Norris tops first Spanish GP practice

Lando Norris led the way in the first practice at the Spanish Grand Prix ahead of Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz.

Norris spent the majority of his 27 laps on the hard tire, but a three-lap blast on softs just after the halfway point set the benchmark at 1m14.228s. The McLaren driver’s improvement pipped the Red Bull man’s best time by 0.024s, the Dutchman ceding time in the first sector but setting quickest times in the second two splits.

Verstappen — who spent most of the hour on the soft tire — complained that clutch problems kept dipping his car into anti-stall late in the hour, though it appeared to do little to limit his time on track.


Sainz led the way in a mixed session for Ferrari, lapping 0.344s off the pace but faring considerably better than teammate Charles Leclerc, who suffered a litany of issues on his way to 11th in the order.

The Monegasque started the session with a big tail wag that flirted dangerously close with stones exiting turn 12. “The car is horrendous now,” he subsequently told his team.

A later run had him come perilously close to clattering into the back of Lance Stroll at Turn 10, and on his return to pit lane he reported a problem with his clutch.

George Russell edged Sergio Perez to fourth by 0.078s, while Oscar Piastri slotted into a distant sixth, ending the hour 0.693s off the pace after a brief red flag prevented him from completing his flying lap on fresh softs.

The red flag was caused by Fernando Alonso, whose car shed part of its front wing running over the curbs exiting the long Turn 9. The Spaniard ended the hour ninth behind Lewis Hamilton and Esteban Ocon, the Frenchman running Alpine’s lighter chassis for the first time this year and the last driver within a second of Norris’s headline time.

Alex Albon completed the top 10 for Williams ahead of Leclerc, Valtteri Bottas and Pierre Gasly.

Stroll was 14th ahead of Daniel Ricciardo in his heavily upgraded RB car. The Australian was 0.036s quicker than Zhou Guanyu, who was using an old-spec chassis in a troubleshooting mission for his Sauber team.

Kevin Magnussen ended the hour 17th ahead of Logan Sargeant, the American at long last running the same specification Williams as teammate Albon.

Oliver Bearman took control of Nico Hulkenberg’s Haas car for the second of his six FP1 appearances this year to finish 19th on the time sheet ahead of Yuki Tsunoda, who was restricted to 21 laps after a technical problem with his RB car early and who had his flying lap on softs spoiled by the timing of the red flag.

Story originally appeared on Racer