Logan Sargeant, Williams, Suzuka, 2024

Verstappen quickest as Sargeant crashes in opening practice session

Formula 1

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Red Bull set the pace in the opening practice session for the Japanese Grand Prix, while Logan Sargeant suffered a big crash in his Williams.

Max Verstappen produced the quickest time in a disrupted opening hour of running with 1’30.056. That left him just under two tenths of a second faster than team mate Sergio Perez with Carlos Sainz Jnr third for Ferrari.

But the session was marred by another crash for Williams when Sargeant ran wide and onto the grass at the Dunlop Curve, resulting in him spinning into the barriers. He damaged the front and rear of his FW46, giving his team another headache as they remain without a spare chassis following Alexander Albon’s crash in Australia two weeks ago.

Overcast skies and cool conditions greeted drivers for the first grand prix session at Suzuka to be held in the month of April. Red Bull junior Ayumu Iwasa had the privilege of driving Daniel Ricciardo’s RB for the opening practice session of the weekend and naturally was one of the first drivers on track when the session began. The start of Iwasa’s session was slightly delayed in the garage while mechanics worked on the car, but was eventually able to take to the circuit to run a full programme.

Lewis Hamilton was the quickest at the mid point of the session having been the only driver to complete a lap on the soft tyres at that point. Practice was then brought to a halt with a red flag after Sargeant ran wide at the Dunlop Curve and spun into the barriers.

After a delay of around 10 minutes, the session resumed with just under 20 minutes remaining. Many teams tried out the soft tyres, with Verstappen setting the quickest time of the session with a 1’30.056. The session ended with the world champion quickest, just under two tenths ahead of team mate Perez.

Sainz was third-fastest for Ferrari ahead of the two Mercedes drivers, George Russell and Hamilton. Charles Leclerc was sixth in the second Ferrari, with Fernando Alonso seventh.

The McLaren pair, who qualified strongly at this race last year, were further down the order as their first laps on soft tyres were interrupted by Sargeant’s crash. Oscar Piastri was eighth ahead of RB’s Yuki Tsunoda and Lando Norris completing the top 10 in the other McLaren. Iwasa was 16th during his free practice run out.

Naturally, Sargeant had the fewest laps in the session with just ten prior to his accident, while Lance Stroll had the fewest of drivers who completed the entire session with 17, despite carrying new parts on his Aston Martin. Hamilton, Piastri and Pierre Gasly all had the most laps, with 23.

Nico Hulkenberg received a black-and-white warning flag from race control for crossing the white pit exit line as he overtook Tsunoda while they joined the track together.

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2024 Japanese Grand Prix first practice result

P. # Driver Team Model Time Gap Laps
1 1 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda RBPT RB20 1’30.056 18
2 11 Sergio Perez Red Bull-Honda RBPT RB20 1’30.237 0.181 18
3 55 Carlos Sainz Jnr Ferrari SF-24 1’30.269 0.213 20
4 63 George Russell Mercedes W15 1’30.530 0.474 18
5 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W15 1’30.543 0.487 23
6 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF-24 1’30.558 0.502 18
7 14 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin-Mercedes AMR24 1’30.599 0.543 20
8 81 Oscar Piastri McLaren-Mercedes MCL38 1’31.165 1.109 23
9 22 Yuki Tsunoda RB-Honda RBPT 01 1’31.230 1.174 20
10 4 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes MCL38 1’31.240 1.184 22
11 31 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault A524 1’31.935 1.879 19
12 23 Alexander Albon Williams-Mercedes FW46 1’31.943 1.887 18
13 27 Nico Hulkenberg Haas-Ferrari VF-24 1’31.958 1.902 19
14 77 Valtteri Bottas Sauber-Ferrari C44 1’32.054 1.998 17
15 18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes AMR24 1’32.055 1.999 17
16 40 Ayumu Iwasa RB-Honda RBPT 01 1’32.103 2.047 22
17 10 Pierre Gasly Alpine-Renault A524 1’32.277 2.221 23
18 24 Zhou Guanyu Sauber-Ferrari C44 1’32.638 2.582 18
19 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari VF-24 1’32.803 2.747 21
20 2 Logan Sargeant Williams-Mercedes FW46 1’33.204 3.148 10

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2024 Japanese 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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10 comments on “Verstappen quickest as Sargeant crashes in opening practice session”

  1. Fortunately, only the front wing got damaged.

    1. & a bit of rear wing.

  2. Can Antonelli drive Williams this season itself? Does he have superlicense points?

    I am sure Mercedes would like that.

    1. He reached the points minimum last year, but can only obtain a super license in August, meaning from Dutch GP onwards at the very earliest, but that won’t happen anyway.

    2. He must be 18 years old and that will be later this year from Zandvoort on as Jere said.

  3. Derek Edwards
    5th April 2024, 7:04

    Is this the point where Albon sits out and Sargeant takes over his car?

    1. I know you’re sarcastic, but the car goes to the quickest driver!

  4. Urvaksh (@thedoctor03)
    5th April 2024, 7:27

    Good job by Iwasa, nine tenths slower albeit on a track he knows well. Liked the use of “naturally” in a few places in the article

  5. So, free practice 2 – non-event?

  6. It’s so hard to be a Williams fan.

Comments are closed.