Zandvoort, FP1: Verstappen tops FP1 ahead of Alonso and Hamilton

F1 returns to action in Zandvoort

By Franck Drui

25 August 2023 - 13:39
Zandvoort, FP1: Verstappen tops FP1 (…)

Championship leader Max Verstappen topped the opening practice session for this weekend’s 2023 FIA Formula 1 Dutch Grand Prix, beating Fernando Alonso by almost three tenths of a second as F1 returned to action at Zandvoort following its summer break. The session was interrupted by red flags, however, for a late crash involving Haas’ Nico Hülkenberg.

Verstappen, who is seeking a third straight win at his home race, was quickly into the groove at Zandvoort, topping the early running on Hard compound Pirelli tyres, setting a target time of 1:13.191.

None of the Dutchman’s rivals could match that pace and it wasn’t until the field began to switch to Soft compound tyres that Verstappen was dislodged.

Williams’ Logan Sargeant was the first to bolt on Soft tyres just before the halfway point, and his lap 1:12.814 jumped him to the top of the order. Verstappen’s Red Bull team-mate Sergio Pérez then moved ahead with a lap of 1:12.439 set on Soft tyres, and the Mexican then lowered the benchmark further with a lap of 1:12.323.

Verstappen, meanwhile, was continuing to pound around on Hard tyres, a tactic matched by Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and reserve driver Robert Shwartzman, who was standing in for Carlos Sainz. Neither Ferrari driver made a significant impact on the timesheet with Leclerc ending the session in P16 and Shwartzman in P19.

As the session moved towards its final quarter hour, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton looked on course to beat Pérez’s table-topper but he was forced to abandon the lap when Hülkenberg crashed. The German lost control in Turn 13 and slid backwards into the barriers. The red flags were shown and the session was halted for eight minutes as his car was recovered from the steep banking.

When the action resumed, Verstappen emerged on Soft tyres and he duly vaulted back to the top of the order with a lap of 1:11.852. Hamilton and Alonso then edged ahead of Pérez with their efforts on the red-walled compound.

Pérez ended the session in fourth place ahead of the impressive Alexander Albon, with McLaren’s Lando Norris in sixth place. Williams’ successful session was completed by Sargeant finishing in P7 ahead of the second McLaren of Oscar Piastri, while AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda finished in ninth place ahead of the Alpine of Esteban Ocon.

At the foot of the table, Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll failed to set a time after an engine issue early on forced him back to the pit lane.

01 Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda RBPT RB19 1:11.852 31
02 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin Mercedes AMR23 1:12.130 22
03 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W14 1:12.225 24
04 Sergio Pérez Red Bull Honda RBPT RB19 1:12.323 27
05 Alex Albon Williams Mercedes FW45 1:12.447 25
06 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes MCL60 1:12.460 22
07 Logan Sargeant Williams Mercedes FW45 1:12.617 30
08 Oscar Piastri McLaren Mercedes MCL60 1:12.658 21
09 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri Honda RBPT AT04 1:12.749 21
10 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault A523 1:12.802 29
11 George Russell Mercedes W14 1:12.813 23
12 Pierre Gasly Alpine Renault A523 1:12.895 30
13 Daniel Ricciardo AlphaTauri Honda RBPT AT04 1:12.990 26
14 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari VF-23 1:13.322 30
15 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo Ferrari C43 1:13.448 30
16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF-23 1:13.519 26
17 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo Ferrari C43 1:13.826 20
18 Nico Hülkenberg Haas Ferrari VF-23 1:14.023 13
19 Robert Shwartzman Ferrari SF-23 1:14.803 25
20 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes AMR23 -:—.--- 2


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