Charles Leclerc Tops Friday Practice at 2021 Dutch GP

(Image credit: @ScuderiaFerrari)

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc emerged fastest in Friday Practice for 2021 Dutch GP as Formula One returned to Zandvoort for the first time since 1985.

On a day in which three red flags heavily disrupted running, home favourite – Max Verstappen endured a difficult day as he was outpaced in FP1 by Lewis Hamilton then his fast soft tyre simulation in FP2 was wrecked by a stoppage as Leclerc topped the afternoon session.

Mercedes however were hit with reliability issues as two of their powered cars grinded to a halt across both sessions, leaving questions over their power units across the remainder of this weekend.

Now here is a roundup of Friday Practice as F1 enjoyed a chaotic return to Zandvoort after a 36-year absence.



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Ferrari teammates, Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc were first out on track but it would be AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda who would be the first to make a mistake, as the Japanese youngster spun at Turn Nine but recovered to the pits under his own power only to not return for rest of this session.

Sainz briefly set the first benchmark of 1m 14.610 but was immediately displaced by Lando Norris who went 0.859 seconds quicker, only for home favourite – Verstappen to go top on hard tyres with 1m 13.045 as Daniel Ricciardo slotted into second.

Valtteri Bottas then displaced Verstappen two minutes later by 0.0.024s, only for the Dutchman to regain top spot just two minutes afterwards with 1m 12.850, before improving by 0.095s on his next flier.

Norris however displaced Verstappen by 0.076s with a 1m 12.679 which proved to be the fastest time ahead of Verstappen, Bottas, Hamilton and Pierre Gasly out of the opening runs, as Sebastian Vettel grinded to a halt at Turn One with a power unit failure in the 17th minute.

Stewards consequently waved the red flag two minutes later which lasted for 36 minutes as marshals and Aston Martin staff carefully removed Vettel’s car, as a result of the car’s Energy Recovery System (ERS) still being electrically still alive.

Once the session resumed with five minutes left, there was a frantic stampede out of the pits to get in a banker soft-tyre flier as everyone bar Vettel and Tsunoda ventured back out.

Come the checkered flag, it was Hamilton who emerged quickest with 1m 11.500 as Verstappen found himself just 0.097s behind his title rival in second, as Sainz, Leclerc and Bottas rounded out the top five.

Norris meanwhile failed to improve on his best lap time set on medium tyres as he fell to 11th at the checkered flag, before narrowly avoiding contact with Esteban Ocon on the run to Kumhobocht aka Turn 13.

Position Driver Team Time
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m 11.500
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull + 0.097
3 Carlos Sainz Ferrari + 0.101
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari + 0.123
5 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes + 0.238
6 Fernando Alonso Alpine + 0.658
7 Esteban Ocon Alpine + 0.731
8 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo + 0.859
9 Lance Stroll Aston Martin + 0.931
10 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri + 1.015
11 Lando Norris McLaren + 1.179
12 Nicholas Latifi Williams + 1.407
13 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo + 1.553
14 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren + 1.581
15 George Russell Williams + 1.681
16 Sergio Perez Red Bull + 1.828
17 Nikita Mazepin Haas + 2.016
18 Mick Schumacher Haas + 2.347
19 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin + 4.484
20 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri No Time Set



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The start of FP2 was delayed five minutes due to the overrun of F3 Qualifying preceding this session, with several drivers swiftly hitting the track once the track went green.

Bottas immediately set the early benchmark of 1m 11.664 which was 0.247s quicker than Hamilton, who then grinded to a halt at Turn Eight with a power unit issue within the oil system, thus causing a nine minute red flag as marshals recovered the Brit’s Mercedes.

Once the session resumed, nobody managed to get close to Bottas’ time until the soft tyre Qualifying simulations began, as Esteban Ocon posted 1m 11.076 on his first soft flier to go top from Bottas.

Max Verstappen saw his Qualifying simulation ruined by a red flag on the half hour mark as Nikita Mazepin spun on entry to Hans Ernst Bocht and beached his Haas in the gravel trap, which caused a second red flag.

Ferrari hadn’t sent both of their drivers out onto the track at the time so were able to deliver their Qualifying simulations upon resumption of the session, as Leclerc topped the session with 1m 10.902 as Sainz finished 0.154s behind in second in a Ferrari one-two finish with Ocon, Bottas and Verstappen rounding out top five.

Elsewhere, Hamilton finished an impressive 11th quickest overall despite missing over 50 minutes of the session, with his single fast lap coming in the opening minutes.

Position Driver Team Time
1 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1m 10.902
2 Carlos Sainz Ferrari + 0.154
3 Esteban Ocon Alpine + 0.172
4 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes + 0.230
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull + 0.362
6 Fernando Alonso Alpine + 0.378
7 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri + 0.560
8 Lando Norris McLaren + 0.586
9 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo + 0.776
10 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin + 0.811
11 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes + 1.009
12 Sergio Perez Red Bull + 1.044
13 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri + 1.194
14 Lance Stroll Aston Martin + 1.234
15 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren + 1.255
16 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo + 1.304
17 Mick Schumacher Haas + 1.705
18 Nicholas Latifi Williams + 1.708
19 Nikita Mazepin Haas + 1.933
20 George Russell Williams + 1.953

3 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Charles Leclerc Tops Friday Practice at 2021 Dutch GP - Free Independent News
  2. Charles Leclerc Tops Friday Practice at 2021 Dutch GP - Arab News
  3. Mercedes Believe Max Verstappen Was “just too quick” In Zandvoort – Sport Grill

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