During the first practice session for the Miami Grand Prix, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc topped the timesheets as drivers received their first taste of the all-new Autodrome track.
In the first practice session for the first Miami Grand Prix, championship leader Charles Leclerc edged out Mercedes driver George Russell, with defending champion Max Verstappen finishing third.
Drivers were eager to get out on the Miami International Autodrome near Hard Rock Stadium to get a feel for the tough 5.4-kilometer track. Interestingly, Red Bull and Mercedes chose the red-walled Pirelli tyres for their first stints, while Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz both used the medium compound.
Hot temperatures welcomed the drivers for their eagerly-anticipated first circuits of the new Miami International Autodrome after an action-packed week of media activities, with Formula 1 fast extending its footprint in the United States.
Ferrari and Red Bull set the pace early on, as predicted, while Mercedes made a strong impression with their better car. The W13 has a redesigned low downforce rear wing, as well as a reworked front wing and beam wing.
Early on, the track evolved significantly, with racers keen to determine the track’s limitations. Valtteri Bottas was too eager with 25 minutes to go, hitting the barriers rear-first at Turn 7. After the Alfa Romeo sustained considerable damage to its rear end, the incident lead to a red flag.
Drivers returned to the Miami track on their second fresh set of tyres after the interruption. On the C4 compound, Leclerc posted the quickest lap time of 1m31.098s in the closing moments of the session, beating George Russell, who impressed with his team’s significantly upgraded chassis.
Verstappen was third fastest in the session, with teammate Sergio Perez fourth.
While the long straights of the Miami International Autodrome are supposed to emphasise Red Bull’s RB18’s strengths, the Milton Keynes-based team encountered major overheating issues that prevented Verstappen from staying on the circuit for more than five laps. As a result, the Dutchman could only complete 14 laps in the first session.
AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly took fifth place in the session, while Yuki Tsunoda of AlphaTauri finished 18th. Carlos Sainz set the sixth-fastest lap time on the medium compound after a puncture on his first hot lap on the softs due to a significant lock up into Turn 1.
With a 1m31.854 lap time, Williams’ driver Alexander Albon finished seventh, ahead of seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.
Haas got off to a poor start in the session, but Kevin Magnussed, the team’s returnee, picked up the pace later on and finished eighth. Mick Schumacher, his teammate, completed 20 laps in the first session and finished 19th overall.
McLaren enjoyed a solid start to the session, but the Woking-based team was unable to outperform its competitors on the second set of tyres. As a result, Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris finished 10th and 11th, respectively, about a second and a half slower than Leclerc.
With 31 laps, Fernando Alonso set the highest number of laps, but he could only manage 12th place on the scoreboard, with teammate Esteban Ocon three places behind. Sebastian Vettel of Aston Martin finished 14th, with Lance Stroll of his team coming in 16th.
MIAMI GRAND PRIX FREE PRACTICE 1 RESULTS