Photo: Red Bull Media House

F1: Verstappen and Norris fastest as Ricciardo injured in crash

The grandstands of Zandvoort were packed for an exciting day of practice, which saw the teams get back into the flow of things, after the summer break.


Practice One

One driver who can’t seem to come back from a break in one piece is Lance Stroll, who missed his media duties yesterday because of an infection, his Sunday was not much better as the Canadian didn’t even set a time in the session as his car had a possible power unit issue before finishing a flying lap.

Both of the Ferraris seemed to be struggling for pace throughout this session as the pair of Robert Shwartzman and Charles Leclerc finished the session in 16th and 19th, although both of their fastest times were on the medium tyre.

Schwartzman was replacing Carlos Sainz for the session as part of Ferrari’s requirement to run a rookie in two practice sessions this season.  The Israeli driver didn’t seem to be having the most fun out on the circuit as he reported back to the Ferrari pit wall that the back of the car felt very loose.

Nico Hulkenberg had a bad day after signing a contract extension with Haas as he carried too much speed into the second to last corner which caused the car to understeer, and as the German went to correct this, the car swapped ends sending him through the gravel with the right side of his front wing just tapping the tyre wall.

The incident spelt the end of Hulk’s session, which saw him finish 18th, as the red flags came out for eight minutes while the Marshalls craned his car away.

This session also saw other drivers go on adventures through the gravel as Fernando Alonso and Max Verstappen on separate occasions carried too much speed into turn 11, skipping 12, as they skated across the gravel on the inside.

Verstappen was fastest in this session with a time of 1m:11.852s, which was +0.278s faster than Alonso in second, and +0.373s quicker than Lewis Hamilton in third who could’ve been even closer as he was three tenths up on a lap when Hulkenberg went off.

Following them in fourth was Sergio Perez as he sat +0.471s behind the Dutchman. Impressively Williams took fifth and seventh in practice as Albon in fifth was only +0.595s off of Verstappen, with Sargent +0.765s off after breathily leading the session.

Both McLaren drivers continued their recent decent form as Lando Norris finished practice in sixth +0.608s behind the leading Redbull, with Piastri just +0.806s off.

Then the best of the rest were Yuki Tsunoda in ninth and Esteban Ocon in tenth who were both +0.897s and +0.950s off of Verstappen respectively.


Practice Two

The biggest story coming from Practice Two only came in the first few minutes of the session, as Oscar Piastri slid backwards into the outside techno wall, with Daniel Riccardo joining him in avoidance of the Mclaren, who was sitting on the line that Riccardo was taking around the corner, resulting in the Alpha Tauri driver locking and going right front tyre first into the wall.

The accident has knocked Riccardo out of this weekend’s Grand Prix as he broke a metacarpal by not moving his hands away from the steering wheel fast enough when the Australian made contact with the wall, resulting in him going to a local hospital for checkups.

Liam Lawson will now make his long-awaited debut in Formula 1. He is currently sitting in second position in Super Formula and has previously taken part in FP1 sessions for both Red Bull and AlphaTauri.

Carlos Sainz missed session one, so was still trying to remove some rust from the summer break, which saw him have a trip through the gravel twice, the first time he entered turn 11 too quickly resulting in a ride through the inside gravel trap, the second time he would have a twitch at the rear through turn 13, which saw him climb up the outside gravel hill.

Lando Norris would end the second session marginally fastest with a 1:11m.330s, only +0.023s quicker than home favourite Max Verstappen. Impressively rounding out the top three was Alex Albon, just +0.269s slower in his Williams.

Lewis Hamilton would end the session fourth, +0.308s behind Norris in a consistent day for the Mercedes driver. Yuki Tsunoda would round out the top five just +0.390s behind the seven-time World Champion.

Gasly and Perez ended the day in sixth and seventh respectively as they finished +0.436s and +0.487s behind Norris.

Then Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso would sandwich the Alfa Romeo of Valtteri Bottas as they sat eighth, ninth, and tenth with times +0.505s, +0.527s, and +0.533s from Norris.

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