Max Verstappen has topped the timesheets in the opening practice session of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, just under half a second faster than his Red Bull team-mate, Sergio Perez.
It was a Mercedes 3-4-5-6, but with the Aston Martin team claiming third and fourth, Fernando Alonso, ahead of Lance Stroll. George Russell also went faster than Lewis Hamilton as the Silver Arrows continued to struggle for outright pace.
Carlos Sainz was the faster of the two Ferraris, going seventh fastest, with team-mate Charles Leclerc down in 11th place.
Pierre Gasly, Alexander Albon and Yuki Tsunoda rounded out the top ten.
There was an immediate rush out of the garages for this season’s rookies, looking to gain experience with the Jeddah Corniche Circuit. Oscar Piastri is a race winner on this circuit in F2, while Sargeant also has memories of racing on this circuit last season. However, Nyck de Vries never completed a lap of the course until this session.
Fernando Alonso lit up the timing screens during the session to go to the top, but the pace of the Red Bull cars was eventually too much for the surprise team of the season so far.
Verstappen joined the session with around 20 minutes to go, suffering from a stomach bug during the week that might impact his performance this weekend.
Drivers were struggling for grip around the circuit with both Perez and Lewis Hamilton commenting on their struggles over the team radio.
Here is how the top ten finished in the first practice session of the season: