with 18 laps remaining, when Valtteri Bottas, who was in a frustrated fifth place behind Leclerc, was forced to retire after an apparent engine failure.
Bottas slowed exiting Turn 3 after smoke emerged from the back of his Mercedes before pulling to a halt on the inside at the Descida do Lago. It was initially dealt with using double waved yellow flags but required a safety car when a recovery vehicle was deployed to retrieve the Mercedes.
Hamilton stayed out while Verstappen dived into the pits for another set of softs, and Hamilton opted not to pit next time by either – giving him the lead, but with tyres 11 laps older than Verstappen’s.
When the race resumed, Hamilton led Verstappen, Vettel, Albon and Leclerc – with Vettel and Albon sticking with tyres they had only just switched to three laps before the safety car, and Leclerc stopping for another set of softs.
Hamilton backed the pack up aggressively at the restart to thwart Verstappen’s attack, but Verstappen drew level on the outside into the first corner and toughed it out to reclaim the lead into the second part of the Senna S.
Behind, Albon aggressively took third from Vettel, then rebuffed the Ferrari’s attempt to reclaim the place.
Albon closed in on Hamilton for second but found himself under attack from Vettel again when the Ferrari launched a move around the outside into the first corner with seven laps remaining, but Albon somehow resisted.
Two laps later, Leclerc mugged team-mate Vettel on the inside into the first corner, but when Vettel fought back on the run down to the Descida do Lago he moved left and the two Ferraris hit each other.
The impact broke Leclerc’s front right wheel and forced the furious youngster into retirement, while Vettel – who blamed Leclerc – picked up a right-rear puncture.
That triggered a safety car under which Hamilton dived into the pits yet again, dropping him to fourth behind Albon and Gasly.
A two-lap dash to the flag ensued after the safety car period ended, in which Albon and Hamilton collided. Hamilton accepted the blame for the incident, which is under investigation and dropped Albon to 14th.
Gasly then earned his stunning podium finish by keeping Hamilton behind until the Mercedes drew level exiting the penultimate corner, but the Honda-powered Toro Rosso stayed ahead in a near dead heat.
Behind the top three, Carlos Sainz Jr matched McLaren’s best result of the year by making the most of the chaos to finish fourth despite starting last after failing to take part in qualifying.
Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi nailed Alfa Romeo’s best result of the season in fifth and sixth, ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, who fought back from a broken front wing and a five-second penalty early on in a collision with Kevin Magnussen to finish seventh.
Lando Norris took eighth for McLaren, with Racing Point’s Sergio Perez and Daniil Kvyat completing the points finishers.
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||71||1h33m14.678s|
|2||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||71||6.077s|
|3||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren/Renault||71||8.896s|
|4||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||71||9.452s|
|5||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||71||10.201s|
|9||Sergio Perez||Racing Point/Mercedes||71||11.529s|
|10||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Honda||71||11.931s|
|14||Alexander Albon||Red Bull/Honda||71||14.927s|
|16||Robert Kubica||Williams/Mercedes||70||1 Lap|
|19||Lance Stroll||Racing Point/Mercedes||65||Accident damage|
|–||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||51||Power Unit|
|7||Carlos Sainz Jr.||95|
Brazilian Grand Prix: Max Verstappen puts Red Bull-Honda on pole
Red Bull-Honda’s Max Verstappen claimed his second Formula 1 pole position in qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Verstappen was fastest on the first runs in Q3, but only by 0.008 seconds from Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel after running wide out of the Pinheirinho left-hander on the infield.
Then Verstappen improved on his second run to post a time of 1m07.508s, which gave him pole by 0.123s thanks to Vettel’s failure to improve.
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton jumped to third at the end of the session, lapping 0.191s off the pace and relegating Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari to fourth.
Leclerc carries a 10-place grid drop into the race for an engine change, meaning he will start 14th assuming no new penalties are issued.
He was the only driver to use medium Pirellis to set his time in Q2, so can start on that set of tyres while the rest of the top 10 must start on softs.
Valtteri Bottas was fifth in the second Mercedes after failing to improve on his second run, with Alex Albon rounding out the top six and 0.427s off his Red Bull team-mate.
Pierre Gasly won an ultra-competitive midfield battle by taking seventh place for Toro Rosso, lapping just 0.007s quicker than Haas driver Romain Grosjean.
Kimi Raikkonen sealed ninth place in his Alfa Romeo, with Kevin Magnussen making it two Haas cars in the top 10 after lapping 1.529s off the pace.
The first runs proved decisive in Q2 thanks to only one driver improving their time on the second run.
McLaren driver Lando Norris missed out on the top 10 by just one-hundredth, apologising to the team over the radio because he "just didn’t put it together".
Both Renault drivers were also eliminated in Q2, with Daniel Ricciardo 12th and Nico Hulkenberg 14th – sandwiching the Alfa Romeo of Antonio Giovinazzi.
Hulkenberg was the only driver who did improve on his second run, which gained him one place.
Giovinazzi spun on his final Q2 lap at the tight Turn 8 right-hander, which also compromised the lap of team-mate Raikkonen just behind him.
Racing Point’s Sergio Perez was 15th, falling behind Hulkenberg at the end of the session.
Daniil Kvyat was quickest of those to be eliminated in Q1 in 16th place, missing out on advancing by just 0.032s.
He failed to improve on his second run after a lock-up on his first flier on fresh rubber, then couldn’t find time on his second push lap on that set of Pirellis.
This allowed the Alfa Romeo drivers, Perez and Hulkenberg, to jump ahead of him having been behind after the first Q1 runs.
Racing Point’s Lance Stroll did improve on his second run, but not by enough to elevate him beyond 17th place.
Williams driver George Russell was 19th fastest, six-tenths further down, with Williams team-mate Robert Kubica a further half-second back.
Carlos Sainz Jr did not set a time in qualifying after a problem manifested itself on his first flying lap in Q1, forcing him to return to the pits.
