F1 Grand Prix practice results: Hamilton fastest in Saudi Arabia

Lewis Hamilton was fastest in both sessions on the opening day of Saudi Arabian Grand Prix practice at Jeddah Corniche Circuit on Friday, the 21st round of the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship.

F1 Grand Prix practice results: Hamilton fastest in Saudi Arabia

Hamilton beat his title rival Max Verstappen of Red Bull in FP1 by 0.056s and was then 0.061s ahead of Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas under the floodlights in FP2.

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix FP1 results: Hamilton fastest from Verstappen

Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap Interval km/h
1 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 21 1'29.786     247.548
2 Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull 23 1'29.842 0.056 0.056 247.394
3 Finland Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 24 1'30.009 0.223 0.167 246.935
4 France Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 28 1'30.263 0.477 0.254 246.240
5 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 27 1'30.318 0.532 0.055 246.090
6 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr Ferrari 26 1'30.564 0.778 0.246 245.422
7 Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari 26 1'30.600 0.814 0.036 245.324
8 Australia Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 25 1'30.608 0.822 0.008 245.302
9 Spain Fernando Alonso Alpine 27 1'30.842 1.056 0.234 244.670
10 Germany Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 25 1'30.886 1.100 0.044 244.552
11 Mexico Sergio Perez Red Bull 27 1'30.960 1.174 0.074 244.353
12 France Esteban Ocon Alpine 29 1'31.023 1.237 0.063 244.184
13 United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren 23 1'31.029 1.243 0.006 244.168
14 Canada Lance Stroll Aston Martin 25 1'31.044 1.258 0.015 244.128
15 Japan Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 26 1'31.099 1.313 0.055 243.980
16 Finland Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 26 1'31.296 1.510 0.197 243.454
17 United Kingdom George Russell Williams 28 1'31.343 1.557 0.047 243.328
18 Germany Mick Schumacher Haas 24 1'31.525 1.739 0.182 242.845
19 Canada Nicholas Latifi Williams 27 1'31.821 2.035 0.296 242.062
20 Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin Haas 23 1'33.464 3.678 1.643 237.807

What happened in Free Practice 1?

First practice in Qatar took place in daytime, meaning it was not fully representative of either qualifying or the race, both of which will occur in cooler conditions at night.

Verstappen spent the early part of FP1 on the hard compound tyre, setting the early pace at 1m30.920s – over half a second up on Hamilton who started on the softs. Verstappen improved his time to 1m30.014s after 25 minutes.

Mercedes ran again on softs with 20 minutes remaining, with Bottas jumping to the top on 1m30.009s, pipping Verstappen’s hard-tyred time by 0.005s.

As track conditions improved towards then end, Hamilton then unleashed a lap of 1m29.786s – gaining most of his time in the middle sector of the track. Verstappen didn’t improve his time on his first run on softs and suffered a big moment on the kerbs at Turn 23.

After a spat with Esteban Ocon at Turn 1, Verstappen recovered his composure to go second fastest on 1m29.842s, 0.056s slower than Hamilton – although he did set the fastest first sector time overall.

Bottas stayed third, ahead of Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri), an impressive Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo) and Carlos Sainz (Ferrari).

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix FP2 results: Hamilton fastest from Bottas

Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap Interval km/h
1 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 22 1'29.018     249.684
2 Finland Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 23 1'29.079 0.061 0.061 249.513
3 France Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 22 1'29.099 0.081 0.020 249.457
4 Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull 20 1'29.213 0.195 0.114 249.138
5 Spain Fernando Alonso Alpine 21 1'29.441 0.423 0.228 248.503
6 France Esteban Ocon Alpine 22 1'29.555 0.537 0.114 248.187
7 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr Ferrari 24 1'29.589 0.571 0.034 248.092
8 Japan Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 20 1'29.597 0.579 0.008 248.070
9 Mexico Sergio Perez Red Bull 22 1'29.768 0.750 0.171 247.598
10 Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari 23 1'29.772 0.754 0.004 247.587
11 Australia Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 22 1'29.968 0.950 0.196 247.047
12 United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren 19 1'30.004 0.986 0.036 246.949
13 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 23 1'30.110 1.092 0.106 246.658
14 Finland Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 24 1'30.276 1.258 0.166 246.204
15 Canada Lance Stroll Aston Martin 22 1'30.442 1.424 0.166 245.753
16 Germany Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 22 1'30.502 1.484 0.060 245.590
17 United Kingdom George Russell Williams 24 1'30.506 1.488 0.004 245.579
18 Germany Mick Schumacher Haas 20 1'30.652 1.634 0.146 245.183
19 Canada Nicholas Latifi Williams 23 1'31.039 2.021 0.387 244.141
20 Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin Haas 20 1'31.629 2.611 0.590 242.569

What happened in Free Practice 2?

Under the lights in FP2, Verstappen set the early pace on medium tyres at 1m29.706s and, although briefly being usurped by Yuki Tsunoda’s AlphaTauri, Max improved to 1m29.290s after 15 minutes.

Bottas took P1 away with a lap of 1m29.079s, which was soon topped by Hamilton on 1m29.018s, 0.061s faster – both still running the medium tyre.

The majority of teams switched to the soft tyre just after the halfway mark, but the flurry of improvements failed to follow as expected – partly due to slow cars getting in the way of rivals on fast laps, while Verstappen complained of keeping temperature in his fronts.

Gasly jumped up to third, 0.081s off the pace, on softs. Verstappen stayed out for a third run on the same soft tyres, improving his time but staying fourth – almost two tenths off Hamilton's pace.

Neither Mercedes improved on softs but held their 1-2 nonetheless ahead of Gasly and Verstappen. The Alpines of Fernando Alonso and Ocon were next up from Sainz and Tsunoda.

The session ended five minutes early when Leclerc smashed his Ferrari into the barriers at Turn 22, wrecking its right-hand side.

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