Max Verstappen suffers Austrian GP nightmare as red flag brought out after engine fault | F1 | Sport

Max Verstappen brought out the first red flag of the Austrian Grand Prix weekend on Friday, stopping on track on the start-finish straight after suffering an engine fault.

The Dutchman learned heading into the weekend that he had lost the Honda power unit that failed in Montreal, and this was another unwanted fault for Verstappen, interrupting the only practice session of the event.

With 27 minutes remaining on the clock, the No.1 Red Bull car stopped on track. “What does it say?” Verstappen asked on the radio. “Engine fault?” The red flag was subsequently waved, and his car was recovered to the pit lane through a gap in the wall.

The red flag period was a short one with the green flag waving just three minutes later, and remarkably, Red Bull discovered a quick fix, sending Verstappen back out onto the track when the session resumed.

Offering his insight, Sky Sports F1 analyst and former Super Aguri driver Anthony Davidson said: “It did coincide with a switch change, but I think it might be a coincidence.

“He’s still able to downshift through the gears, so he’s still got hydraulics there, but it’s really struggling. It’s basically not able to idle at all once he’s into neutral.”

When the session came to an end, there was some relief for the 26-year-old. He finished FP1 without any further engine complaints and even punched in the fastest time.

However, Verstappen won’t be the favourite heading into the sprint shootout.

Lando Norris was a tenth of a second up on the Red Bull driver before running into the gravel on his final flying lap, and Mercedes demonstrated strong pace without strapping on the soft compound tyres.

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