Verstappen leads a rapid Albon in FP1; Bearman impresses in the Haas on official F1 debut

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Formula 2 drivers Oliver Bearman (Haas), Theo Pourchaire (Alfa Romeo), Frederik Vesti (Mercedes), Isack Hadjar (AlphaTauri) and Jack Doohan (Alpine) all ran in FP1 as part of the mandated rookie program in F1 at the moment.

A 1:23.853 from Oscar Piastri saw the Australian lead home hero Sergio Perez by 0.082s five minutes in. Albon, Sainz and Leclerc rounded out the top 5.

As Daniel Ricciardo opened his DRS on the main straight, something fell off his car. Oscar Piastri thought it was a piece of metal.

The Williams of Alex Albon posted a 1:22.419 to go quickest of all, followed by the Red Bulls of Verstappen and Perez at the 10-minute mark.

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz missed media day on Thursday and things didn’t get better in FP1 as he complained of losing the hydraulics. He limped back to the pits. The Spaniard returned to the track with 25 minutes left.

World Champion Max Verstappen logged a 1:20.245 to lead a third of the way into first practice, only 0.004s quicker than Albon. Perez, Leclerc and Ricciardo completed the top 5.

Leclerc, Piastri, Sargeant and Zhou all used the soft tyre to move into P3, P6, P7 and P9 respectively just over halfway through.

The McLaren of Lando Norris put on the softs and went quickest by 0.008s. However, Max Verstappen responded moments later on the same tyre to put himself 0.519s clear.

Unfortunately for Theo Pourchaire, his session was ruined by a long brake pedal. He failed to complete a fast lap as the team discovered a brake-by-wire problem.

Once again Alex Albon showed excellent pace, this time on the softs. He got within 0.095s of Verstappen’s 1:19.718. Perez improved on a second push lap as he pumped in a 1:20.015.

Photo credit: Red Bull Content Pool

The McLarens and Ferraris resumed their close battle from Austin. Norris led Leclerc, Piastri and Sainz as 0.242s covered the four of them.

Ricciardo, Ocon and Stroll completed the top 10.

Hamilton, Hülkenberg, Zhou, Sargeant, Bearman Alonso, Hadjar, Doohan and Vesti completed the order of the runners who got a lap in.

Oliver Bearman was extremely impressive in the Haas as he lapped within 0.2s of Hülkenberg on the hard tyre. The Brit followed that up on the softs to be 0.345s away from the German in P15. He was the lead rookie and the most impressive one, too.