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Thursday, June 1, 2023

Verstappen Leads Red Bull 1-2 in Bumpy Opening Practice for Australian Grand Prix

The Australian GP weekend's first practice session witnessed two red flags

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Aditya Saikrishna
Aditya Saikrishna
I am 21 years old and an avid Motorsports enthusiast.

AUSTRALIA: Max Verstappen led the way for Red Bull Racing in the opening practice session for the Australian Grand Prix, with the Dutch driver posting the fastest lap time of 1:19.3. 

Verstappen’s teammate, Sergio Perez, finished second, just two-tenths of a second behind, while Fernando Alonso claimed the third spot on the leaderboard.

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The session got off to a flying start, with all 20 drivers completing at least one lap within the first five minutes. 

However, several drivers struggled with the circuit’s bumps, with Logan Sargeant reporting that they were so bad he couldn’t see. Hamilton also complained of bouncing on the track surface.

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Verstappen set his fastest lap on the soft Pirelli tires, one step harder than last year’s softs that Pirelli brought to Melbourne. Midway through the session, Norris rejoined the action and put in his fastest lap on medium tires. 

He finished in sixth place, behind Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz of Ferrari. Yuki Tsunoda had a near miss with the Turn 1 wall, while Nyck de Vries got in Hamilton’s way. 

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The session was interrupted by a red flag with 23 minutes remaining due to a problem with the track’s GPS, leading to traffic issues. 

The session resumed with 14 minutes on the clock, but Leclerc and Sainz were absent as Ferrari worked on their SF-23s.

Verstappen was left unsatisfied with his car’s performance, complaining to his team that they were “dragging the rear brakes too much.”

There was also late drama for Sargeant, whose car “shut off,” leaving him stranded on the side of the track at Turn 11.

The session ended with Verstappen, Hamilton, and Perez finishing in the top three spots, while Alonso and Leclerc finished fourth and fifth, respectively. 

Carlos Sainz, Lando Norris, and Pierre Gasly rounded out the top eight, while George Russell and Lance Stroll completed the top ten.

Also Read: Former F1 Champion Nelson Piquet Fined for Making Racist and Homophobic Comments


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