FP1: Verstappen tops Gasly as drivers discover Qatar circuit

By on
F1 Grand Prix, GP Qatar, Losail International Circuitqa

The first ever Qatar Grand Prix weekend got underway with Championship leader Max Verstappen going fastest in the first practice session at Losail International Circuit. Pierre Gasly ended up second and ahead of both Mercedes.

With Verstappen fastest amidst off-track excursions for many drivers, AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly was an impressive second fastest, little more than 4 tenths of a second slower than the Red Bull Racing driver.

Valtteri Bottas was third fastest for Mercedes. The Finn came very close to Gasly's best lap and was 3 tenths up on his teammate Lewis Hamilton. The latter complained of being underpowered throughout the session and eventually briefly ended up in the pitlane 10 minutes from the end with a "probable car issue", though he quickly rejoined later on. Of course, none of the cars were using full power in first practice, and it is also unclear which of their three available engines they are running.

To underline AlpaTauri's pace, Yuki Tsunoda was 5th fastest, topping the Ferrari pairing of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc in P6 and P7. The second Red Bull of Sergio Perez had to be content with 8th, ahead of Alpine's Esteban Ocon.

In the middle of the pack were the McLarens of Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo. It is thought the Losail track should suit the MCL35M due to its high speed corners, but it has not emerged as such yet. Norris overcame a power loss mid-session but apart from that seemed to a fairly trouble free session.

Further back is Sebastian Vettel in 12th, followed by a surprise outing for Nicholas Latifi in 13th. Giovinazzi and Raikkonen followed up for Alfa Romeo in 14th and 15th as Russell sandwiched the Alfas in 16th position.

As Alonso had a low-key session to end up 17th, it was worse even for Lance Stroll as he was limited to just 11 laps. First he was delayed with an apparent brake-by-wire issue while the team later on communicated the Canadian's session had come to an early end due to a hydraulic problem.


133Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda1:23.72322
210Pierre GaslyAlphatauri Honda1:24.160+0.437s28
377Valtteri BottasMercedes1:24.194+0.471s24
444Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:24.509+0.786s21
522Yuki TsunodaAlphatauri Honda1:24.648+0.925s27
655Carlos SainzFerrari1:24.713+0.990s26
716Charles LeclercFerrari1:24.790+1.067s27
811Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Honda1:24.915+1.192s22
931Esteban OconAlpine Renault1:24.972+1.249s23
104Lando NorrisMclaren Mercedes1:25.215+1.492s19
113Daniel RicciardoMclaren Mercedes1:25.291+1.568s24
125Sebastian VettelAston Martin Mercedes1:25.328+1.605s19
136Nicholas LatifiWilliams Mercedes1:25.688+1.965s24
1499Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:25.757+2.034s23
157Kimi RäikkönenAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:25.828+2.105s25
1663George RussellWilliams Mercedes1:25.871+2.148s24
1714Fernando AlonsoAlpine Renault1:25.905+2.182s21
1847Mick SchumacherHaas Ferrari1:26.699+2.976s21
1918Lance StrollAston Martin Mercedes1:26.712+2.989s11
209Nikita MazepinHaas Ferrari1:27.500+3.777s16