Max Verstappen fastest by 0.255s from Charles Leclerc with George Russell 0.4s off in third for Mercedes; McLaren have nightmare session with reliability issues; Qualifying takes place at 4pm on Friday, with Sky Sports F1 build-up from 3.30pm

Last Updated: 08/07/22 3:22pm

Max Verstappen is the quickest on track as he takes the fastest lap in first practice of the Austrian GP.

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Max Verstappen is the quickest on track as he takes the fastest lap in first practice of the Austrian GP.

Max Verstappen is the quickest on track as he takes the fastest lap in first practice of the Austrian GP.

Max Verstappen hit the ground running on a bumper Austrian GP weekend by storming clear in first practice ahead of Charles Leclerc, with Ferrari and Mercedes struggling to keep up ahead of Friday’s qualifying.

Verstappen, in the only hour of practice before qualifying on a Sprint weekend, was quicker than his rivals from his first lap in anger to his last at Red Bull’s home track in Spielberg – and his 1:06.302 was 0.255s quicker than the Ferrari of Leclerc, who found pace towards the end of the session.

George Russell was 0.4s off in the fastest Mercedes in third, ahead of Sergio Perez and team-mate Lewis Hamilton.

The return of the Sprint has shaken up the weekend, with qualifying moved to Friday at 4pm and setting the grid for the shorter race on Saturday, which in turn dictates the starting order for Sunday’s Grand Prix.

All sessions are live on Sky Sports F1.

Despite going fastest in first practice for the Austrian Grand Prix, Max Verstappen endured some frustrating moments caused by traffic.

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Despite going fastest in first practice for the Austrian Grand Prix, Max Verstappen endured some frustrating moments caused by traffic.

Despite going fastest in first practice for the Austrian Grand Prix, Max Verstappen endured some frustrating moments caused by traffic.

Title leader Verstappen, who was only seventh at the British GP after suffering car damage from debris, already appears the man to beat in a Red Bull that features small aerodynamic and cooling updates.

Kevin Magnussen finished sixth in P1 for Haas ahead of Silverstone winner Carlos Sainz and Spanish compatriot Fernando Alonso.

Missing from the top-10 completely were McLaren, who had a dreadful start to their weekend.

After seeing smoke coming from under his seat, Lando Norris pulls his McLaren to the side of the track, bringing out a red flag during Practice 1 at the Austrian GP.

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After seeing smoke coming from under his seat, Lando Norris pulls his McLaren to the side of the track, bringing out a red flag during Practice 1 at the Austrian GP.

After seeing smoke coming from under his seat, Lando Norris pulls his McLaren to the side of the track, bringing out a red flag during Practice 1 at the Austrian GP.

Lando Norris pulled up with a reliability issue – claiming his car was “on fire” – and didn’t return to the track, while team-mate Daniel Ricciardo was struggling with his rear wing and finished only 17th.

Norris’ stoppage led to one of two red flags, the other coming after a piece of debris flew onto the racing line.

In other Friday news in Austria, Valtteri Bottas took several new engine components for first practice and will therefore start at the back of the grid in Sunday’s Austrian GP.

Sky Sports F1’s live Austrian GP schedule

Friday

1.55pm: F3 Qualifying

2.50pm: F2 Qualifying

3.30pm: Austrian GP Qualifying Build-up

4pm: Austrian GP Qualifying

5.45pm: Ted’s Qualifying Notebook

Saturday

9.30am: F3 Sprint

11am: Austrian GP Practice Two (session begins 11.30am)

2.30pm: Austrian GP Sprint Build-up

3.30pm: Austrian GP Sprint

4.50pm: F2 Sprint

Sunday

7.30am: F3 Feature Race

9am: F2 Feature Race

12.30am: Grand Prix Sunday: Austrian GP Build-up

2pm: The Austrian Grand Prix

4pm: Chequered Flag: Austrian GP Reaction

5pm: Ted’s Notebook

F1 2022 heads to Austria this weekend, and the Sprint is back! Join Sky Sports F1 for extensive coverage, with the Sprint starting at 3.30pm on Saturday and the race at 2pm on Sunday.