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Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix 2024

Verstappen fastest in red-flagged FP1 after worrying Sargeant crash

Red Bull looks strong at the Japanese Grand Prix following the first practice session of the weekend.

Verstappen Japan FP1
To news overview © XPBimages

Max Verstappen set the pace in first practice at the Japanese Grand Prix, which was red-flagged 30 minutes into the session.

The reigning world champion set a benchmark of a 1:30.056 to lead home a Red Bull one-two by 0.181 secs.

Australian Grand Prix winner Carlos Sainz completed the top three, following a positive lap set not long after Logan Sargeant crashed heavily.

Result Free practice 1 - Japanese

# Driver Team Time Tyre
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The big news ahead of first practice was Mercedes confirming that Lewis Hamilton has lost a power unit from his allocation pool, due to the damage to his engine which failed in Australia being terminal.

With a fresh power unit in his W15, Hamilton finished fifth in first practice. Due to rain being forecast for second practice, drivers started their programmes almost immedietly, including Aston Martin, who fitted massive aero rakes to Lance Stroll's car.

However, the aero rakes were quickly removed in the opening quarter of first practice, due to the rakes having become partially loose.

A key absentee in first practice was Daniel Ricciardo, with RB opting to field junior driver Ayumu Iwasa for FP1 at the Super Formula driver's home circuit. Sargeant was an absentee in the Australian Grand Prix after being withdrawn, although he returned in first practice at Suzuka.

Sargeant had made a positive start to the session, before crashing heavily at Turn 7 at the 30-minute mark, resulting in a short red flag. The American driver dipped a wheel on the grass which propelled him into the gravel, where he collided with the barrier nose first.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

It means that Williams have another huge repair job for the second consecutive Grand Prix, with the Grove-based outfit having only just repaired the broken chassis from Australia in time for Sargeant to race.

The American driver's car was quickly recovered, allowing the session to resume after a 10-minute stoppage. Most drivers set a soft tyre lap immediately after the green flag was waved again, Verstappen and Sergio Perez having shot to the top.

Red Bull's duo were closely followed by Sainz, whose team-mate was sixth fastest in FP1. George Russell ended in fourth, with both Mercedes drivers having reported a positive feeling with the W15.

Aston Martin also looked handy in the hands of Fernando Alonso in seventh, whilst Lance Stroll was P17. As for McLaren, Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris were eighth and P10 but also over a second slower than Verstappen.

Home hero Yuki Tsunoda made an excellent start in ninth, whereas Iwasa managed P15 on his only outing of the weekend, baring any exceptional circumstances following his debut.

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