Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Spa-Francorchamps, 2022

Russell leads Mercedes one-two as car problem brings Verstappen to an early stop

2022 Dutch Grand Prix first practice

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George Russell set the fastest time in opening practice at Zandvoort ahead of team mate Lewis Hamilton, while Max Verstappen’s Red Bull came to an early stop.

The world championship leader completed only six laps before grinding to a halt with a suspected gearbox problem in his RB18. His Red Bull team had made modifications to his gearbox ahead of the session, swapping the main shaft locking insert.

Russell was a quarter of a second quicker than team mate Hamilton with Carlos Sainz Jnr third-fastest for Ferrari.

It was a warm and clear start to the weekend, with air temperature 22C and track temperature just under 30 degrees around the seaside circuit as the opening session began. Most drivers took to the circuit on hard tyres, with Daniel Ricciardo setting the early pace with a 1’15.263 in his McLaren.

Just 10 minutes into the session, Verstappen went quickest with a 1’14.714, but suddenly lost drive exiting turn one, reporting a problem with his gearbox. The Red Bull rounded the banked corner of turn three and then stopped at turn four, bringing out the red flags and signalling the end of the championship leader’s practice session.

Mick Schumacher attempted to get away from the Haas pit box at the end of the pit lane and broke across the pit exit line when the red light appeared. However, the stewards chose not to investigate Schumacher further for exiting on track under a red flag after reviewing the replay.

When the session resumed shortly after, it was already time for teams to switch over to the soft tyres. Fernando Alonso immediately went quickest with the first lap on the soft tyres on a 1’13.635, which was later beaten by Norris by seventh tenths of a second.

Russell led the way in the opening practice session
Sainz then set the fastest time on his first effort on the softs, just under a tenth of a second quicker than the McLaren driver. Norris’s team mate Ricciardo jumped to third in the second McLaren, before having a trip across the gravel at turn 11 after a mistake under braking. Sergio Perez also ran wide, at the exit of turn nine, taking onto the grass an only just avoiding the barrier on the outside.

With under 15 minutes of the session remaining, Russell put his Mercedes on top of the times with a 1’12.455 on the softs, almost four tenths quicker than Sainz’s previous best time. Hamilton joined him by setting the second quickest time to move ahead of Sainz, almost a quarter of a second slower than Russell.

The Nercedes driver’s benchmark lasted until the chequered flag, seeing him end the session quickest ahead of Hamilton with Sainz third. The two McLarens of Norris and Ricciardo were fourth and fifth fastest, ahead of Charles Leclerc, Perez and the two Alpines of Alonso and Esteban Ocon. Alexander Albon completed the top 10 in his Williams.

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2022 Dutch Grand Prix first practice result

163George RussellMercedesW131’12.45529
244Lewis HamiltonMercedesW131’12.6950.24028
355Carlos Sainz JnrFerrariF1-751’12.8450.39030
44Lando NorrisMcLaren-MercedesMCL361’12.9290.47432
53Daniel RicciardoMcLaren-MercedesMCL361’13.0770.62231
616Charles LeclercFerrariF1-751’13.1270.67230
711Sergio PerezRed BullRB181’13.4160.96130
814Fernando AlonsoAlpine-RenaultA5221’13.6331.17831
931Esteban OconAlpine-RenaultA5221’13.9631.50833
1023Alexander AlbonWilliams-MercedesFW441’14.0631.60829
1147Mick SchumacherHaas-FerrariVF-221’14.1631.70829
1218Lance StrollAston Martin-MercedesAMR221’14.2571.80230
1320Kevin MagnussenHaas-FerrariVF-221’14.4051.95031
1410Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Red BullAT031’14.4742.01928
155Sebastian VettelAston Martin-MercedesAMR221’14.5002.04528
1624Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo-FerrariC421’14.5342.07918
1722Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Red BullAT031’14.6302.17531
1877Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo-FerrariC421’14.6952.24022
191Max VerstappenRed BullRB181’14.7142.2597
206Nicholas LatifiWilliams-MercedesFW441’15.1222.66733

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2022 Dutch Grand Prix

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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7 comments on “Russell leads Mercedes one-two as car problem brings Verstappen to an early stop”

  1. Fingers crossed the W13 can win a race this season. I like how the car is unique.

  2. The car seems to be either good or bad on a Friday and that switches around on Saturday.

    I too hope that Mercedes have a good car the whole weekend.

  3. I love this track, I could sit here watching cars just driving around this place all day because it looks spectacular & just looks like a really fun challenge.

    The bumps, The elevation change, The banking, How narrow it is & how there’s little room for error just makes it look so much more spectacular & exciting.

    Some of the modern tracks may produce more overtaking but even the best of them lack this sort of spectacle because of how wide they are, How relatively flat they are & how much run-off they have. This is the sort of spectacle, The sort of thrill ride I love to watch & would love to see more of.

    1. To be extremely flattering, you could even say it is the closest thing we have on the current calendar to the Nordschleife. And I actually think that now the cars can follow more closely, being difficult to overtake is a positive because it makes battles for position last far longer, defending is actually possible, and to pull off the pass will require real skill (as long as DRS isn’t too powerful).

      1. Great point.

        It certainly reminds me of that when I’m playing it on the old PS4!!

    2. I agree – 2 hours of hot laps would be better than the ‘race’ that will supposedly occur on Sunday.
      This place is just Monaco out in the countryside.

  4. Mercedes back on top again! Yuuuuuuck!

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