FP1: Russell heads dominant Mercedes one-two in Miami

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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.

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.


163George RussellMercedes1:30.12518
244Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:30.337+0.212s24
316Charles LeclercFerrari1:30.449+0.324s23
41Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda Rbpt1:30.549+0.424s22
555Carlos SainzFerrari1:30.724+0.599s23
610Pierre GaslyAlpine Renault1:31.104+0.979s20
714Fernando AlonsoAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:31.231+1.106s24
818Lance StrollAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:31.337+1.212s24
927Nico HulkenbergHaas Ferrari1:31.392+1.267s14
1031Esteban OconAlpine Renault1:31.542+1.417s27
1111Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Honda Rbpt1:31.566+1.441s22
1281Oscar PiastriMclaren Mercedes1:31.810+1.685s24
1320Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1:31.853+1.728s25
1477Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:31.902+1.777s24
1523Alexander AlbonWilliams Mercedes1:31.903+1.778s25
164Lando NorrisMclaren Mercedes1:31.997+1.872s23
1724Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:32.134+2.009s22
1822Yuki TsunodaAlphatauri Honda Rbpt1:32.169+2.044s28
192Logan SargeantWilliams Mercedes1:32.619+2.494s27
2021Nyck De VriesAlphatauri Honda Rbpt1:34.637+4.512s10