The first practice for the GP Netherlands brought some surprises. George Russell snatched the best time, Ferrari had to queue up and Max Verstappen was stopped by a gearbox problem.
The race weekend in Zandvoort provides good entertainment right from the start. In the first free practice session, things didn't go according to plan for some of the favorites. George Russell took the opportunity and took first place with the Mercedes-AMG F1 W13. With a time of 1m 12.455s, he beat team-mate Lewis Hamilton by 0.240s. With the double lead, Mercedes gave a calling card for the rest of the weekend.
Verstappen with gearbox problem
Of course, Ferrari shouldn't like that at all. Actually, the 4.259-kilometre-long dune course should accommodate the F1-75 with its characteristics. However, with third place for Carlos Sainz and sixth place for Charles Leclerc, there can be no talk of a promising start.
Small consolation for Ferrari: Red Bull got off to an even bumpier start in the 15th Grand Prix of the season. Max Verstappen parked his car on the track after just under fifteen minutes. There was a gearbox problem on the RB18, so the team asked the World Champion to play it safe and stop. The meeting was then interrupted for a few minutes with a red flag.
A bitter disappointment for the numerous Dutch fans in the stands who had to do without their idol for the time being. But even Sergio Perez could not lift the gloomy Red Bull mood. The Mexican ended up just under a second behind in seventh position.
McLaren in good shape
McLaren had reason to be in a good mood. Both Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo impressed in fourth and fifth place. Alpine lined up behind Mercedes, Ferrari and McLaren as the fourth force, also in a pair flight, in eighth and ninth place. Fernando Alonso won the team duel against Esteban Ocon here. Another highlight: Alex Albon, who finished tenth in the Williams.
Mick Schumacher finished training at the Haas directly behind. However, an investigation by the sports commissioners is still pending, as he is said to have driven out of the pits when the red flag was waved. In any case, he had teammate Kevin Magnussen under control. The Dane was 13th, about 2 tenths behind Schumacher.
There is still room for improvement at Alfa-Sauber. Guanyu Zhou came out late after a technical problem to complete a timed lap and ended up 16th. Valtteri Bottas only managed 18th place.