Jeddah, FP1: Hamilton quickest in first practice for Saudi Arabian GP
Just 0.056s ahead of Verstappen
Lewis Hamilton beat title rival Max Verstappen in the first free practice session for this weekend’s inaugural FIA Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, running just six hundredths of a second quicker than the Dutch driver. Valtteri Bottas finished third, a little over two tenths of a second adrift of Mercedes teram-mate Hamilton.
Championship-leading Red Bull driver Verstappen led the way early in the afternoon session on hard tyres, steadily working his way down to a time of 1:30.014 on the white-banded Pirelli compound.
Hamilton took longer to find a rhythm around the new 6.174 Jeddah Corniche Circuit and he used soft compound tyres to get to six tenths of a second off Verstappen’s best lap during the opening runs with Bottas also using soft tyres to take third.
The entire field moved to the red-banded softs for the second half of the hour-long session and as the tracked ‘rubbered in’ the times began to drop significantly. Both Hamilton and Bottas moving ahead of Verstappen with the Finn edging five thousandths of a second clear of the Red Bull driver with his second run on softs, and Hamilton then moving ahead of his team-mate by two tenths of a second.
The seven-time champion’s effort established the benchmark at 1:29.786 with 15 minutes left on the clock. Verstappen continued to pound out laps on the snaking, high-speed layout and in the dying moments moved ahead of Bottas and claimed P2 with a lap 1:29.842, just 0.056s off Hamilton.
AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly ended the session in fourth place, less than half a second off Hamilton, while Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi took fifth place, again with a late improvement on soft tyres.
Sixth and seventh place in the session went to Ferrari drivers Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc and Daniel Ricciardo took eighth place on the timesheet for McLaren. Fernando Alonso was ninth for Alpine with his best time being set on hard tyres during the second half of the session and the top 10 order was completed by Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel who set a time of 1:30.886, a little over a hundredth of a second in front of the second Red Bull of Sergio Pérez.
|01||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes W12||1:29.786||21|
|02||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Honda RB16B||1:29.842||23|
|03||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes W12||1:30.009||24|
|04||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri Honda AT02||1:30.263||28|
|05||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Ferrari C41||1:30.318||27|
|06||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari SF21||1:30.564||26|
|07||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari SF21||1:30.600||26|
|08||Daniel Ricciardo||McLaren Mercedes MCL35M||1:30.608||25|
|09||Fernando Alonso||Alpine Renault A521||1:30.842||27|
|10||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin Mercedes AMR21||1:30.886||25|
|11||Sergio Pérez||Red Bull Honda RB16B||1:30.960||27|
|12||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault A521||1:31.023||29|
|13||Lando Norris||McLaren Mercedes MCL35M||1:31.029||23|
|14||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Mercedes AMR21||1:31.044||25|
|15||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri Honda AT02||1:31.099||26|
|16||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Ferrari C41||1:31.296||26|
|17||George Russell||Williams Mercedes FW43B||1:31.343||28|
|18||Mick Schumacher||Haas Ferrari VF-21||1:31.525||24|
|19||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Mercedes FW43B||1:31.821||27|
|20||Nikita Mazepin||Haas Ferrari VF-21||1:33.464||23|