Saudi Arabian GP: Hamilton tops FP1 from Verstappen

Lewis Hamilton edged out title rival Max Verstappen to lead opening practice in Saudi Arabia as the Formula 1 drivers got their first taste of the new Jeddah track.

Following Porsche Supercup and Formula 2 practice sessions earlier in the day, F1 became the third series to sample the high-speed Jeddah Corniche Circuit, which many had compared to the Baku and Valencia tracks.

Championship leader Verstappen managed set the early pace in the session for Red Bull, completing his initial runs on the hard compound tyre.

The Dutchman sat almost two seconds clear of the field at points as he quickly found his feet around the track, eventually whittling his best lap on hards down to a 1m30.014s.

Title rival Hamilton was not as swift to get up to speed despite running on softs, finishing six tenths of a second off Verstappen's best lap during the opening runs with teammate Valtteri Bottas sitting third on softs.

As the track continued to evolve and the entire field switched to softs for the second half of the session, laptimes continued to get quicker, with Hamilton and Bottas leapfrogging Verstappen on the timesheets.

Bottas moved five thousandths of a second clear of Verstappen with his second run on soft tyres, only for Hamilton to then find another two tenths of a second, setting a best laptime of 1m29.786s with 15 minutes remaining.

It would be enough to give Hamilton P1 at the end of the session, narrowly keeping the Mercedes driver ahead of Verstappen, who improved in the dying moments of the session to finish second.

Verstappen wound up a quick lap on softs to cross the line in the final minute of running, but fell 0.056 seconds shy of Hamilton at the top.

Verstappen had a late mix-up with Esteban Ocon as the Alpine driver tried to allow him through into Turn 1, only for both cars to run wide and narrowly avoid contract. It was the only near-miss of the session, though, which went by without any major interruption and only a couple of yellow flags.

Bottas ended the session third for Mercedes, and enjoyed his first running at the Jeddah circuit, telling his engineer midway through the session: "F**k this track is cool."

Pierre Gasly ended the session fourth fastest for AlphaTauri, finishing within half a second of Hamilton at the front, while Antonio Giovinazzi was a surprise fifth for Alfa Romeo after a late improvement on soft tyres.

Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc finished sixth and seventh respectively for Ferrari, with Sainz finding a decent amount of time after making the switch to softs, while Daniel Ricciardo took eighth thanks to a couple of improvements through his second run on softs.

Fernando Alonso took ninth for Alpine after improving on hards during the second half of the session, while Sebastian Vettel closed out practice in 10th place for Aston Martin.

Sergio Perez struggled to match Verstappen's pace in the sister Red Bull RB16B, ending FP1 in 11th place, over a second behind his teammate.

Ocon improved after the mix-up with Verstappen to finish 12th ahead of Lando Norris and Lance Stroll, while Yuki Tsunoda took 15th as none of the quartet matched their respective teammates for pace.

Kimi Raikkonen finished 16th for Alfa Romeo, almost one second down on Giovinazzi in fifth. George Russell led Williams' efforts in 17th ahead of Haas's Mick Schumacher, while their respective teammates, Nicholas Latifi and Nikita Mazepin, propped up the timesheets in 19th and 20th place.

Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap
1 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes 21 1'29.786
2 Netherlands Max Verstappen
Red Bull 23 1'29.842 0.056
3 Finland Valtteri Bottas
Mercedes 24 1'30.009 0.223
4 France Pierre Gasly
AlphaTauri 28 1'30.263 0.477
5 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi
Alfa Romeo 27 1'30.318 0.532
6 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr.
Ferrari 26 1'30.564 0.778
7 Monaco Charles Leclerc
Ferrari 26 1'30.600 0.814
8 Australia Daniel Ricciardo
McLaren 25 1'30.608 0.822
9 Spain Fernando Alonso
Alpine 27 1'30.842 1.056
10 Germany Sebastian Vettel
Aston Martin 25 1'30.886 1.100
11 Mexico Sergio Perez
Red Bull 27 1'30.960 1.174
12 France Esteban Ocon
Alpine 29 1'31.023 1.237
13 United Kingdom Lando Norris
McLaren 23 1'31.029 1.243
14 Canada Lance Stroll
Aston Martin 25 1'31.044 1.258
15 Japan Yuki Tsunoda
AlphaTauri 26 1'31.099 1.313
16 Finland Kimi Raikkonen
Alfa Romeo 26 1'31.296 1.510
17 United Kingdom George Russell
Williams 28 1'31.343 1.557
18 Germany Mick Schumacher
Haas 24 1'31.525 1.739
19 Canada Nicholas Latifi
Williams 27 1'31.821 2.035
20 Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin
Haas 23 1'33.464 3.678
shares
comments
Haas bonus scheme idea prompted by real concern, says Mazepin
Previous article

Haas bonus scheme idea prompted by real concern, says Mazepin

Next article

Saudi Arabian GP practice as it happened

Saudi Arabian GP practice as it happened
Load comments
Why newly-retired Kimi Raikkonen won't miss F1 Prime

Why newly-retired Kimi Raikkonen won't miss F1

After 349 grand prix starts, 46 fastest laps, 21 wins and one world championship, Kimi Raikkonen has finally called time on his F1 career. In an exclusive interview with Motorsport.com on the eve of his final race, he explains his loathing of paddock politics and reflects on how motorsport has changed over the past two decades.

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up Prime

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up

Formula 1 cars will look very different this year as the long-awaited fresh rules finally arrive with the stated aim of improving its quality of racing. We break down what the return of 'ground effect' aerodynamics - and a flurry of other changes besides - means for the teams, and what fans can expect

Formula 1
Jan 21, 2022
Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems Prime

Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems

OPINION: The 2022 Formula 1 season is just weeks away from getting underway, but instead of focusing on what is to come, the attention still remains on what has been – not least the Abu Dhabi title decider controversy. That, plus other key talking points, must be resolved to allow the series to warmly welcome in its new era

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2022
The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Prime

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2022
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Prime

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. James Newbold hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwart.

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Prime

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Prime

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022
The steps Norris took to reach a new level in the 2021 F1 season Prime

The steps Norris took to reach a new level in the 2021 F1 season

Lando Norris came of age as a grand prix driver in 2021. McLaren’s young ace is no longer an apprentice or a quietly capable number two – he’s proved himself a potential winner in the top flight and, as Stuart Codling finds out, he’s ready to stake his claim to greatness…

Formula 1
Jan 9, 2022