FP1: Russell heads Mercedes 1-2 in opening practice session of the Miami Grand Prix
George Russell left it late to top the timesheets of the opening practice session at this weekend’s Miami Grand Prix, with the Mercedes driver leading the way ahead of team mate Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc.
Under the sweltering Miami heat that saw track temperatures reach as high as 51C, the drivers filed out on to the Miami International Autodrome as they looked to get to grips with the resurfaced circuit.
And, as he so often does, Max Verstappen – driving the new fan-designed livery of the RB19 – made a fast start to the weekend, setting the early pace on the hard tyre, ahead of Leclerc and Hamilton.
However, while Hamilton was turning in the laps, Russell returned to the pit lane after complaining of vibrations on his steering wheel, with his Mercedes mechanics forced to change the steering rack on his W14.
Following the early runs on the hard and medium tyres, the drivers switched to the softer rubber, with Verstappen going quickest with a time of 1m 31.054s, just before a red flag was waved after Nico Hulkenberg, who was at the time second fastest, crashed into the barrier at Turn 3.
FORMULA 1 CRYPTO.COM MIAMI GRAND PRIX 2023
United States 2023
Practice 1 results
|1 George Russell RUS Mercedes||1:30.125|
|2 Lewis Hamilton HAM Mercedes||+0.212s|
|3 Charles Leclerc LEC Ferrari||+0.324s|
|4 Max Verstappen VER Red Bull Racing||+0.424s|
|5 Carlos Sainz SAI Ferrari||+0.599s|
With the Haas VF-23 cleared from the track, the session was resumed with the Mercedes pair leaving it late to set the times on the soft tyre, with Russell crossing the line to set a time of 1m 30.125s, eclipsing the time briefly set by Hamilton, by 0.212s.
Leclerc was third quickest offering an early glimpse of the pace brought by the upgraded floor on the Ferrari, with team mate Carlos Sainz down in fifth, as the pair sandwiched championship leader Verstappen in fourth.
Pierre Gasly was sixth quickest for Alpine, ahead of the Aston Martin duo of Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll in seventh and eighth, respectively.
Hulkenberg’s time was good enough for him to end the session in ninth, ahead of the other Alpine of Esteban Ocon, who rounded out the top-10.
Following his win last weekend in Baku, Sergio Perez was 11th fastest, ahead of McLaren’s Oscar Piastri in 12th and the other Haas of Kevin Magnussen in 13th.
Valtteri Bottas was the lead Alfa Romeo in 14th, ahead of the Williams of Alex Albon and Lando Norris in the McLaren.
Zhou Guanyu was 17th fastest, ahead of the AlphaTauri of Yuki Tsunoda in 18th, with Florida native Logan Sargeant down in 19th for Williams, while Nyck de Vries was down at the bottom of the field.
Join us again at 17:30 local time for the second practice session at the Miami International Autodrome.