Russell leads Mercedes 1-2 in opening practice

Kevin Magnussen led the field at the start of race one on the medium and hard tires – the Dane setting the benchmark for first place at 1m36.852s using the yellowwall rubber.

Esteban Ocon and Nico Hulkenberg then took the lead on the medium and hard tires respectively, before Lewis Hamilton finished the first five minutes of the hour-long session being the fastest in 1m34.527s.

But that didn’t last long either as Verstappen – unlike Hamilton using the hardliners at this point – went fastest on his second attempt on a first flight after going off in Turn 1 on his first attempt.

Times continued to drop as drivers completed their first exploratory stints, with several having off-track moments at Turn 1 and Turn 11 at the end of the long twisty straight, struggling for grip on the new surface of Track.

During this period, Nyck de Vries lost the rear of his AlphaTauri and turned around on the long, tight Turn 12 right, after which Carlos Sainz was fastest with a 1m33.823.

Hamilton then went even faster before Verstappen, still on the same hard set, posted a 1m32.465s which he beat with a fourth flying lap attempt to end the first quarter of the session with a 1m31. 826s.

The peloton then pitted and after a short lull many riders switched to softs for the first time, Hulkenberg being the first to do so and duly returning to the top of the times with a 1m31.392s just before mid -race.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

Photo by: Jake Grant / Motorsport Images

Once that was over, Verstappen and Perez made their first runs on the soft, the latter beating Hulkenberg with a 1m31.054s despite heavy oversteer between the fast 4/5 turns in the flowy section at the start of the lap. around Hard Rock Stadium.

Perez, however, couldn’t beat Hulkenberg at this point and put his Red Bull third behind the then-focused Haas as Hulkenberg crashed out at Turn 3 on a third flying lap attempt. on the same set of apps.

Having been only marginally slower than his personal best on his second soft flight, Hulkenberg ran slightly off-line into Turn 3 and quickly lost the rear of his car, flipping over and slamming his right side against the wall and sending debris onto the track. .

As Hulkenberg’s car needed to be recovered with its broken right front wheel, the session was halted for eight minutes.

When FP1 resumed ahead of their final quarter, Verstappen returned to action on the softs and improved the first-place benchmark to 1m30.549s – this time completing his flyer without a moment in the first sector.

Leclerc then moved into second place before being demoted by Sainz a few minutes later which relegated Fernando Alonso to fourth.

Heading into the final five minutes, Leclerc made a second run on his softs and regained the lead over Sainz, still 0.253s slower than Verstappen ahead, while Sainz’s second attempt had to be scrapped very quickly. as he lost the rear of his SF-23 and had to take the second lap of Turn 1.

As the Ferraris prepared for a third attempt on the softs, the Mercedes cars had finally turned off the mids – Russell wasting a lot of time early on as his team decided to pull out a chunk of development direction deemed too heavy based on his first returns.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

After remaining on medium initially after the red flag, the Mercedes drivers had been shuffled into order and only kept clear of the back of the field by de Vries, who did not reappear after having completed 10 hard laps – the least of all drivers in FP1.

Hamilton led Russell, Leclerc also pushing between them again, and the seven-time world champion moved from 19th to first with a 1m30.337s.

Leclerc then edged Verstappen with a 1m30.449s that put him second, until Russell completed his soft flyer to also move from 19th to first and overshadow Hamilton with a 1m30.125s.

Sainz’s soft third race set a personal best just before the end of the session, but that couldn’t get him past Verstappen’s fourth place as Red Bull reverted to hard tires for the final minutes.

Pierre Gasly had a wild moment on the second lap of Turn 3 after catching a big snap in Turn 2 late, but finished sixth for Alpine ahead of Alonso.

Lance Stroll followed his teammate Aston Martin in eighth position, Hulkenberg ninth despite his early exit.

Ocon rounded out the top 10, with two-time Baku winner Perez only 11th and going no faster after his first run on the softs.

Leclerc signaled “slow changes” to his post-checkered lap flag.

Results F1 Miami GP – FP1

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