The drivers headed out on track this morning for their first free hour of the weekend ahead of the Dutch Grand Prix on Sunday.
George Russell led a Mercedes one-two in a hectic first practice, as Max Verstappen’s Red Bull cut out on track due to a gearbox issue – marking an early end to his FP1.
The Dutchman had completed just seven laps before he suffered the first mishap of the weekend, and on-site reporters noted the stark reaction from the sea of orange watching in the stands – the normally lively crowd was standing in pure silence as their home hero’s car ground to a halt.
His absence on track led the way for Ferrari and McLaren to battle it out for the top spot before Mercedes managed to go quickest on soft tyres and stormed to the front as Russell led with a 1:12.455 – just two tenths faster than team-mate Lewis Hamilton.
Carlos Sainz was in third for Ferrari with McLaren’s Lando Norris fourth and showing notably better pace than their midfield foes, Alpine.
Daniel Ricciardo was fifth – marking a better start to his weekend – and was ahead of Charles Leclerc in the Ferrari and the second Red Bull of Sergio Perez.
Early signs this weekend have shown that Mercedes may be in with a fair chance of a podium even with the return of Verstappen on track – however, Red Bull principal Christian Horner admitted earlier today that the team didn’t know the full extent of Verstappen’s failure just yet.
“We lost drive, shifting from fourth to fifth, so we need to get the car back and understand that,” Horner told Sky Sports F1. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to get it turned around quickly for the next session.”