He reported "something went, something on the engine" over the radio, later suggesting it was "something on the driveshaft or the gearbox" – with the McLaren team unwilling to risk sending him out again while attempting to diagnose the problem.
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||1m07.508s||–|
|5||Alexander Albon||Red Bull/Honda||1m07.935s||0.427s|
|6||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m08.837s||1.329s|
|8||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1m08.984s||1.476s|
|12||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1m08.919s||–|
|15||Sergio Perez||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m09.035s||–|
|16||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m09.320s||–|
|17||Lance Stroll||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m09.536s||–|
|20||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren/Renault||–||–|
Brazilian GP practice: Lewis Hamilton narrowly leads Max Verstappen
Lewis Hamilton narrowly defeated Max Verstappen to top final practice for the Brazilian Grand Prix, hinting at a tight Formula 1 qualifying battle between Mercedes and Red Bull.
Hamilton’s 1m08.320s shaded Verstappen by just 0.026 seconds ahead of qualifying at Interlagos, with Ferrari slightly adrift of its two rivals.
Verstappen headed the order at the halfway stage of the session after emerging on top of the first set of soft-tyre runs.
His 1m109.063s was the second of two laps that put him quickest after taking to the track later than his rivals.
Hamilton was 0.391s behind as Mercedes opted for a third flying lap for each of its drivers on the same set of tyres.
The Ferraris were shuffled back to more than half a second slower than Verstappen at this stage, but moved to the top by kicking off the second round of qualifying simulations.
Charles Leclerc outpaced Sebastian Vettel by half a tenth, while Vettel failed to improve by 0.005s after two cool-down laps and a second flier.
Hamilton then swiftly knocked Leclerc off top spot with a 1m08.320s that beat the Ferrari by almost three tenths of a second.
Valtteri Bottas failed to make similar ground in the other Mercedes, posting a personal best but lapping almost a second slower than Hamilton after running wide exiting the left-hander at the end of the first sector.
Verstappen’s final qualifying simulations started strongly with the best first sector of anyone, but he lost time to Hamilton in the middle part of the lap and wound up 0.026s adrift.
Another fastest first sector followed, but the lap fell away again and he just failed to improve.
Alex Albon, who was well behind Verstappen after their first efforts, improved twice on his second set of tyres to jump Bottas for fifth, although he still wound up 0.8s off the pace.
Behind the big three teams, Daniil Kvyat recovered from his Friday off to set the fastest time among the midfielders.
The Toro Rosso driver was just two tenths slower than Albon, and half a tenth clear of Antonio Giovinazzi’s Alfa Romeo.
McLaren duo Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz Jr completed the top 10.
At the foot of the times, Robert Kubica finally completed his first timed laps of the weekend.
Kubica had missed Friday morning so reserve driver Nicholas Latifi could take part, then crashed heavily at the start of the afternoon session.
The damage required Williams to switch Kubica to a new chassis, which he used to complete 23 laps – more than any other driver – on his way to the slowest time, three tenths behind team-mate George Russell.
Practice three times
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||1m08.346s||0.026s||18|
|5||Alexander Albon||Red Bull/Honda||1m09.136s||0.816s||17|
|7||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m09.415s||1.095s||22|
|8||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1m09.462s||1.142s||20|
|10||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren/Renault||1m09.588s||1.268s||21|
|11||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1m09.619s||1.299s||21|
|12||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m09.625s||1.305s||19|
|17||Sergio Perez||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m09.995s||1.675s||19|
|18||Lance Stroll||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m10.312s||1.992s||16|
Brazilian Grand Prix practice: Sebastian Vettel leads Ferrari 1-2
Sebastian Vettel led a Ferrari 1-2 in the second free practice session for Formula 1’s Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos.
Vettel hit the front early on when using the medium-compound Pirellis, setting a best time of 1m09.570s – a quarter of a second ahead of second-quickest Charles Leclerc.
When the field switched to the soft-compound Pirellis for performance runs, Vettel initially struggled to improve after hitting traffic on his first quick lap.
This allowed Leclerc to move into the lead with a lap of 1m09.238s before Vettel reclaimed top spot with a time of 1m09.217s.
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen was one of the last to start his qualifying simulation run, jumping to third place with a lap 0.134s off the pace.
He set the fastest middle and final sector times of all on that lap.
Mercedes duo Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton were fourth and fifth fastest respectively, with the former 0.156s off the pace.
Hamilton was 0.223s down and wasn’t able to post a time until his third attempt, with one lap aborted at the first corner after going deep then having to go off track to avoid Pierre Gasly’s Toro Rosso – which was attempting to let him past.
Kevin Magnussen was a surprise sixth in the Haas, which tends to go well in the cool conditions that prevailed on Friday, with Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo just behind.
Alfa Romeo driver Kimi Raikkonen was among the first to set a qualifying simulation time, which briefly put him fifth before he was shuffled back to eighth – the last driver within a second of the pace.
Red Bull’s Alex Albon had a difficult session and only made a small improvement on his medium-tyre pace when running softs, meaning he was shuffled down to ninth place ahead of McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr.
Nico Hulkenberg was 11th in the second Renault, 1.108s off the pace and just ahead of the Toro Rosso of Gasly.
Gasly’s session came to a premature end with 20 minutes remaining when he pulled over with smoke emerging from the rear of the car.
He confirmed it was an engine problem over the radio, with the virtual safety car being deployed.
Antonio Giovinazzi was 13th in the second Alfa Romeo, pipping Daniil Kvyat by just 0.005s.
Kvyat brought the session to a premature end with five minutes remaining when the red flag flew after he slid into the barrier with the right-rear corner at the Juncao left-hander as the rears locked up thanks to an apparent engine problem.
Racing Point duo Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll were 15th and 17th, sandwiching the second Haas of Romain Grosjean.
McLaren driver Lando Norris was 18th, 1.483s down, with George Russell slowest of the drivers to set a time in 19th.
Robert Kubica, who sat out the first session to allow Nicholas Latifi to drive, didn’t set a time after crashing at the Turn 3 left-hander on his first flying lap early on.
The rear stepped out and Kubica corrected, only to fire the car the other way and into the outside barrier – bringing his session to an end and leading to a seven-minute red flag.
Practice two times
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||1m09.351s||0.134s||33|
|8||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1m10.210s||0.993s||39|
|9||Alexander Albon||Red Bull/Honda||1m10.275s||1.058s||31|
|10||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren/Renault||1m10.310s||1.093s||38|
|12||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m10.352s||1.135s||26|
|13||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1m10.419s||1.202s||36|
|14||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m10.424s||1.207s||34|
|15||Sergio Perez||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m10.443s||1.226s||31|
|17||Lance Stroll||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m10.568s||1.351s||33|
Brazilian Grand Prix practice: Alex Albon fastest but crashes
Red Bull driver Alex Albon set the fastest lap in opening practice for Formula 1’s Brazilian Grand Prix before crashing, while Lewis Hamilton failed to set a time.
Albon was quickest after the intermediate tyre runs but shunted with fewer than three minutes remaining while preparing for a late flying lap on slicks.
The session was not restarted, meaning Albon led the way from Valtteri Bottas and Sebastian Vettel.
Torrential rain hit Interlagos on Thursday evening and again on Friday morning, but conditions eased as the first 90-minute session began and by the end of practice one drivers were able to attempt a small amount of running on slick tyres.
Ferrari driver Vettel was the first to brave a soaking wet track, using full wet tyres a couple of minutes into the session, but it would take another 20 minutes before a lap time was set.
Carlos Sainz Jr posted a 1m22.149s that stood as the lone time for another 10 minutes, before Charles Leclerc went quickest on a 1m21.259s.
Leclerc was then first to move onto intermediate tyres, which he used to go four seconds faster than before and he stayed on top initially even as others discarded wets too.
Vettel later displaced his Ferrari team-mate with a 1m17.041s before Valtteri Bottas set the first sub-1m17s lap, a 1m16.693s.
With 20 minutes remaining, Hamilton and both Red Bull drivers were among those still to set a lap time.
Albon then leapt from the foot of the times to first place, posting a 1m16.399s, while Max Verstappen waited until just over five minutes were left before heading out for his first flying lap – on slick tyres.
The perils of the slippery surface were immediately evident, though, as Verstappen spun in the middle of the Senna S shortly after Leclerc had run wide at the same place.
Daniil Kvyat also had a harmless spin at the top of the first complex, but Albon was not as lucky as his colleagues.
The recently-confirmed Red Bull 2020 driver was completing his out-lap when he slid off the road approaching the penultimate corner.
Albon hit the barriers heavily, with the front-right of his car taking the brunt of the impact, and the session was red-flagged and not restarted.
It meant no driver improved on slick tyres at the end, leaving Albon quickest from Bottas, Vettel, Leclerc, and Sainz.
Albon’s shunt also meant Romain Grosjean, Sergio Perez, Verstappen and Hamilton all failed to set a time.
Practice one times
|1||Alexander Albon||Red Bull/Honda||1m16.142s||–||9|
|5||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren/Renault||1m17.786s||1.644s||16|
|8||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m18.100s||1.958s||17|
|9||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m18.274s||2.132s||16|
|13||Lance Stroll||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m19.414s||3.272s||6|
|14||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1m19.532s||3.390s||12|
|15||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1m19.600s||3.458s||18|
|18||Sergio Perez||Racing Point/Mercedes||–||–||1|
|19||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||–||–||3|
Raikkonen: I might as well finish last if I’m 11th like in F1 US GP
Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen says finishing 11th or last in Formula 1 "makes no difference" after he missed out on a points finish at the United States Grand Prix.
The 2007 world champion has not finished in the top 10 since the Hungarian GP before the summer break and, although he ran in the points in the opening part of the Austin race, he again came away without scoring.
When asked if Alfa’s struggles with tyres in the US event were masked in qualifying then exaggerated in the race, Raikkonen said: "If you take many previous races for sure I was strongest for a long time, but obviously when you finish 11th you get absolutely nothing so you [might] as well be last.
"It makes no difference, so that’s why it’s disappointing. Sure, there was a lot of positive, but the end result is still the same.
"I had quite an OK first lap but didn’t have the speed to stay in the position.
"I managed to pass [Kevin] Magnussen but it just feels like we’re lacking general speed a bit so we have to use the tyres more than others to hold onto them.
"And then obviously we run out of tyres a bit earlier. And then it multiplies during the race and it costs us a bit.
"But we’re just lacking a little [of] speed generally. We were at least in a fight, but it’s still a bit disappointing to finish 11th."
Raikkonen’s team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi, who finished 14th at Austin and has since been confirmed for a second season at the squad, said the Alfa is "just missing grip", before adding "after that it is really difficult to drive".
"We were on different strategies with Kimi trying to finalise something," said Giovinazzi.
"But I think from my side, on mediums it was really difficult, on hards as well on the second stint.
"It was a little bit better on soft, but still too slow to be honest.
"We are still struggling on race pace. We tried to do something, but it’s still not enough. [We will] try to do something next, and try to make it better for Brazil."
US Grand Prix: Bottas beats Vettel to pole at Austin
Valtteri Bottas claimed his fifth pole position of the 2019 Formula 1 season in qualifying for the United States Grand Prix at Austin.
The Mercedes driver’s first run in Q3, during which he posted a lap of 1m32.029s, was good enough to be sure of pole.
Neither he nor Sebastian Vettel, who was just 0.012 seconds slower, were able to improve on their second attempts but the Ferrari driver’s first-run pace was also good enough for a place on the front row.
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen did improve on the second attempt to consolidate third place, just 0.067s slower than Bottas, with Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc also finding time but ending up 0.108s down in fourth.
World championship leader Lewis Hamilton abandoned his second lap after losing time in the second sector, meaning he ended up fifth and 0.292s down. He only requires an eighth place in Sunday’s race to wrap up the 2019 title.
Alex Albon was sixth in the second Red Bull, 0.519s off the pace.
Carlos Sainz Jr benefited from having two sets of fresh softs in Q3 thanks to completing only one run in Q1 to secure midfield honours in seventh place with a lap just three tenths slower than Albon.
Sainz’s McLaren team-mate, Lando Norris, also earned a place on the fourth row in eighth, almost three-and-a-half tenths slower.
Renault driver Daniel Ricciardo, who completed his sole Q3 run on a clear track before the final flurry, was ninth fastest, 1.459s off the pace, and just over a tenth faster than Toro Rosso driver Pierre Gasly.
The Ferrari and Mercedes drivers will start on mediums having used that tyre compound for their Q2 time, along with Verstappen – with the rest of the top 10 using softs.
Renault driver Nico Hulkenberg was quickest of those knocked out in 11th place after lapping one tenth slower than Gasly.
He briefly climbed into the top 10 as he finished his final lap, only to be knocked down a place by team-mate Ricciardo.
Kevin Magnussen was 12th for Haas having failed to improve on his second run, ending up 0.010s quicker than Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat – who had a time that originally put him 11th deleted for a track-limits violation.
Racing Point’s Lance Stroll was 14th, just over half a tenth quicker than 15th-fastest Romain Grosjean’s Haas.
Alfa Romeo duo Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Raikkonen were both eliminated in Q1 in 16th and 17th places respectively.
The pair were both in the dropzone after the first runs, with Raikkonen briefly climbing to 15th ahead of Gasly before Giovinazzi leaped ahead thanks to his stronger pace in the middle sector.
But Gasly then posted a time good enough to shuffle both back into the bottom five, where they ended the session well clear of the lead Williams of George Russell.
Racing Point driver Sergio Perez must start from the pits thanks to missing the weighbridge in practice two, so completed only one run and was 19th fastest.
That put him less than a tenth faster than the second Williams of Robert Kubica.
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||1m32.096s||0.067s|
|6||Alexander Albon||Red Bull/Honda||1m32.548s||0.519s|
|7||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren/Renault||1m32.847s||0.818s|
|10||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m33.601s||1.572s|
|13||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m33.989s||–|
|14||Lance Stroll||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m34.100s||–|
|16||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1m34.226s||–|
|17||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1m34.369s||–|
|20||Sergio Perez||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m35.808s||–|
US GP practice: Verstappen top, Norris stars, trouble for Leclerc
Max Verstappen topped final practice for Formula 1’s United States Grand Prix, as Lando Norris posted a surprise third-best time for McLaren and Charles Leclerc stopped with a problem.
Red Bull driver Verstappen bested Sebastian Vettel by 0.218 seconds in Saturday morning’s session at Austin, but Vettel ended up the only Ferrari driver to set a lap time.
Twenty minutes into the session his team-mate Leclerc seemed to lose power towards the end of the lap and pulled over on the run-off before the penultimate corner.
Light smoke was emerging from the rear of his Ferrari as he came to a rest and continued to do so as the car was wheeled behind the barriers.
Ferrari later said the issue was an oil leak, and began work to change to a previously used engine in time for qualifying.
The recovery of Leclerc’s car, which was eventually returned to the Ferrari garage mid-way through the session, caused a brief virtual safety car period before the session resumed under green flag conditions.
Vettel and Verstappen duelled for the fastest time on the first runs before Valtteri Bottas kicked off the next new-tyre efforts and jumped to first with the first sub-1m34s lap, a 1m33.904s.
After having an earlier lap deleted for running too wide exiting the penultimate corner, Vettel found almost a second on new rubber and lapped almost four tenths quicker than Bottas.
Verstappen initially set a time within two tenths of Vettel’s 1m33.523s, and locked up at Turn 1 as he tried to improve.
He did eventually depose Vettel one final time, clocking a 1m33.305s to take the top spot for good with seven minutes to go.
Neither Mercedes driver seriously threatened to top the session and as Bottas and Lewis Hamilton ended up more than half a second adrift, Norris stole an unexpected third.
The rookie was just 0.533s slower than Vettel as his 1m33.818s beat Bottas by eight-hundredths of a second and Hamilton by just over a tenth.
Alex Albon completed the top six in the second Red Bull, 0.678s slower than team-mate Verstappen.
Carlos Sainz Jr was twice as far from the benchmark in seventh as his team-mate Norris, but shunned the soft tyre for most of the session.
He was 1.1s off the pace, but a tenth quicker than the Alfa Romeo of Kimi Raikkonen in eighth.
Pierre Gasly’s Toro Rosso and Daniel Ricciardo’s Renault completed the top 10.
At the back of the field, without a representative time in 19th, Sergio Perez’s Racing Point was fitted with a new engine, turbocharger, MGU-H and MGU-K for final practice.
The engine changes and lack of qualifying simulation work were tactical decisions from the team as Perez will start from the pitlane because of a weighbridge infringement on Friday.
Perez will be hit with a grid penalty for the engine component changes but it will be an irrelevant formality for the Mexican, who now has the fresh components available to him for this weekend and rest of the season
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||1m33.305s||–||13|
|6||Alexander Albon||Red Bull/Honda||1m33.983s||0.678s||14|
|7||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren/Renault||1m34.408s||1.103s||15|
|8||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1m34.513s||1.208s||18|
|9||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m34.517s||1.212s||14|
|12||Lance Stroll||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m34.792s||1.487s||14|
|14||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m35.129s||1.824s||16|
|16||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1m35.956s||2.651s||15|
|19||Sergio Perez||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m38.426s||5.121s||22|
US Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton leads Austin Friday F1 practice
Lewis Hamilton set the pace in the second Formula 1 free practice session ahead of the United States Grand Prix, outpacing Charles Leclerc by 0.301 seconds.
