Photo: Red Bull Media House

F1: Verstappen top as testing gets underway

Max Verstappen topped the leaderboard at the end of Formula One’s first test session of the new season by over a second ahead of Lando Norris in second.

The three-time World Champion was one of only two drivers to take to the track in both the morning and afternoon session with the Red Bull driver being joined by Mercedes’ George Russell.


Verstappen topped the morning session, ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso. They would be the only two drivers inside of a second of Verstappen’s time, with Oscar Piastri (McLaren) and Yuki Tsunoda (Visa Cash App RB) rounding out the top five.

The other drivers that took to the track in the morning session were Esteban Ocon (Alpine), Alex Albon (Williams), Valtteri Bottas (Stake) and Kevin Magnussen (Haas).

It would be the Mercedes of George Russell that took to the track first, sitting at the end of the pitlane for around three minutes before the light went green.

All ten teams took to the track within the opening 40 minutes, but Williams (Albon) and Piastri (McLaren) were yet to set a lap time despite going around the circuit 11 and five times respectively.

As the morning session headed towards its conclusion, there was trouble for Alex Albon after his Williams stopped after going slow down the pit straight. This wasn’t enough to bring out a red flag and the session continued as normal as he had parked the car well enough away from the racing line in an access road.


At 12pm GMT the afternoon session began, with Verstappen and Russell staying in their car and being joined by Carlos Sainz (Ferrari), Lando Norris (McLaren), Pierre Gasly (Alpine), Lance Stroll (Aston Martin), Daniel Ricciardo (Visa Cash App RB), Logan Sargeant (Williams), Zhou Guanyu (Stake) and Nico Hulkenberg (Haas).

However, it did take some time for Logan Sargeant to finally take to the circuit after the issue that Albon suffered towards the end of the morning session. It wouldn’t be until nearly an hour and a half after the session began that we would see the American driver out on track.

This early run proved just how challenging a day it had been for Williams as he spun at turn nine, initially getting struck in the gravel before being able to continue. He would then pull up coming out of turn eight after he had trouble shifting the gears of his car.

While Verstappen would eventually come out victorious with the fastest time of the day, Lando Norris went to the top of the leaderboard and eclipsed the time set by the Red Bull driver before he was able to strike back.

With the session being relatively incident-free, the left wing mirror of Lance Stroll’s car came off and was collected by Kevin Magnussen, smashing it into hundreds of tiny pieces.

Carlos Sainz took third place, with Daniel Ricciardo and Pierre Gasly rounding out the top five.


Testing continues on Thursday with the morning session beginning at 7am UK time.


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