Tue. Sep 28th, 2021

Lewis Hamilton set the quickest time of a heavily disrupted first practice at Zandvoort.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was second, 0.097 seconds behind his championship rival.

The session experienced a 33-minute delay due to the engine failure as the marshalls tried to clear away the Aston Martin, but were cautious due to concerns about the voltage of the car.

Thousands of Dutch fans poured into the circuit to witness Formula 1’s first visit to The Netherlands for 36 years but weren’t able to see much action due to the lengthy stoppage.

Before the red flag, most drivers opted for the hard tyres, but with limited time remaining after the delay, all went out on softs.

Sebastian Vettel was forced to become a fire marshal to deal with his Aston Martin that suffered a suspected power unit failure in first practice for the Dutch Grand Prix.

On F1’s return to Zandvoort after a 36-year delay, only 24 minutes of action were possible in the opening hour-long session at the circuit beside the seaside.

With just under 44 minutes remaining, Vettel brought out the red flags as his Aston Martin suffered a suspected power unit failure.

Vettel had earlier been informed of an MGU-K problem following his exploratory laps of the circuit, but after returning to the track, the AMR21 was soon forced to pull over.

With smoke starting to billow from the car, there was then the remarkable sight of Vettel claiming a fire extinguisher from a trackside marshal.

After initial teething problems in trying to operate the device, and seemingly heated discussions with the marshal concerned, Vettel finally managed to squirt foam over and inside the car.

However, there then appeared to be a further discussion as to whether he was using the correct extinguisher, as second and third systems were handed to the four-time champion.

Upon the arrival of a recovery truck a few minutes later, Vettel was still attempting to apply foam inside the car.

It then became a question of the safety of the car as no marshal was willing to touch it in order to strap it up so it could be loaded onto the truck and transported back to the garage.

It was not until a specially suited team member with a device to measure any likely electrical discharge had given the all-clear could the car finally be cleared, with the track only going green again with six minutes remaining.

As a circuit new to the calendar, with all bar home hero Verstappen not having driven the current revised configuration with its banking at turn three and the final corner, time on track was crucial to understanding the 2.6-mile, 14-turn layout.

The lost time was not what anyone would have wanted, but it was a circumstance beyond anyone’s control given the situation in front of packed grandstands, teeming with orange-clad Verstappen fans.

Once the green flag was shown, it was Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton who topped the timesheet by just 0.097s to Red Bull’s Verstappen, setting a time of one minute 11.500secs.

The duo still managed 17 laps overall, two fewer than Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz who was third quickest ahead of team-mate Charles Leclerc, with the duo 0.101s and 0.123s behind Hamilton.

The Briton’s team-mate, Valtteri Bottas, was a further tenth of a second adrift in fifth.

There was then a gap of more than four-tenths of a second to Fernando Alonso in his Alpine, with the Spanish driver ahead of team-mate Esteban Ocon.

The top 10 was completed by Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi, Lance Stroll in the second Aston Martin and AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly, the latter a second back.

Lando Norris, who was forced off track and onto the grass in the dying moments by Ocon, was 11th, 1.179s down.

Vettel only managed six laps overall and was 19th on the timesheet, ahead of Yuki Tsunoda in his AlphaTauri, who failed to set a time following an early spin and failing to return.

2021 F1 DUTCH GRAND PRIX – FREE PRACTICE RESULTS (1)

POSDRIVERNAT.TEAMTIME
1Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team1m11.500s
2Max VerstappenNEDRed Bull Racing1m11.597s
3Carlos SainzESPScuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow1m11.601s
4Charles LeclercMONScuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow1m11.623s
5Valtteri BottasFINMercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team1m11.738s
6Fernando AlonsoCHIAlpine F1 Team1m12.158s
7Esteban OconFRAAlpine F1 Team1m12.231s
8Antonio GiovinazziGBRAlfa Romeo Racing Orlen1m12.359s
9Lance StrollCANAston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team1m12.431s
10Pierre GaslyFRAScuderia AlphaTauri Honda1m12.515s
11Lando NorrisGBRMcLaren F1 Team1m12.679s
12Nicholas LatifiCANWilliams Racing1m12.907s
13Kimi RaikkonenFINAlfa Romeo Racing Orlen1m13.053s
14Daniel RicciardoAUSMcLaren F1 Team1m13.081s
15George RussellISRWilliams Racing1m13.181s
16Sergio PerezMEXRed Bull Racing1m13.328s
17Nikita MazepinRUSUralkali Haas F1 Team1m13.516s
18Mick SchumacherGERUralkali Haas F1 Team1m13.847s
19Sebastian VettelGERAston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team1m15.984s
20Yuki TsunodaJPNScuderia AlphaTauri HondaNo Time Set

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