Ferrari driver Leclerc was quickest in the early running, which was interrupted by a red flag caused by Romain Grosjean crashing his Haas after losing it at the downhill Turn 5 and nosing into the barrier, with a time of 1m34.434s using medium Pirellis.
That put Leclerc 0.158s quicker than Hamilton, who used the hard compound to set his time.
But Hamilton hit back once the drivers started to switch on to the soft Pirellis, setting a time of 1m33.232s to secure top spot.
This was despite lagging 0.317s behind Leclerc at the end of the first sector, with a significant tow from Robert Kubica’s Williams in the middle sector allowing him to take half a second out of Leclerc.
Hamilton ended up three tenths quicker than Leclerc having eked out a little more time in the final sector.
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen was the last of the frontrunners to set a time on mediums, lapping 0.315s off the pace and 0.343s ahead of fourth-placed Sebastian Vettel.
This was still good enough to put Vettel, who had a spin late in the session while running hard Pirellis coming through the Turn 14 right-hander, well clear of the second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas.
Bottas questioned where he had lost time over the radio, and was informed it was down to a combination of not having a Hamilton-like tow and time lost on the straights – which he was also told was down to "something else probably".
He subsequently made a small improvement to his time, but was still 0.813s off the pace.
Alex Albon completed the top six in the second Red Bull, 1.202s down and just three quarters of a tenth ahead of the man he replaced – Pierre Gasly.
Gasly declared "that’s a good lap" after he jumped up to seventh place for Toro Rosso with a time good enough to keep him well-clear of eighth-fastest Carlos Sainz Jr’s McLaren.
Racing Point driver Lance Stroll was one of the last to set a time on softs, jumping into the top 10 with a lap of 1m34.744s with 37 minutes remaining and ending up ninth.
Antonio Giovinazzi rounded out the top 10 for Alfa Romeo having been shuffled from seventh after his quick lap down to 10th place, 1.607s off the pace.
Giovinazzi survived a spin earlier in the session when the rear stepped out coming through the Turn 6 right-hander, with his initial correction firing the car in the opposite direction to the original moment.
Renault driver Daniel Ricciardo was 11th fastest despite a wide moment exiting Turn 9 on his lap, half-a-tenth quicker than the second Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat.
Nico Hulkenberg put the second Renault 13th ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris with Sergio Perez 15th.
Kimi Raikkonen was 16th fastest with a lap 2.155s off the pace, just ahead of the first driver to set a time on softs – Haas’s Kevin Magnussen.
Grosjean’s pace on the mediums before going off and bringing his afternoon to a premature end on his fourth lap was good enough to secure 18th place, with the two Williams drivers 19th and 20th.
George Russell was the quicker of the pair, lapping just over half-a-second faster than Kubica.
Practice two times
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||1m33.547s||0.315s||28|
|6||Alexander Albon||Red Bull/Honda||1m34.434s||1.202s||32|
|7||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m34.509s||1.277s||31|
|8||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren/Renault||1m34.667s||1.435s||34|
|9||Lance Stroll||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m34.744s||1.512s||29|
|10||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1m34.839s||1.607s||29|
|12||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m34.975s||1.743s||36|
|15||Sergio Perez||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m35.109s||1.877s||26|
|16||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1m35.387s||2.155s||34|
US Grand Prix F1 practice: Verstappen beats Vettel, Hamilton eighth
Max Verstappen set the fastest time in the opening Formula 1 practice session for the United States Grand Prix as Lewis Hamilton was only eighth in the lead Mercedes.
Verstappen was 0.169 seconds faster than Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in the first 90-minute session on Friday, with Alex Albon backing up his Red Bull team-mate in third.
Red Bull showed table-topping pace throughout, with Albon quickest at the halfway stage on a 1m35.282s before times tumbled as the track improved and teams switched to the soft tyre.
After dropping Pirelli’s development 2020 tyres for a set of mediums and then softs, Verstappen posted a 1m34.057s.
Vettel’s own soft-tyre run yielded a 1m34.236s, with Albon ending up on a 1m34.336s.
As neither Mercedes driver or Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari sett a representative time, Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly ended the session fourth, just under a second slower than Verstappen.
Daniel Ricciardo was fifth for Renault, a shade faster than Romain Grosjean’s Haas, with Leclerc only seventh, 1.3s off the pace.
Hamilton, who has regular race engineer Peter Bonnington back alongside him at Austin, ended up a few hundredths shy of Leclerc.
He vaulted into the top 10 with a late soft-tyre run after threatening to end the session 18th.
Lance Stroll was ninth for Racing Point, and Kevin Magnussen completed the top 10 in the second Haas.
Valtteri Bottas was down in 17th in the second Mercedes. He did complete a lengthy stint on softs but spent the rest of his session on development tyres and mediums.
Several drivers complained about bumps around the track and a jump at Turn 9, where there has been a mix of resurfacing and other parts being left alone and deteriorating.
Television replays even showed small parts being thrown off by at least one Haas over the bumps.
Carlos Sainz Jr suffered a major spin through the Esses after losing his McLaren on the bumpy entry to the corner, while many others ran wide and had lap times deleted for track limits.
Williams FP1 stand-in Nicholas Latifi stopped briefly on-track and only completed seven laps before returning to the garage.
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||1m34.057s||–||26|
|3||Alexander Albon||Red Bull/Honda||1m34.316s||0.259s||28|
|4||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m35.008s||0.951s||32|
|9||Lance Stroll||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m35.586s||1.529s||31|
|11||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m35.661s||1.604s||31|
|12||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren/Renault||1m35.723s||1.666s||26|
|13||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1m35.854s||1.797s||22|
|14||Sergio Perez||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m35.971s||1.914s||29|
|15||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1m36.037s||1.980s||26|
Hamilton recovers from lap one off to win F1 Mexico GP from Vettel
Lewis Hamilton recovered from a first-lap off to win the Mexican Grand Prix but will have to wait at least one more race to clinch the 2019 Formula 1 title.
