Miami, FP1: Leclerc tops opening practice for inaugural Miami Grand Prix
Russell 2nd, Verstappen 3rd
FIA Formula One World Championship leader Charles Leclerc set the pace in the opening practice session for the inaugural Miami Grand Prix beating Mercedes’ George Russell by seven hundredths of a second. Defending champion Max Verstappen finished third at the Miami International Autodrome ahead of Red Bull team-mate Sergio Pérez.
Ferrari driver Leclerc jumped to the top of the timesheet early in the session with a lap of 1:34.846. That put him three tenths of a second clear of the field but then Verstappen found a solid chunk of time to put seven tenths of a second between him and title rival Leclerc.
The new track began to improve rapidly as rubber went down and Leclerc’s team-mate, Carlos Sainz, took over at the top with a lap of 1:32.442 as Pérez slotted into third place. third.
However, Verstappen’s running was halted after just nine lap. The Dutch driver was called back tom the pits as he battled an overheating car.
Just before the halfway mark, the session itself was halted when Valtteri Bottas lost the rear of his Alfa Romeo between Turns 7 and 8. He slid backwards into the barriers damaging the rear wing. He would not take part in the rest of the session.
When the session resumed after an eight-minute delay Verstappen rejoined the action alongside Pérez. Sainz then had an incident in Turn 4. Running on the soft compound C4 tyres , the Spaniard lost the rear of his Ferrari and slid through the run-off area. He managed to avoid the barriers but he sustained a puncture that led to him limping slowly back to the pits.
Verstappen quickly got on the pace again and he posted a lap of 1:31.350 on soft tyres and then improved in P1 with a lap of 1:31.277.
That left him half a second clear of Williams’ Alex Albon. The Thai driver’s impressive performance was shaded in the final moments, however, as a clutch of drivers, including Leclerc, Russell and Pérez made late improvements. Albon would still finish in P7.
One of those late improvements came from AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly, who finished fifth behind Pérez and ahead of Sainz. Lewis Hamilton took his Mercedes to eighth place ahead of Haas’ Kevin Magnussen and McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo.
|01||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari F1-75||1:31.098||26|
|02||George Russell||Mercedes W13||1:31.169||23|
|03||Max Verstappen||Red Bull RBPT RB18||1:31.277||14|
|04||Sergio Perez||Red Bull RBPT RB18||1:31.301||22|
|05||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri RBPT AT03||1:31.498||27|
|06||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari F1-75||1:31.528||25|
|07||Alex Albon||Williams Mercedes FW44||1:31.854||20|
|08||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes W13||1:31.956||23|
|09||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari VF-22||1:32.559||20|
|10||Daniel Ricciardo||McLaren Mercedes MCL36||1:32.592||21|
|11||Lando Norris||McLaren Mercedes MCL36||1:32.615||26|
|12||Fernando Alonso||Alpine Renault A522||1:32.884||31|
|13||Guanyu Zhou||Alfa Romeo Ferrari C42||1:33.020||23|
|14||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin Mercedes AMR22||1:33.024||24|
|15||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault A522||1:33.417||27|
|16||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Mercedes AMR22||1:33.576||23|
|17||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo Ferrari C42||1:33.773||13|
|18||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri RBPT AT03||1:34.043||27|
|19||Mick Schumacher||Haas Ferrari VF-22||1:34.945||20|
|20||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Mercedes FW44||1:35.637||27|