FP1: Russell heads dominant Mercedes one-two in Miami
Following a difficult weekend in Baku two weeks ago, Mercedes bounced back to lead the opening practice session in Miami with George Russell pipping his teammate Lewis Hamilton.
While reigning world champion Max Verstappen led the majority of the opening session, Mercedes ended the 60-minute practice on top thanks to a late effort of George Russell, who led the the way ahead of team mate Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc.
The drivers needed to get used to the sweltering Miami heat that saw track temperatures reach as high as 51C. The initial part of the session saw Verstappen dictate the pace with Leclerc appearing his closest challenger once again, although in a remarkable distance.
However, the Mercedes duo left it late to complete their soft tyre runs, with Russell jumping to the top of the timesheets with just seconds left on the clock, finishing 0.212s ahead of seven-time world champion Hamilton. Russell completed only 19 laps, losing the first phase of the session as his team was forced to carry out a complete steering rack change.
After his double pole position in Azerbaijan just a few days ago, Leclerc had a promising session, ending up third fastest behind the Mercedes duo. Verstappen set the fourth fastest time, although he went out on his soft compound much earlier than his rivals with the track going through a significant improvement after his run.
Carlos Sainz put his Ferrari fifth ahead of Alpine’s Pierre Gasly, and the Aston Martin pair of Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll.
The session was red-flagged when Nico Hulkenberg crashed into the barrier at Turn 3. Despite the incident, the German driver’s impressive early soft tyre run was quick enough to put him ninth, ahead of Alpine’s Esteban Ocon.
Hulkenberg's first trip to Miami ended in the wall 😣#MiamiGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/lnSYnGsmdc— Formula 1 (@F1) May 5, 2023
Red Bull’s Mexican driver Sergio Perez took 11th, but he was on a similar programme to his teammate, rolling out on the resurfaced Miami International Autodrome earlier than his rivals.
McLaren debuted a new upgrade package in Baku which delivered a significant step in performance in qualifying trim, although the team is still seeking for improvement in race pace. In the opening Miami session, Oscar Piastri was the fastest McLaren driver following his health problems a week ago. The Australian took 12th with his teammate Lando Norris ending up 16th fastest.
Alfa Romeo endured another difficult session with Valtteri Bottas taking 14th while his Chinese teammate Zhou Guanyu finished only 17th fastest.
After finishing in the top ten in Baku, AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda set the 18th quickest lap time, with Florida native Logan Sargeant down in 19th for Williams, while Nyck de Vries was down at the bottom of the field.
|4||1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Honda Rbpt||1:30.549||+0.424s||22|
|6||10||Pierre Gasly||Alpine Renault||1:31.104||+0.979s||20|
|7||14||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||1:31.231||+1.106s||24|
|8||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||1:31.337||+1.212s||24|
|9||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Haas Ferrari||1:31.392||+1.267s||14|
|10||31||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault||1:31.542||+1.417s||27|
|11||11||Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing Honda Rbpt||1:31.566||+1.441s||22|
|12||81||Oscar Piastri||Mclaren Mercedes||1:31.810||+1.685s||24|
|13||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||1:31.853||+1.728s||25|
|14||77||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:31.902||+1.777s||24|
|15||23||Alexander Albon||Williams Mercedes||1:31.903||+1.778s||25|
|16||4||Lando Norris||Mclaren Mercedes||1:31.997||+1.872s||23|
|17||24||Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:32.134||+2.009s||22|
|18||22||Yuki Tsunoda||Alphatauri Honda Rbpt||1:32.169||+2.044s||28|
|19||2||Logan Sargeant||Williams Mercedes||1:32.619||+2.494s||27|
|20||21||Nyck De Vries||Alphatauri Honda Rbpt||1:34.637||+4.512s||10|