Hamilton had a trip across the grass at the start of the race after contact with Max Verstappen and fell to fifth, but he executed a one-stop strategy brilliantly to overhaul both Ferraris and score his 10th victory of the season.
Sebastian Vettel was unable to attack Hamilton after losing track position through strategy and had to settle for second in lead Ferrari, with Valtteri Bottas third.
Poleman and early race leader Charles Leclerc fell to fourth as a two-stop strategy and a slow second stop cost him dearly.
Ferrari had control of the race in the early stages despite Leclerc being lightly nerfed by Vettel after running wide under braking for the Turn 4 left-hander and slowing right down through the tight right-hand turn that followed on the first lap.
Behind, though, Hamilton had already suffered an early setback as Verstappen challenged him on the inside into the first corner.
Hamilton had already been crowded out by Vettel on the run down to Turn 1 as they chased Leclerc of the line, a move he branded "dangerous" but one that was not investigated by the officials.
At the first corner, Hamilton ran wide and had a big snap of oversteer on the outside kerb, which lurched his car to the right and put him and Verstappen on the grass between the Turns 2 and 3 complex after they banged wheels.
The incident dropped Hamilton behind Alex Albon’s Red Bull and the McLaren of Carlos Sainz Jr, while Verstappen fell to eighth, behind Lando Norris and Bottas.
Hamilton passed Sainz into Turn 1 on lap four of 71 he then ran fourth through the rest of his opening stint, which he extended to lap 23 – eight more than race leader Leclerc and nine more than Albon, both of whom committed to a two-stop strategy.
But Vettel – who assumed the race lead when Leclerc stopped – and Bottas extended their first stints by 13 and 14 laps longer than Hamilton respectively.
Hamilton’s early stop allowed him to jump Vettel for track position, although the major tyre offset meant the five-time world champion was fearful he would not be able to defend once Vettel pitted.
But by the time Leclerc and Albon had made their second stops and left Hamilton leading the race from Vettel, Hamilton kept his pursuer more than two seconds behind for the next 20 laps.
During that time, Bottas closed right up onto Vettel’s rear, while Leclerc used his fresher tyres after his second stop to hack into the gap to the one-stopping trio ahead – although he lost around four seconds at that stop due to an issue with his right-rear wheel.
With 12 laps to go, Leclerc had almost hauled himself within DRS range of Bottas but he locked his front-left tyre into Turn 4 and ran wide, which doubled his deficit to the Finn.
Ahead, Vettel closed to within two seconds of Hamilton for the first time with eight laps remaining, but Hamilton hit back immediately and continued to keep the Ferrari out of range.
Hamilton’s win, with Bottas third, extended his championship lead by 10 points but he needed to add 14 points over Bottas to clinch his sixth title.
That means Hamilton now has a 74-point lead with 78 available in the final three races.
Behind the top four, Albon was fifth after arguably his strongest performance for Red Bull, with team-mate Verstappen fighting back to sixth after a mammoth 66-lap stint on hard tyres.
Verstappen’s race was wrecked early on when, after being forced off by Hamilton, he suffered a right-rear puncture shortly after lunging Bottas for seventh as they ran into the stadium section.
He hobbled back to the pits when it became apparent there was an issue on the next lap as the tyre stripped from the wheel rim and dropped him to last, before he gradually rose back up the order with no further pitstops and supreme tyre management.
Home favourite Sergio Perez resisted a charging Daniel Ricciardo to secure best-of-the-rest honours in seventh place.
Nico Hulkenberg was poised to finish ninth in the second Renault, but was hit into a spin by Daniil Kvyat on the final lap and rear-ended the barriers.
Kvyat claimed ninth with Toro Rosso team-mate Pierre Gasly getting ahead of Hulkenberg as well, as the Renault driver crossed the line 11th with a broken rear wing.
McLaren looked on course for another best-of-the-rest victory early-on, but Sainz faded badly after switching to hard tyres, to the point where he stopped again to switch to mediums and eventually wound up 13th.
Lando Norris retired after a forlorn attempt to continue once his race was ruined by McLaren releasing him from his pitstop with a wheel improperly attached.
Results – 71 laps
|5||Alexander Albon||Red Bull/Honda||21.399s|
|6||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||1m08.807s|
|7||Sergio Perez||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m13.819s|
|9||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||1 Lap|
|10||Nico Hulkenberg||Renault||1 Lap|
|11||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Honda||1 Lap|
|12||Lance Stroll||Racing Point/Mercedes||1 Lap|
|13||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren/Renault||1 Lap|
|14||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1 Lap|
|15||Kevin Magnussen||Haas/Ferrari||2 Laps|
|16||George Russell||Williams/Mercedes||2 Laps|
|17||Romain Grosjean||Haas/Ferrari||2 Laps|
|18||Robert Kubica||Williams/Mercedes||2 Laps|
|–||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||Retirement|
Verstappen takes surprise F1 Mexican GP pole after Bottas crashes
Max Verstappen claimed a surprise pole position for Formula 1’s 2019 Mexican Grand Prix, outpacing Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc by 0.266 seconds, as Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas crashed late in QGP Me3.
Red Bull driver Verstappen set the fastest time on the first runs in Q3, 0.114s faster than Leclerc.
He then improved to a 1m14.758s on his final attempt to consolidate pole position – although his first lap would have been good enough to secure the top spot – but he completed his lap after Bottas had a big crash at the final corner and brought out double waved yellow flags.
Leclerc held onto second place despite not improving, with his Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel also relying on his first-run time to take third on the grid after having to back off for the yellows.
Lewis Hamilton made a slender improvement on his second run to make sure of fourth place, 0.504s off the pace.
Alex Albon, in the second Red Bull, was fifth fastest and 0.580s slower than his team-mate.
This put him just 0.002s quicker than Bottas, who was on course to improve on his time when he hit the outside wall in the final left hander on his last attempt.
