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Formula 1

Verstappen hits trouble in Mercedes-led first Dutch GP practice

by Ben Anderson
3 min read

George Russell led a Mercedes one-two in first practice for Formula 1’s Dutch Grand Prix, after Max Verstappen’s Red Bull suffered a gearbox failure early in the session.

Key moments:

> Russell heads Mercedes 1-2

> Ferraris and McLarens complete top six

> Verstappen 19th-fastest, only driver with single-digit laps

Runaway F1 championship leader Verstappen was setting the early pace on hard Pirelli tyres at Zandvoort when his Red Bull ground to a halt through Turn 2, the Gerlachbocht.

Verstappen reported over team radio that he was “in fifth or trying to shift to fifth” when the failure happened. He confirmed he still had drive but “the gearbox, the sound was terrible, I had to pull the clutch”.

The failure caused a red flag and the Red Bull did not resume running when the session restarted. Verstappen’s 1m14.714s best lap stood as the 19th-fastest time.

Max Verstappen F1 Dutch GP practice

With Verstappen sidelined, Mercedes’ Russell led the way on soft compound Pirellis, setting a 1m12.455s best that was enough to topple Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz by almost four tenths of a second.

Russell was third-fastest on his first flying lap on the soft compound Pirellis, before a second effort after a cool-down lap propelled him to the top of the times.

Lewis Hamilton then put his Mercedes between Russell and Sainz, lapping 0.240s slower than Russell but 0.150s quicker than Sainz, bumping the Ferrari down to third.

Sainz’s effort was less than a tenth quicker than the McLaren of Lando Norris, while Daniel Ricciardo backed up an impressive early showing from McLaren, on a circuit where Norris predicted the team might struggle, lapping just 0.232s off Sainz in fifth.

Ricciardo was half a tenth clear of the second Ferrari of Charles Leclerc, while Verstappen’s Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez could only manage the seventh-fastest time.

Fernando Alonso briefly topped the times on soft tyres for Alpine, before slipping back to eighth as others improved. He was over three tenths clear of team-mate Esteban Ocon, while Alex Albon’s Williams rounded out the top 10, 1.608s off the pace.

Mick Schumacher set the 11th-quickest time for Haas, after escaping sanction from F1’s stewards for being released out of the pitlane just as the red flags flew for Verstappen’s breakdown.

Lance Stroll was 12th in the best of the Aston Martins, ahead of Schumacher’s Haas team-mate Kevin Magnussen and Alpine-bound Pierre Gasly, who endured a high-speed trip through the gravel while fighting to tame his ill-handling AlphaTauri.

Schumacher, Magnussen and Ricciardo also all had brief trips through the gravel entering the Hans Ernst Bocht, while Norris had a near-miss with Sebastian Vettel’s slow-moving Aston Martin, which may yet be investigated by the stewards.

A few drivers complained about encountering slow-moving cars on a twisty track where traffic is always an issue.

Practice 1 Results

Pos Name Car Best Time Gap Leader
1 George Russell Mercedes 1m12.455s
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m12.695s +0.24s
3 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1m12.845s +0.39s
4 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes 1m12.929s +0.474s
5 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren-Mercedes 1m13.077s +0.622s
6 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1m13.127s +0.672s
7 Sergio Pérez Red Bull 1m13.416s +0.961s
8 Fernando Alonso Alpine-Renault 1m13.633s +1.178s
9 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault 1m13.963s +1.508s
10 Alex Albon Williams-Mercedes 1m14.063s +1.608s
11 Mick Schumacher Haas-Ferrari 1m14.163s +1.708s
12 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes 1m14.257s +1.802s
13 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1m14.405s +1.95s
14 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Red Bull 1m14.474s +2.019s
15 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin-Mercedes 1m14.5s +2.045s
16 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m14.534s +2.079s
17 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Red Bull 1m14.63s +2.175s
18 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m14.695s +2.24s
19 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1m14.714s +2.259s
20 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 1m15.122s +2.667s
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