Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

McLaren’s Lando Norris Tops First Practice at Spanish Grand Prix, Edging Out Red Bull’s Max Verstappen

McLaren’s Lando Norris narrowly led the first practice session at the Spanish Grand Prix, clocking in just 0.024 seconds faster than Red Bull’s reigning world champion Max Verstappen. Both drivers set their fastest laps on the soft tyre, marking an intense start to the European leg of the Formula 1 season.

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz secured the third fastest time, trailing by 0.344 seconds, despite using the medium tyre for his best lap. Mercedes’ George Russell, also on medium tyres, followed closely in fourth place. Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, McLaren’s Oscar Piastri, and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton rounded out the next positions in the order.

Significant Upgrades for Red Bull and Ferrari

Both Red Bull and Ferrari introduced significant upgrades to their cars for this European stint. However, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc expressed dissatisfaction with his car, describing it as “horrendous” during the session. Leclerc had only partial upgrades, including a new rear wing and bodywork around the halo, but lacked the new floor, diffuser, and engine cover that his teammate Sainz had.

Upcoming Races and Schedule

The Spanish Grand Prix marks the beginning of a demanding stretch with races on three consecutive weekends: Spain, Austria, and Silverstone. This will be followed by a week’s gap before back-to-back races in Hungary and Belgium, leading into Formula 1’s August break.

Incident-Free Session with Minor Interruptions

The practice session was largely incident-free, except for a brief red-flag period when a part flew off Fernando Alonso’s Aston Martin at the high-speed Turn Nine, landing on the track. Alonso, whose last victory in Formula 1 was at this very event 11 years ago, finished ninth fastest, just behind Esteban Ocon’s Alpine and ahead of Alex Albon’s Williams.

Final Practice Standings

  1. Lando Norris (McLaren)
  2. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
  3. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)
  4. George Russell (Mercedes)
  5. Sergio Perez (Red Bull)
  6. Oscar Piastri (McLaren)
  7. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
  8. Esteban Ocon (Alpine)
  9. Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin)
  10. Alex Albon (Williams)

As the teams prepare for the upcoming races, all eyes will be on how these upgrades impact performance and whether Norris can maintain his edge over the competition.

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