The rear stepped out on Bottas and sent him heavily into the wall, which he slid along before coming to rest against the leading edge of the Tecpro barrier that sits closer to the exit of the corner.
Although the medical car was deployed due to the size of impact, Bottas reported he was OK.
McLaren dominated the battle for ‘best of the rest’, with Carlos Sainz Jr outpacing Lando Norris by three-tenths to take seventh.
Daniil Kvyat and Pierre Gasly claimed ninth and 10th for Toro Rosso, separated by just over 0.1s.
The Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes drivers will all start the race using medium-compound Pirellis after using that tyre to set their Q2 times, with the rest of the top 10 set to start on softs.
Kvyat will be investigated for an unsafe release after the session, as Toro Rosso appeared to send him out of the garage when Daniel Ricciardo’s Renault was driving past in Q1.
Racing Point’s Sergio Perez ensured he was the best-placed driver with free tyre choice for the race by grabbing 11th place at the end of Q2, missing out on Q3 by just 0.008s.
That put him two-tenths ahead of the lead Renault of Nico Hulkenberg, with Ricciardo ending up just behind in 13th place.
Kimi Raikkonen won the battle of the Alfa Romeo drivers to take 14th place, outpacing Antonio Giovinazzi by three-tenths.
Lance Stroll was the quickest of those eliminated in Q1, finishing down in 16th place after only making a slender improvement on the time he set on his first run – complaining of "no grip" over the radio.
A slow run through the middle sector cost him and left him 0.271s away from Giovinazzi, the slowest of those to escape Q1.
The Haas drivers both squeezed in three runs during the session, with Kevin Magnussen ending up as the faster of the duo in 17th place, 0.163s quicker than Romain Grosjean.
Grosjean’s first attempt was ruined by the rear of his car stepping out at the entry to Turn 1, as although he caught the moment it flicked the car into a spin in the other direction as he took to the grass.
George Russell was just 0.224s off Grosjean’s pace as he took 19th place, again winning the intra-Williams battle with team-mate Robert Kubica 1.356s slower.
|4||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||-0.266|
|5||Alexander Albon||Red Bull/Honda||0.312s|
|7||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren/Renault||0.990s|
|9||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Honda||1.445s|
|10||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||1.562s|
|11||Sergio Perez||Racing Point/Mercedes||1.663s|
|14||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1.943s|
|15||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||2.245s|
|16||Lance Stroll||Racing Point/Mercedes||3.041s|
Leclerc heads Ferrari 1-2 in wet-dry Mexico F1 final free practice
Charles Leclerc emerged on top of a late shootout on a drying track to head a Ferrari 1-2 in final practice for Formula 1’s Mexican Grand Prix.
Leclerc edged team-mate Sebastian Vettel by 0.027s as Valtteri Bottas lapped just over a tenth of a second off the pace in the lead Mercedes.
The session started with a wet track after more overnight rain, and the few cars completing laps did so on intermediate tyres.
There was further disruption at Ferrari, Toro Rosso and Renault, as Vettel suffered sensor issues, Pierre Gasly sat out the start of FP3 with illness, and Renault tried to fix a hydraulic leak on Daniel Ricciardo’s car.
While Vettel and Gasly would eventually join the session, Ricciardo failed to even complete an installation lap – and his team-mate Nico Hulkenberg managed just the one – after Renault opted to park both cars because both had suffered "a pollution of one of the cooling systems, which requires careful cleaning not to damage any component".
Of those that were able to complete some running, Max Verstappen set the early pace on intermediates with a 1m26.118s, four tenths clear of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.
The bulk of the meaningful running came in the final 10 minutes after Kimi Raikkonen’s Alfa Romeo had vaulted up the order by switching to soft tyres.
Several drivers had off-track moments as they battled the low-grip conditions, but by the end of FP3 the leading times were quicker than Friday’s dry FP2.
Mercedes looked as though it would grab the top two places, but Bottas and Lewis Hamilton were shuffled back to third and fourth as the Ferraris posted their final times.
Hamilton ended up 0.236s off the pace but ahead of McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr, who was within half a second of Leclerc.
Max Verstappen was only sixth in his Red Bull with team-mate Alex Albon eighth, having taken a new chassis after his crash on Friday.
Gasly managed to overcome his illness to complete 10 laps and split the Red Bull drivers in seventh in his Toro Rosso.
Both Red Bull drivers were set to improve on their final laps but encountered traffic, with Verstappen – who set the fastest first sector of anyone at the time – bemoaning "unbelievable" driving from an Alfa Romeo and Albon getting baulked by Robert Kubica.
Lando Norris ended the session ninth in the second McLaren, with Racing Point’s home driver Sergio Perez completing the top 10.
Final free practice results
|5||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren/Renault||0.493s|
|6||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||0.758s|
|7||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||0.945s|
|8||Alexander Albon||Red Bull/Honda||0.949s|
|10||Sergio Perez||Racing Point/Mercedes||1.062s|
|11||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Honda||1.384s|
|12||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1.595s|
|13||Lance Stroll||Racing Point/Mercedes||1.721s|
|14||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1.736s|
Mexican Grand Prix practice: Vettel leads Verstappen on Friday
Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel headed the second free practice session for Formula 1’s Mexican Grand prix, outpacing Max Verstappen by 0.115 seconds.
Vettel hit the front early on while running medium-compound Pirellis, setting a best time of 1m17.960s and going 0.223s faster than team-mate Charles Leclerc.
This ensured Ferrari had the top two positions locked out when the session was red flagged after 15 minutes because Alex Albon had crashed his Red Bull.
Albon spun when he turned in for the rapid Turn 7 left-hander that begins the esses sequence and struck the wall with the car’s right-rear corner.
The right-front then took an impact as the car pivoted after the impact, with the session being stopped for 18 minutes to allow the Red Bull to be cleared.
The Ferrari drivers didn’t head out immediately after the restart, allowing Verstappen and Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton to take second and third places – both using mediums.
