until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula 1

Everything that happened in opening F1 Dutch GP practice

by Ben Anderson
3 min read

Max Verstappen set the fastest time in first practice for the 2023 Dutch Grand Prix, ahead of Fernando Alonso’s Aston Martin – as both Williams drivers made the top 10 and neither Ferrari made the top 15.

FP1 Key moments

  • Verstappen fastest from Alonso
  • Engine problems for Stroll
  • Hulkenberg causes red flag

The key laps on the soft C3 tyres came during the final 10 minutes of the hour-long session, after a brief red flag period following a crash for Nico Hulkenberg’s Haas.

Hulkenberg lost control through the high-speed penultimate corner and spun off through the gravel, grazing the right-hand-side endplate of the new Haas front wing against the barrier.

After a short delay to recover the Haas, championship leader Verstappen took a set of the softest compound Pirellis on his Red Bull and reclaimed his customary spot at the top of the timesheet.

The only major potential drama of Verstappen’s session proved to be a small trip through the gravel at the end of the session while pushing into the Turn 11 right-hander.

Verstappen was the only driver to lap below the 1m12s, his 1m11.852 putting him almost three tenths clear of Alonso’s Aston Martin, which features a heavily revised new floor this weekend.

Alonso’s single run on the soft tyre was enough to dislodge Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes from second spot by just under a tenth of a second.

Hamilton was on a quick lap when his soft tyres were at their freshest but had to abort when Hulkenberg crashed. Hamilton also had to scrap another quick lap when he almost repeated Hulkenberg’s crash at the penultimate corner.

Sergio Perez was fourth quickest in the second Red Bull, though he set his best lap on softs before the red flags, when the track was not at its best.

Both Williams drivers lapped inside the top seven, with Alex Albon fifth and Logan Sargeant seventh – both also setting their best times before the red flags.

They looked relatively competitive in the early part of the session too, when everyone focused on the hard and medium compound tyres.

During this phase of running, Verstappen was almost half a second clear of the Mercedes drivers, and three quarters of a second ahead of his Red Bull team-mate Perez.

The McLarens of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri both lapped inside the top eight, with Norris ahead as the team evaluated a revised rear wing design for Zandvoort.

Norris spent the first 35 minutes of the session in and out of the pits without setting a time, collecting aerodynamic data for the team – but later was able to lap to the same tenth as Albon and within a tenth and a half of Perez.

Yuki Tsunoda and Esteban Ocon rounded out the top 10, ahead of George Russell’s Mercedes – which was heavily compromised by traffic at the end of his fastest lap on softs.

Charles Leclerc was only 16th quickest in the best of the Ferraris, after a difficult session that reportedly required a lot of substantial setup work in the garage.

Leclerc was 1.6s off the pace but didn’t run the soft tyre. Neither did Valtteri Bottas, whose Alfa Romeo was almost a tenth quicker than the Ferrari on the medium compound.

Hulkenberg languished in 18th after his crash, ahead of the second Ferrari of Robert Shwartzman, who was subbing for Carlos Sainz so Ferrari could fulfil F1’s rookie practice running rules.

Lance Stroll propped up the timesheet without setting a competitive lap time. His Aston Martin only completed two laps in FP1 after developing what the team confirmed was an engine problem that required investigation in the garage.

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