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Dutch Grand Prix 2021

Hamilton leads Verstappen in disrupted FP1 at Zandvoort

Lewis Hamilton edged out title rival Max Verstappen during first practice for the Dutch Grand Prix, which was significantly disrupted after Sebastian Vettel stopped on track.

Article
To news overview © Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton posted the fastest time during Friday's opening free practice session for the Dutch Grand Prix, which was disrupted for around half an hour following a stoppage for Sebastian Vettel.

Red Bull and Mercedes traded fastest times early in the session as the drivers got accustomed to the renovated Zandvoort circuit, which last hosted a Grand Prix in 1985, before McLaren's Lando Norris moved to the front with a time a 1:12.679 using the Medium compound tyre.

Just when drivers were set to move on to the Soft compound, Vettel ground to a halt at the exit of Turn 1, and brought out the red flags, with a suspected engine failure, having earlier complained of an MGU-K issue over the radio.

As marshals watched on, Vettel took matters into his own hands by grabbing a fire extinguisher and attempting to put out the smoke coming from the rear of his Aston Martin, prior to recovery vehicles and team members arriving on the scene.

Half an hour passed as Vettel's car was carefully checked – given a potential electrical/fire risk – and later cleared from the track.

With just over five minutes of FP1 remaining, the track finally went green again and drivers filtered out on the softest, red-marked rubber for a frantic conclusion to the session – a sign of things to come in Saturday's qualifying session.

Hamilton moved to the front during this phase, clocking a 1:11.500 to finish less than a tenth of a second clear of title rival Verstappen, followed by the Ferraris of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc, with Valtteri Bottas completing the top five.

Article continues below

Practice 1 - Dutch

Pos. Driver Team Time
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At the head of the chasing pack, some half a second behind Bottas, the Alpines of Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon took sixth and seventh respectively, Ocon one of several drivers to take a trip to the run-off in the early minutes.

A strange incident occurred after the chequered flag when Ocon pushed Norris onto the grass, as they squabbled over track position.

Antonio Giovinazzi, who is set to lose his Alfa Romeo seat in 2022, ended the session eighth fastest, ahead of Aston Martin's Lance Stroll and AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly, the latter fortunate to avoid a trip to the barriers at Turn 3.

There was also drama for Gasly's teammate, Yuki Tsunoda, who described his chances of remaining in F1 next year as "50/50" heading into the event, when the rookie spun on his first lap out of the pits at Turn 10.

Sergio Perez had a low-key start to the weekend, placing 16th in the other Red Bull, while Tsunoda was the only driver to finish without a time after AlphaTauri spotted an issue on his car and held him in the garage for checks.

Video: The secrets of the the new Zandvoort F1 circuit

Follow Rudy van Buren as he takes you on a flying lap around the home of the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort.

RN365 News dossier F1 2021 Dutch Grand Prix

The latest news about the Dutch Grand Prix straight from Zandvoort.

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    Breaking Are current F1 drivers taking more risks than in previous eras?