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Miami GP FP1: Verstappen fastest from Piastri and Sainz

Miami GP FP1: Verstappen fastest from Piastri and Sainz

Miami GP FP1: Verstappen fastest from Piastri and Sainz

Max Verstappen topped the only practice session for the Miami GP leading McLaren’s Oscar Piastri and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz.

The triple Formula 1 Champion spent most of the session doing long runs but it took him just one attempt at a fast qualifying lap on Soft tyres to go fastest.

Before that final lap, Verstappen did not seem to be at ease with his car, suffering a few lockups and a couple of off moments, but then shrugged off any concerns by going fastest.

Oscar Piastri in the upgraded McLaren was second fastest, as teammate Lando Norris suffered from power steering issues in the sister car.

Sainz, the only remaining Ferrari in the session – after Charles Leclerc spun out and couldn’t get his car going again with an overheated clutch – was third fastest.

The aforementioned Leclerc incident brought out the only Red flag of the session. The Monegasque will be facing an uphill task as he goes into Sprint qualifying on the back foot with no running done.

The tyres seem to be a limiting factor in Miami this weekend, as the Softs overheat very easily which will mean that qualifying will be tricky as the drivers try to manage these tyres.

Buildup towards FP1

SUZUKA, JAPAN - APRIL 06: Adrian Newey, the Chief Technical Officer of Oracle Red Bull Racing looks on in the garage during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka International Racing Course on April 06, 2024 in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202404060220 // Usage for editorial use only //

As if Red Bull refuse to get out of the spotlight that has been on them even before the season started when Christian Horner’s scandal surfaced, and while people started to forget about that story, Adrian Newey’s decision to leave Red Bull after 19 years sent the F1 paddock into a frenzy.

So that is the main talking point in this weekend’s Miami GP as we try to squeeze some racing news on the side in what is the second Sprint weekend of this season.

In terms of racing, Mercedes have an upgrade package which they hope will make them less lost while McLaren also will bring their first significant upgrade of the season.

Ferrari are blue this weekend, at least parts of their SF-24 and their drivers, and we can only hope their result will not bring the blues for the Tifosi this weekend, China wasn’t great if you recall.

As for tyres, Pirelli brought the C2 (Hard), C3 (Medium) and C4 (Soft) this weekend.

FP1 Session Highlights

The session started in clear sunny conditions, the track temperature at 48 degrees Celsius with air temperature at 28 degrees.

As for upgrades, Red Bull have a revised floor edge aimed at reducing weight by removing one support while Mercedes have a bigger package this weekend.

The eight-time Constructors’ Champions have a new floor body, revised bodywork with more cooking louvres, a new front wing and revised front suspension.

McLaren went all out with their upgrade with a new front wing, revised front suspension, revised front brake duct and winglet, a new floor body, a revised sidepod inlet, new bodywork and engine cover, and finally an updated cooling louvre arrangement.

Aston Martin also had some considerable changes to their car. The AMR24 has a new front wing, a revised engine cover/coke body specific for the cooling requirements of Miami.

The rear wing on the Aston Martin in new as well, in addition to a new beam wing and a chassis scoop for cooling.

Sauber have a new front and rear wings while Haas debuted a new floor body.

Most importantly ladies and gentlemen: Williams have finally brought their spare chassis!!!!!

No wasting time here as this will be the only practice session with Sprint qualifying following and Kevin Magnussen was the first driver to hit the track.

Norris soon reports that “something is not right” as it was harder for him to turn right that left in his McLaren. He was soon back to the pits.

Piastri soon reported steering issues on his MCL38. However it was just heavy in both directions.

Soon Leclerc brought out the Yellow flag as he was pointed in the wrong direction after spinning at Turn 16, and was trying to do a multi-point turn to get back in the right direction, but it wasn’t going well for him.

The clutch on his SF-24 became too hot and he could not get the car into reverse.

Soon the Yellow flag became Red and Leclerc turns his car off and gets out of the car, not a good way to start your weekend. Session over for Leclerc.

The session was restarted with less than 45 minutes on the clock as drivers lined up in the pitlane to resume the little practice time they still had.

Replays showed Yuki Tsunoda and Logan Sargeant locking up but keeping their cars under control, while Norris radioed again reporting the same issue on his car’s steering.

Norris’ issue was explained by McLaren CEO Zak Brown who said: “Lando’s issue is an asymmetric power steering assistance. Not to do with upgrades. We have made some changes during the session to improve it and will fix it after the session.”

Verstappen soon locked up as well and ended up in the run-off area of Turn 17, but was almost immediately back on his way.

In the meantime, an unhappy Leclerc is watching the session on the screens from within the Ferrari garage.

Replay showed Verstappen out of shape at Turns 14 and 15 and then went on to have another lockup into Turn 17, he reports to his team: “I’m front locking too quickly at the peak.”

Lewis Hamilton, with less than 15 minutes remaining went straight at the Turn 14/15 complex as he was not able to make the corner.

Alex Albon had a moment out on track at Turn 4 and then at Turn 1 and reported his Williams was rear locking, while Verstappen was pushed wide at Turn 7 by a gust of wind.

Verstappen soon complained about his tyres overheating, as he had no grip as if he was driving on “egg shells”.

The final ten minutes saw the teams switching to Soft tyres to do some qualifying runs and the session was concluded with practice starts.

How they finished

Verstappen topped the session with a lap time of 1:28.595, 0.105s ahead of Piastri in second and 0.116s ahead of Sainz in third.

George Russell was the faster Mercedes, fourth fastest overall and 0.189s off the pace. He was 0.033s ahead of Lance Stroll, fifth fastest for Aston Martin.

Sergio Perez, Miami’s 2023 polesitter, was sixth fastest in the second Red Bull, 0.273s off the pace of his teammate and 0.144s ahead of Hamilton in seventh.

Tsunoda was eighth fastest for VCARB with a 1:29.056 and as 0.107s faster than Esteban Ocon, ninth in the Alpine and who in turn was 0.012s ahead of teammate Pierre Gasly in tenth.

Norris was 16th fastest following his power steering troubles while Fernando Alonso was only 19th.

Miami GP FP1 Classification

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