Qatar, FP: Verstappen beats Ferrari duo in opening practice for Qatar Grand Prix

Alonso 4th, Perez 5th


By Franck Drui

6 October 2023 - 16:38
Qatar, FP: Verstappen beats Ferrari (...)

Max Verstappen went quickest in the sole practice session for the 2023 FIA Formula 1 Qatar Grand Prix, beating Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz by more than three tenths of a second in a session that was characterised by strong winds and low grip at Lusail circuit.

Red Bull driver Verstappen claimed top spot in the latter stages of the session, bolting on a set of Soft tyres to post a lap of 1:27.428 that put him ahead of Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso who had sat at the top of the timesheet for much of the session.

Verstappen, who can claim his third title in a row with sixth place or better in tomorrow’s Sprint, was pushed hardest by Sainz who put in a Soft-shod lap of 1:27.762s, to finish 0.334s off the Dutchman in P2, while the Ferrari driver’s team-mate, Charles Leclerc, grabbed third place with a second run on Softs after his first was compromised by a snap of oversteer early in the lap.

Alonso was therefore left with fourth place, a little under half a second off Verstappen and the top five order was rounded out by Sergio Pérez who finished 0.588 off his session-leading Red Bull team-mate.

AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda put in a good late flyer to take sixth place overall, ahead of Haas’ Nico Hülkenberg. The German ended the session 0.044s ahead of Mercedes’ George Russell, who did not put in a Soft tyre run. Instead the British driver spent his time evaluating the Hard tyres and clearing the circuit of sand in the early stages as he pounded around.

Ninth place on the timesheet went to McLaren’s Oscar Piastri with the Australian driver finishing just 0.017s ahead of team-mate Lando Norris.

01 Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda RBPT RB19 1:27.428 26
02 Carlos Sainz Ferrari SF-23 1:27.762 27
03 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF-23 1:27.909 27
04 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin Mercedes AMR23 1:27.919 28
05 Sergio Pérez Red Bull Honda RBPT RB19 1:28.016 24
06 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri Honda RBPT AT04 1:28.027 28
07 Nico Hülkenberg Haas Ferrari VF-23 1:28.171 22
08 George Russell Mercedes W14 1:28.336 28
09 Oscar Piastri McLaren Mercedes MCL60 1:28.380 20
10 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes MCL60 1:28.441 24
11 Logan Sargeant Williams Mercedes FW45 1:28.550 25
12 Alex Albon Williams Mercedes FW45 1:28.590 26
13 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W14 1:28.679 26
14 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes AMR23 1:28.690 28
15 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault A523 1:28.732 25
16 Pierre Gasly Alpine Renault A523 1:28.821 23
17 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo Ferrari C43 1:29.041 27
18 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo Ferrari C43 1:29.106 29
19 Liam Lawson AlphaTauri Honda RBPT AT04 1:29.238 29
20 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari VF-23 1:29.502 26

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