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Max second quickest in Saudi FP1

Published on 03 December 2021 by Stefan Meens

Max Verstappen started his Saudi Arabia Grand Prix weekend with second place in the opening Friday practice session. Lewis Hamilton was quickest round the 6.1 km long Jeddah Corniche Circuit. His Mercedes teammate, Valtteri Bottas, completed the top three.

Because it is the first time Formula 1 races in Saudi Arabia, and on this new street circuit, the teams are eager to gain as much track time as possible. Hence, most drivers are out on track in the opening stages of FP1.

Carlos Sainz in the Ferrari is the first to complete a timed lap, but his effort is soon bettered by the McLarens of Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo. Meanwhile, Max has embarked on his first flying lap. On the hard Pirelli tyres, the Dutchman sets the quickest lap of the session thus far.

Soon after, the lap times tumble even further as the drivers get familiar with the new circuit and its grip levels. Max continues to pound round on the hard compound and keeps bettering his times, meaning he tops the leader boards at the halfway mark.

With 25 minutes on the clock, Max switches, as well as many others, to the soft Pirellis. Once again the lap times drop. Although this time, after the first flurry of fast laps, Max has to concede top spot to Valtteri Bottas.

In the final quarter of the session, Max keeps trying to improve his lap time on used soft tyres. Eventually, on his last attempt, despite traffic, the Dutchman puts down a personal best. It grants him P2, splitting the two Mercedes at the end of the session.

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Results first free practice Saudi-arabia:

1Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes1:29.786 21
2Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda1:29.842+0.056s22
3Valtteri BottasBOTMercedes1:30.009+0.223s24
4Pierre GaslyGASAlphaTauri Honda1:30.263+0.477s28
5Antonio GiovinazziGIOAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:30.318+0.532s27
6Carlos SainzSAIFerrari1:30.564+0.778s26
7Charles LeclercLECFerrari1:30.600+0.814s26
8Daniel RicciardoRICMcLaren Mercedes1:30.608+0.822s25
9Fernando AlonsoALOAlpine Renault1:30.842+1.056s27
10Sebastian VettelVETAston Martin Mercedes1:30.886+1.100s25
11Sergio PerezPERRed Bull Racing Honda1:30.960+1.174s27
12Esteban OconOCOAlpine Renault1:31.023+1.237s28
13Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Mercedes1:31.029+1.243s23
14Lance StrollSTRAston Martin Mercedes1:31.044+1.258s25
15Yuki TsunodaTSUAlphaTauri Honda1:31.099+1.313s26
16Kimi RäikkönenRAIAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:31.296+1.510s26
17George RussellRUSWilliams Mercedes1:31.343+1.557s28
18Mick SchumacherMSCHaas Ferrari1:31.525+1.739s24
19Nicholas LatifiLATWilliams Mercedes1:31.821+2.035s27
20Nikita MazepinMAZHaas Ferrari1:33.464+3.678s23