Fastest Russell and Merck on Friday in Miami

Dan McCarthy

Mercedes driver George Russell beat the timesheet, so there was plenty of drama and action on the first day of practice at the brand new Miami Street Circuit.

The young Englishman stood on the front lines all day long. The Mercedes driver was second in practice 1 and beat the timesheet in practice 2.

Charles Leclerc was second fastest just 0.106 seconds ago, as some of Ferrari’s championship rivals had problems.

Teammate Carlos Sainz locked the rear brakes and spun in on turn 14 in just 18 minutes of practice 2. The crash forced the Spaniards to pull on the left front wheel, damaging the car and sitting on the rest of the session.

After winning the latest race in Imola, world champion Max Verstappen did not complete the lap in his second session.

The team chose to make a precautionary gearbox change just before fp2 and was forced to miss the first half of the session.

When the Dutch went out on the track, Red Bull Racing drivers noticed that the steering wheel was incredibly heavy and had hydraulic problems. He returned to the lane but was out of the session.

Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez finished the day as the third fastest man, 0.212 seconds behind Russell’s set time.

Lewis Hamilton couldn’t match his young teammate who finished the day before he finished the day 0.241 seconds before the fourth.

Mercedes seems to have taken a step forward this weekend with many new updates, including a new low downforce rear wing, a revised front wing and a beam wing.

Fernando Alonso pushed the limits as usual. With his alpine he closed the top five.

Next were Lando Norris of McLaren, Pierre Guanyu, Zhou Guanyu, Esteban Ocon and Kevin Magnussen of Haas.

Daniel Ricciardo of Australia finished the day just behind Sainz in

Charles Leclerc was second fastest on day one and his closest title rival missed valuable track time – Image: Motorsport Image

In Exercise 1, championship leader Leclerc was the fastest, despite a small spin. A positive day for Mercedes began with Russell setting the second fastest time, just 0.071 seconds behind the pace.

Verstappen finished the session in the third fastest 0.179 seconds, but Verstappen missed most of Exercise 1 after touching the wall at the exit of Turn 16.

AlphaTauri driver Pierre Guthrie closed the top five of Sainz, Leclerc’s teammate, but didn’t actually get a soft tire time on the board1.

He was lucky to spin late on turn 4 and not hit the wall on the way. But sadly, he picked up a punk in the process thanks to a big lockup to Turn 1.

Verstappen and Sainz are standing on their very hind legs after Friday’s action.

The seventh fastest for Williams was Albon, ahead of Lewis Hamilton. He had to stop running on soft tires when he was caught in a traffic jam.

Haas Kevin Magnussen and Ricardo conclude the top ten.

There were multiple spins around the brand new 19-turn course, but especially in Exercise 1, Barteribotta was the most caught and spun backwards towards the wall. The damage was serious enough for him to miss the whole of Exercise 2.

Fastest Russell and Merck on Friday in Miami

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