Max Verstappen tops opening practice of Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

Max Verstappen tops opening practice of Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

Max Verstappen led the way in the opening practice session of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix weekend in Jeddah.

Reigning triple world champion Max Verstappen outpaced Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso and teammate Sergio Perez to come out on top in the first practice of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Jeddah’s racing weekend began one day earlier than usual to guarantee that the event concludes before the commencement of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

This meant that the first running was not identical to that of the rest of the weekend as the qualifying and race would take place after dark, while the session was held during the day.

Mercedes driver George Russell dominated the first few laps of Free Practice 1 in Jeddah on Pirelli’s Hard compound but defending champion Max Verstappen grabbed the lead on the red-walled soft tyres.

It was not an easy task, though, as Russell dominated the early stages of the session on the soft-tyre until Verstappen took the lead with a second push lap on the C4 compound. Eventually, Fernando Alonso moved his Aston Martin into P2, edging Russell and Sergio Perez following a late qualifying simulation run on the softs.

Ferrari got off to a challenging start, with both drivers experimenting with different rear-wing configurations during the session. Additionally, Carlos Sainz arrived at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit precisely on time owing to his illness. At their best, Charles Leclerc and Sainz finished P5 and P6, respectively, four and five-tenths of a second behind Verstappen.

Mclaren’s Lando Norris came in seventh while seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton lamented the bouncing of his Mercedes W15 and finished eighth fastest.

The first hour of running saw no yellow flag incidents. However, Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll damaged the rear left of his car after he made contact with the wall at the apex of the 200 kph left-hander of turn 22. Luckily for Stroll, some fast repairs in the garage allowed him to rejoin the action and finished ninth.

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The majority of drivers worked with Pirelli’s soft compound apart from the Haas and Visa Cash App RB drivers who limited their running to the harder compounds.

Daniel Ricciardo was the fastest of the four drivers with the 12th fastest lap while teammate Yuki Tsunoda finished in 16th place. Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg recorded the slowest times in 19th and 20th respectively and also covered the fewest laps of the 10 teams.

2024 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix first practice result

P.#DriverTeamModelTimeGapLaps
11Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda RBPTRB201’29.65924
214Fernando AlonsoAston Martin-MercedesAMR241’29.8450.18624
311Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda RBPTRB201’29.8680.20923
463George RussellMercedesW151’29.9390.28023
516Charles LeclercFerrariSF-241’30.0300.37124
655Carlos Sainz JnrFerrariSF-241’30.1640.50524
74Lando NorrisMcLaren-MercedesMCL381’30.2310.57226
844Lewis HamiltonMercedesW151’30.2360.57721
918Lance StrollAston Martin-MercedesAMR241’30.5800.92118
1023Alexander AlbonWilliams-MercedesFW461’30.7471.08826
1177Valtteri BottasSauber-FerrariC441’30.7831.12426
123Daniel RicciardoRB-Honda RBPT011’30.9171.25825
1331Esteban OconAlpine-RenaultA5241’30.9451.28627
142Logan SargeantWilliams-MercedesFW461’30.9661.30727
1581Oscar PiastriMcLaren-MercedesMCL381’30.9771.31822
1622Yuki TsunodaRB-Honda RBPT011’31.0361.37725
1710Pierre GaslyAlpine-RenaultA5241’31.0461.38725
1824Zhou GuanyuSauber-FerrariC441’31.1311.47224
1927Nico HulkenbergHaas-FerrariVF-241’31.4111.75218
2020Kevin MagnussenHaas-FerrariVF-241’31.5771.91816

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