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Verstappen Dominates Miami FP1

Verstappen Dominates Miami FP1, Leclerc Sidelined

03/05/2024

In Miami’s FP1, Verstappen led the field while a mishap kept Leclerc from participating, setting a tense prelude to the Sprint weekend.

The Miami Grand Prix kicked off with the weekend’s sole free practice session, given the Sprint F1 format. This crucial session was essential for preparing for tonight’s Shootout and tomorrow’s Sprint, before a relaxation of the Parc Fermé regulations occurring between the Sprint and the race qualifications on Saturday.

Several teams introduced upgrades, but it was McLaren F1 that brought the most extensive package. The Woking-based team introduced a new front wing, new front suspension, new brake ducts, a new floor, new sidepods, a new engine cover, new rear suspension, and a new beam wing.

Red Bull brought a revised floor edge, Mercedes introduced a new front wing and front suspension, as well as a new floor. Aston Martin featured a new front and rear wing and a new engine cover. RB F1 unveiled a new floor and a new diffuser. Stake F1 came with new front and rear wings, and Haas introduced a new diffuser.

On the track, McLaren drivers reported heavy steering. For Lando Norris, the issue was more severe than for Oscar Piastri, as turning right was more difficult than turning left.

In the early minutes, Charles Leclerc spun out after the chicane, right at the start of the long back straight. Stuck sideways, the Monegasque had to retire after a slow lap, and the red flag was deployed for nearly 10 minutes. His Ferrari suffered from a clutch overheating that prevented engaging reverse gear.

After the restart, Max Verstappen made a mistake and it was Sergio Pérez who set the fastest time on medium tires, clocking in at 1’29″632. The Mercedes drivers followed, with George Russell and then Lewis Hamilton, and Carlos Sainz slotted in between on hard tires.

Hamilton improved to come within 0.127 seconds of Pérez. Behind him, Esteban Ocon clocked the fifth-fastest time on hard tires, followed by Piastri and Alonso, then Yuki Tsunoda in the RB F1 with its special livery.

Sainz then took the lead with a time of 1’29″331 on hard tires, three-tenths ahead of Pérez. Verstappen locked his front wheels on a fast lap and complained about issues with the front axle. Guanyu Zhou placed less than a second behind Sainz.

McLaren disclosed that Norris’s problems stemmed from the power steering and were unrelated to the upgrades. Piastri, meanwhile, moved up to third on hard tires, with Norris sixth.

Norris then improved and moved into second place, and Valtteri Bottas came back to seventh, just ahead of his Stake F1 teammate, Zhou. Notably, the Finn was the first to set a time on soft tires.

Alex Albon made several mistakes, with rear wheel locking causing a significant snap of the car in the first sector. Verstappen emerged from the pits, this time on soft tires, but made a mistake in the long marina turn.

Pierre Gasly posted the best time on soft tires at 1’29″175, and Albon moved up to fourth with the same tires. Sainz then took the lead on soft tires, posting a time of 1’28″979, quickly surpassed by Russell at 1’28″910.

Verstappen complained of “way too hot tires, it’s like driving on eggshells!” Meanwhile, Tsunoda moved up to third on medium tires, and Ricciardo to sixth. Zhou advanced to 11th place, ahead of Bottas, and Hamilton moved up to third.

Pérez then set a fast lap on soft tires and topped the leaderboard with a 1’28″868. Verstappen finally achieved a clean lap and immediately topped the chart with a 1’28″595. Piastri moved up to second, a tenth behind.

Thus, Verstappen finished ahead of Piastri and Sainz, followed by Russell and Lance Stroll, who moved up at the end of the session. Pérez was next, followed by Hamilton, Tsunoda, Ocon, and Gasly. Norris was far back but did not run on hard tires, similar to Alonso in 19th and Leclerc, who hardly drove at all.

2024 F1 Miami Grand Prix – Free Practice Results (1)
PosDriverNat.TeamTime
1Max VerstappenNEDOracle Red Bull Racing1m28.595s
2Oscar PiastriAUSMcLaren F1 Team1m28.700s
3Carlos SainzESPScuderia Ferrari1m28.711s
4George RussellGBRMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1m28.784s
5Lance StrollCANAston Martin Aramco F1 Team1m28.817s
6Sergio PerezMEXOracle Red Bull Racing1m28.868s
7Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1m29.012s
8Yuki TsunodaJPNVisa Cash App RB F1 Team1m29.056s
9Esteban OconFRABWT Alpine F1 Team1m29.163s
10Pierre GaslyFRABWT Alpine F1 Team1m29.175s
11Daniel RicciardoAUSVisa Cash App RB F1 Team1m29.178s
12Kevin MagnussenDENMoneyGram Haas F1 Team1m29.189s
13Nico HulkenbergGERMoneyGram Haas F1 Team1m29.314s
14Alex AlbonTHAWilliams Racing1m29.393s
15Zhou GuanyuCHNStake F1 Team Kick Sauber1m29.445s
16Lando NorrisGBRMcLaren F1 Team1m29.495s
17Valtteri BottasFINStake F1 Team Kick Sauber1m29.636s
18Logan SargeantUSAWilliams Racing1m29.891s
19Fernando AlonsoESPAston Martin Aramco F1 Team1m30.023s
20Charles LeclercMONScuderia Ferrari1m32.099s
Verstappen Dominates Miami FP1

Verstappen Dominates Miami FP1. Verstappen Dominates Miami FP1

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