FP1: Verstappen sets benchmark in opening practice in Jeddah

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Saudi Arabia, Jeddah Street Circuitsa

Reigning world champion Max Verstappen topped the opening practice at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, beating Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso and his team-mate Sergio Perez on the Jeddah Corniche Circuit. F1Technical's senior writer Balázs Szabó reports on Free Practice 1.

The race weekend in Jeddah has already started, a day earlier than usual to ensure the race weekend is over before the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.The session was held in daylight, while qualifying and the race will take place after sunset, meaning that the opening running was less representative for the remainder of the weekend.

While Mercedes driver George Russell dominated the opening phases of Free Practice 1 in Jeddah on Pirelli’s Hard compound, reigning champion Max Verstappen bounced back on the red-walled soft tyres. However, it was not a straightforward affair as Russell led the early part of the soft-tyre running until Verstappen took over the lead with a second push lap on the C4 compound.

Fernando Alonso put his Aston Martin into P2 with a late qualifying simulation lap on the softs to beat Sergio Perez and Russell.

Ferrari had a though start to the session with both drivers experimenting with the rear wing configurations across the entire session. Moreover, Carlos Sainz made it to the Jeddah Corniche Circuit just in time due to illness. Their best effort saw Charles Leclerc and Sainz take P5 and P6, four and five tenths of a second adrift of Verstappen.

Mercedes’ seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton complained about bouncing of his W15, and ended up eighth quickest behind Lando Norris.

While most of the drivers used Pirelli’s soft compound in the opening one-hour session, the two Haas and Visa Cash App RB drivers restricted their running to the harder compounds. Daniel Ricciardo was the fastest of the four drivers, having set the 12th quickest lap. His team-mate Yuki Tsunoda took 16th while Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen ended up slowest on the timesheets.


11Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda Rbpt1:29.65924
214Fernando AlonsoAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:29.845+0.186s24
311Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Honda Rbpt1:29.868+0.209s23
463George RussellMercedes1:29.939+0.280s23
516Charles LeclercFerrari1:30.030+0.371s24
655Carlos SainzFerrari1:30.164+0.505s24
74Lando NorrisMclaren Mercedes1:30.231+0.572s26
844Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:30.236+0.577s21
918Lance StrollAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:30.580+0.921s18
1023Alexander AlbonWilliams Mercedes1:30.747+1.088s26
1177Valtteri BottasKick Sauber Ferrari1:30.783+1.124s26
123Daniel RicciardoRb Honda Rbpt1:30.917+1.258s25
1331Esteban OconAlpine Renault1:30.945+1.286s27
142Logan SargeantWilliams Mercedes1:30.966+1.307s27
1581Oscar PiastriMclaren Mercedes1:30.977+1.318s22
1622Yuki TsunodaRb Honda Rbpt1:31.036+1.377s25
1710Pierre GaslyAlpine Renault1:31.046+1.387s25
1824Zhou GuanyuKick Sauber Ferrari1:31.131+1.472s24
1927Nico HulkenbergHaas Ferrari1:31.411+1.752s19
2020Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1:31.577+1.918s18