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Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix 2024

Verstappen treads 'on egg shells' to top red-flagged Miami practice

The World Champion kicked off the Miami Grand Prix weekend by topping a troubled practice session for Red Bull.

Verstappen Miami
Article
To news overview © Red Bull Content Pool

Max Verstappen emerged fastest from a troubled red-flagged Miami Grand Prix practice, after claiming he was driving on "egg shells."

Throughout the sole practice session ahead of the sprint weekend, Verstappen's Red Bull was often off-track and locking up, leaving him 19th fastest, and slowest of all, after the hard and medium tyre runs.

His afternoon did not improve immediately upon switching to the soft tyres, making a mistake at Turn 7 due to a gust of wind that forced him to abandon the lap, before he posted a 1:28.595 on his second attempt to ultimately top the session.

He beat Oscar Piastri and Carlos Sainz of McLaren and Ferrari, respectively as Lewis Hamilton claimed seventh for Mercedes.

The session was red-flagged early on due to Charles Leclerc becoming stuck at Turn 16 after a spin, and after being unable to get the Ferrari pointing the right way again, was forced to climb out of the stricken machine.

Result Free practice 1 - Miami

# Driver Team Time Tyre
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Verstappen immediately set the initial pace on a 1:31.071 attempt on the Medium tyres, before Leclerc's spin after six minutes brought proceedings to an early halt.

He hit the throttle too hard exiting Turn 16 and spun, blocking the track as he did so.

Eventually, Ferrari told the Monegasque to switch off the car as the clutch had become too hot and reverse gear could not be engaged, leading to a red flag of about 10 minutes, as the session resumed with 44 minutes on the clock.

Upon the restart, Sergio Perez climbed to the top of the times on a 1:29.632 on the mediums as Verstappen continued to struggle, locking up and running wide twice at Turn 17, as both Red Bulls and Mercedes as well as Zhou Guanyu took the medium tyres, with the rest of the field settling on the hard rubber.

Shortly after the half-way mark, Sainz climbed to the top, eventually reducing his time to a 1:29.331, with the Ferrari driver remaining on top as the field transitioned into the soft-tyre qualifying runs.

Pierre Gasly took P1 briefly for Alpine before Sainz, George Russell and then Verstappen's final attempt shuffled the order to see the world champion end fastest.

Perez's first soft tyre lap was hindered by traffic in the form of Verstappen in sector 1, leaving him sixth in the final classification.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Stroll fifth

Elsewhere, Lance Stroll impressed with fifth for Aston Martin, ahead of Perez, Hamilton, Yuki Tsunoda, Esteban Ocon and Gasly who rounded out the top 10.

Just 1.4s separated the top 19 drivers, as Lando Norris struggled with apparent steering issues in the heavily-upgraded McLaren for 16th and Fernando Alonso was slowest of those drivers who took a meaningful part in the session.

Leclerc was slowest of all, 3.504s down on Verstappen, having completed just three laps before his spin.

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