Lewis Hamilton goes fastest in first practice for the Dutch GP but session is severely disrupted as 35 minutes are lost to help recover Sebastian Vettel’s stricken Aston Martin… with the German forced to grab an extinguisher to put out a fire on his car!
Lewis Hamilton showed Mercedes why he was still top dog in the team after going fastest in the first practice session for Sunday’s Dutch Grand Prix.
The seven-time world champion was in action for the first time after it was revealed that his team-mate for next season at the team would be British compatriot George Russell – much to the disdain of the 36-year-old.
Hamilton just edged out his title rival Max Verstappen by fewer than a tenth, with Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz completing the top three in the morning running on the Dutch coast.
Lewis Hamilton was fastest in the first practice session for Mercedes at the Dutch Grand Prix
Hamilton will be looking to upset Dutch fans backing home hero Max Verstappen this weekend
The one-hour session though was heavily disrupted though after issues stemmed trying to recover Sebastian Vettel’s broken down Aston Martin.
After a engine failure, the four-time world champion turned into a fireman as he put out a small fire at the rear of his car with a nearby fire extinguisher nearby.
However under the red flags which stopped the session there proved difficulties in removing the German’s car from the circuit, due to the car being live electrically making it unsafe to be touched.
Sebastian Vettel grabs a fire extinguisher to put out a fire at the back of his Aston Martin
The German’s car suffered an engine failure before stopping on the track at Zandvoort
After a 35 minute delay under red flags, the car was eventually removed from the circuit
With Zandvoort making its first return to F1 since 1985, the loss in time proved a huge blow for the teams looking to gather data.
Hamilton eventually set his fastest time once running resumed six minutes from the end.
It should be a confidence boost for the Brit who can expect a hostile reception from around 70,000 fans this weekend, most of who will be cheering on home hero and chief title rival Verstappen.
Meanwhile, Russel placed 15th in the morning in his Williams following on from his first podium at the farcical Belgian Grand Prix on Sunday where just two laps under the safety car were run.
DUTCH GP – FIRST PRACTICE
1 Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes 1:11.500
2 Verstappen (Hol) Red Bull 1:11.597
3 Sainz (Spa) Ferrari 1:11.601
4 Leclerc (Mon) Ferrari 1:11.623
5 Bottas (Fin) Mercedes 1:11.738
6 Alonso (Spa) Alpine 1:12.158
7 Ocon (Fra) Alpine 1:12.231
8 Giovinazzi (Ita) A. Romeo 1:12.359
9 Stroll (Can) Aston Martin 1:12.431
10 Gasly (Fra) AlphaTauri 1:12.515
11 Norris (Gbr) McLaren 1:12.679
12 Latifi (Can) Williams 1:12.907
13 Raikkonen (Fin) A. Romeo 1:13.053
14 Ricciardo (Aus) McLaren 1:13.081
15 Russell (Gbr) Williams 1:13.181
16 Perez (Mex) Red Bull 1:13.328
17 Mazepin (Raf) Haas 1:13.516
18 Schumacher (Ger) Haas 1:13.847
19 Vettel (Ger) Aston Martin 1:15.984
20 Tsunoda (Jpn) AlphaTauri no time
Verstappen and Hamilton are both driving at Zandvoort for the first time in their careers
Over 70,000 supporters will be expected on Sunday to cheer on home favourite Verstappen
Bottas, who Russell is set to replace as Hamilton’s team-mate next term, was fifth quickest.
In the frantic closing moments, Lando Norris had to take evasive action on the entrance to the right-hander Turn 13 after Esteban Ocon blocked the British driver.
‘What is this guy doing,’ said Norris. ‘He just pushed me off the track.’ Norris finished 11th, 1.179 sec off the pace.
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