Motorsport: Motor racing-Sainz leads Ferrari one-two in final Austrian practice


(Reuters) – Formula One’s latest winner Carlos Sainz led Ferrari crew mate Charles Leclerc one-two in final practice for the Austrian Grand Prix, forward of Saturday’s dash race.

The Spaniard, third on the grid for the 24-lap race behind Red Bull’s pole-sitting championship chief Max Verstappen and Leclerc, lapped the scenic Red Bull Ring in one minute 08.610 seconds.

Leclerc was 0.050 slower with Verstappen 0.168 behind.

Renault-owned Alpine’s Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon, who left the pits solely in the second half of the hour-long session, had been a powerful fourth and fifth forward of Sergio Perez in sixth.

The Mexican, Verstappen’s crew mate, will begin the dash from thirteenth place after being demoted for exceeding monitor limits in qualifying.

Mercedes had been again in motion after Lewis Hamilton and George Russell crashed in the final part of Friday’s qualifying, with the crew finishing up intensive repairs.

Russell, who emerged from the pits a bit of over 10 minutes into the session, was seventh quickest. Hamilton, who switched to a spare chassis, was on monitor with 13 minutes to go and did 14 laps with the ninth quickest time.

Russell is ready to begin the dash from fourth together with his seven-times world champion crew mate ninth.

Verstappen leads the standings by 34 factors from Perez and is 43 away from third-placed Leclerc. The Austrian Grand Prix marks the midway level of the 22-race season.

The Dutch 24-year-old, bidding to return Red Bull to the highest of the rostrum after Sainz ended their six-race profitable streak together with his first win final Sunday at Silverstone, received each races on the first dash occasion of the season in Imola.

The format made its debut final 12 months, with qualifying on Friday deciding the grid for a shorter 100km race on Saturday that additionally gives factors.

The outcomes on Saturday then set the beginning order for Sunday’s grand prix.

(Reporting by Abhishek Takle, modifying by Clare Fallon)

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