But Leclerc and Vettel were the first frontrunners to head out on soft Pirellis for qualifying simulation runs.
Leclerc strung together a 1m17.072s lap to take top spot, only for Vettel to eclipse him by 0.465s moments later having been faster in all three sectors of the Mexico City circuit.
This meant Leclerc’s second place was vulnerable and Verstappen later posted a 1m16.722s to secure second place and split the Ferraris.
Leclerc had a high-speed spin in the esses late in the session while running on mediums, but was able to rejoin.
Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas, who had a spin exiting the right-hander leading into the stadium section earlier in the session that was the result of a lock-up on entry, was fourth fastest.
He lapped 0.614s off the pace and was 0.349s quicker than Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, who was fifth.
Daniil Kvyat was the leading midfield runner for Toro Rosso, leaping ahead of team-mate Pierre Gasly after being among the final drivers to post a quick lap.
Gasly was rapid on the medium rubber, posting a time of 1m18.003 that at one stage had him as high as third, but slipped to seventh after failing to improve on fresh rubber.
McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr survived a trip across the grass at Turn 1 to set the eighth-fastest time, almost two tenths faster than Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg behind him.
Lando Norris rounded out the top 10 in the second McLaren, 1.742s off the pace and just 0.013s quicker than the lead Racing Point of Lance Stroll.
Sergio Perez was only 0.004s slower than his team-mate in 12th place, shading the second Renault of Daniel Ricciardo.
Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen was among the first to go out on fresh softs and at one stage broke into the top 10, only to be shuffled back to 14th and 2.074s off the pace.
He was separated from 16th-placed team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi by the lead Haas of Romain Grosjean.
Kevin Magnussen, who had an off-track moment at Turn 1 late in the session, was 17th fastest in the second Haas, 0.662s quicker than the fastest Williams of George Russell.
Robert Kubica was just over two tenths slower than his team-mate, but his time was easily quick enough to secure 19th place thanks to Albon’s early lap time on mediums putting him last.
Practice two times
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||1m16.722s||0.115s||37|
|6||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m17.747s||1.140s||40|
|7||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m18.003s||1.396s||39|
|8||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren/Renault||1m18.079s||1.472s||38|
|11||Lance Stroll||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m18.362s||1.755s||38|
|12||Sergio Perez||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m18.366s||1.759s||34|
|14||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1m18.681s||2.074s||37|
|16||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1m18.889s||2.282s||46|
|20||Alexander Albon||Red Bull/Honda||1m21.665s||5.058s||5|
Hamilton pips Leclerc to top three-way FP1 battle at F1 Mexican GP
Lewis Hamilton edged a three-team battle in opening practice at Formula 1’s Mexican Grand Prix for Mercedes, although Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was just a tenth slower despite eschewing soft tyres.
Heavy rain on Thursday evening led to a damp Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit at the start of FP1, with the initial installation laps completed on intermediate tyres for most cars.
The low-grip surface plagued several drivers early-on, but already in the first half of the 90-minute session there were hints of a close three-way fight in Mexico.
Leclerc initially set the pace on a 1m18.949s, with Hamilton and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen within a tenth of the Ferrari – although Verstappen used soft tyres to hold that position.
Alex Albon and Valtteri Bottas jumped to first and second when the second batch of soft-tyre runs started, with Albon dipping below the 1m18s barrier in his Red Bull.
Further improvements were halted for a while when Lance Stroll hit the wall in his Racing Point at the end of what would have been a personal best lap.
Stroll lost the rear of his car entering the tight right-hander before the start-finish straight at the exit of the stadium, and although he was able to get going and return to the pits the session was red-flagged so the outside barriers could be reconstructed.
Running resumed with just over 20 minutes of the session remaining, and the teams wasted little time chasing improvements.
Hamilton jumped to the top with a 1m17.327s, while Verstappen was just 0.15s off in a much fairer comparison of the two teams than was the case with the first runs.
But Leclerc remained the outlier in the session by continuing with the medium compound tyre and putting his Ferrari second-fastest on that rubber.
Verstappen made a minor improvement on a later lap but still fell 0.015s adrift of Leclerc, who in turn ended up 0.119s slower than Hamilton.
Albon and Bottas slipped to fourth and fifth respectively, although Bottas did trim a few hundredths off his personal best.
Sebastian Vettel was sixth, 0.891s slower than Hamilton but on medium tyres like Leclerc.
Vettel’s session included encountering a messy traffic jam as he prepared for a flying lap after Stroll’s red flag.
The four-time world champion decried encountering a "mess" in the final sector as Haas driver Romain Grosjean, Daniel Ricciardo’s Renault and Verstappen all navigated the stadium section ultra-slowly to maintain track position at the end of their outlaps.
Verstappen was irritated by Vettel’s behaviour as the German attempted to pass the slow-moving cars, getting ahead of the Renault but failing to pass Verstappen, who in turn was blocked by the Haas at the final corner.
"What the fuck is Sebastian doing? Everybody is waiting and he tries to go by," Verstappen reported to his team over the radio.
Carlos Sainz Jr switched from medium tyres to softs to climb to seventh in his McLaren, ahead of the impressively-placed, medium-shod Toro Rossos of Pierre Gasly and Daniil Kvyat.
Antonio Giovinazzi completed the top 10 in his Alfa Romeo.
At the back of the field, Formula 2 race winner Nicholas Latifi replaced Robert Kubica for his latest FP1 outing at Williams.
Latifi was slowest of the 20 drivers, 4.2s off the pace and finished a second behind team-mate George Russell, who ended the session in 19th.
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||0.134s||17|
|4||Alexander Albon||Red Bull/Honda||0.622s||21|
|7||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren/Renault||1.074s||21|
|8||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||1.266s||23|
|9||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Honda||1.508s||27|
|10||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1.632s||22|
|13||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1.878s||22|
|16||Lance Stroll||Racing Point/Mercedes||2.352s||21|
|17||Sergio Perez||Racing Point/Mercedes||2.390s||23|