At the end of FP1, the leader of the drivers’ standings, Verstappen, enjoyed a good lead over Pierre Gasly from AlphaTauri and Valtteri Bottas from Mercedes, who started the weekend for Red Bull on the right foot.
The first practice session in Qatar was during the day, which meant it wasn’t fully representative of either qualifying or the race, both of which start in cooler conditions at dusk.
Verstappen spent the first part of FP1 on the hard compound tire and drove the fastest times on Medium with McLaren’s Lando Norris, but after the first few runs he was able to enjoy 0.3 seconds ahead of the field.
While Bottas initially took P1 for Mercedes when he switched to soft tires – although he ran over the track barrier on his fastest lap – Verstappen was able to fight back and set a fastest time of 1: 23.723 minutes.
It put Verstappen four-tenths ahead of the lead at the end of the session when ex-teammate Gasly shot into second place late with a fast run on the soft tires.
Red Bull questioned the abuse of course limits during the session after the FIA decided not to delete any laps, despite announcing on Thursday that it would be monitoring five corners that weekend. Race director Michael Masi told the team that he would let the drivers “get on their feet” in FP1 before getting stuck later on the weekend.
Verstappen’s title rival Lewis Hamilton could only finish the session in fourth place, 0.786 seconds before the Red Bull’s lap. Throughout the session, Hamilton reported that his engine was slowing but was assured by his race engineer that his speed was on the straight was not significantly less than that of its rivals.
Hamilton debuted a special helmet design for the Qatar weekend in FP1. The design prominently features the Progress Pride flag, which combines the rainbow LGBTQ + flag, black and brown stripes to represent marginalized LGBTQ + color communities, and the transgender Pride flag.
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
Photo by: Mercedes GP Petronas Formula 1 Team
Yuki Tsunoda finished the session in an impressive fifth place, giving AlphaTauri two cars in the top five, while Carlos Sainz Jr.
Sergio Perez finished eighth for Red Bull ahead of Esteban Ocon and Norris from Alpine, both of whom set their fastest times on medium-compound tires. Norris pitted after apparently losing power after a run over the curbs at the exit of Turn 15, but returned to the pits and returned to the track later in the session.
Daniel Ricciardo finished 11th
Nicholas Latifi led Williams’ efforts by finishing 13th, three spots ahead of teammate George Russell as the duo was shared by Alfa Romeo teammates Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Raikkonen.
Fernando Alonso was only able to finish 17th for Alpine after the team was forced to prop their car on jacks at the start of the session to complete some work. He was able to return to the track and complete a total of 21 laps.
Mick Schumacher escaped a trip through the gravel late in the session and finished 18th for Haas ahead of Lance Stroll, who reported a braking error and was only able to drive 11 laps. Nikita Mazepin secured the starting order in the second Haas car and finished the time of his team-mate by eight tenths of a second.
Qatar F1 Grand Prix – FP1 ResultsThe post Verstappen leads from Gasly as a driver to get a first impression of the circuit in Losail first appeared on monter-une-startup.