F1: Hamilton uses ‘rocket’ engine to lead Verstappen in opening practice

Lewis Hamilton used his ‘rocket’ Mercedes engine to turn a lap of 1m29.786s to lead his arch-rival in opening practice for the Saudi Arabian GP in Jeddah.

Max Verstappen was 2nd quick in his #33 Red Bull Honda 0.056s back.  The Dutchman improved on his very last effort there, on soft tires that were eight laps old. He got to within 0.056s of pace-setter Hamilton.

Verstappen impressed early on with his hard tire laps, but as the temperatures began to drop with the imminent sun set, it looked like Mercedes just had a little bit more pace – especially on the soft rubber.

Hamilton is still sandbagging, like he and his team always do in Practice 1 so just wait until they turn up the HP on the ”rocket’ engine.  Verstappen likely won’t have a chance.

Valtteri Bottas was 3rd quick, 0.223s behind his teammate.

Pierre Gasly was 4th quick for AlphaTauri, 0.477s back while Antonio Giovinazzi was an impressive 5th for Alfa Romeo, 0.532s back.

Portion of Jeddah Circuit aerial view

So Jeddah has seen its first running, and by and large the drivers behaved themselves out there. The track was dirty to start with but soon started to clean up, and everyone did well to keep out of the barriers.

Once again Sergio Perez struggled with respect to his teammate, winding a disappointing P11.

Practice 1 Results

1 Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes AMG 1m29.786s +0.000s 21
2 Max Verstappen NED Red Bull Racing 1m29.842s +0.056 22
3 Valtteri Bottas FIN Mercedes AMG 1m30.009s +0.223 24
4 Pierre Gasly FRA Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda 1m30.263s +0.477 28
5 Antonio Giovinazzi GBR Alfa Romeo Racing Orlen 1m30.318s +0.532 27
6 Carlos Sainz ESP Scuderia Ferrari 1m30.564s +0.778 26
7 Charles Leclerc MON Scuderia Ferrari 1m30.600s +0.814 26
8 Daniel Ricciardo AUS McLaren F1 Team 1m30.608s +0.822 25
9 Fernando Alonso CHI Alpine F1 Team 1m30.842s +1.056 27
10 Sebastian Vettel GER Aston Martin 1m30.886s +1.100 25
11 Sergio Perez MEX Red Bull Racing 1m30.960s +1.174 27
12 Esteban Ocon FRA Alpine F1 Team 1m31.023s +1.237 28
13 Lando Norris GBR McLaren F1 Team 1m31.029s +1.243 23
14 Lance Stroll CAN Aston Martin 1m31.044s +1.258 25
15 Yuki Tsunoda JPN Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda 1m31.099s +1.313 26
16 Kimi Raikkonen FIN Alfa Romeo Racing Orlen 1m31.296s +1.510 26
17 George Russell ISR Williams Racing 1m31.343s +1.557 28
18 Mick Schumacher GER Uralkali Haas F1 Team 1m31.525s +1.739 24
19 Nicholas Latifi CAN Williams Racing 1m31.821s +2.035 27
20 Nikita Mazepin RUS Uralkali Haas F1 Team 1m33.464s +3.678 23