George Russell topped the timing charts in the first practice session of the Miami GP for Mercedes after the session was red flagged for a crash by Haas’ Nico Hulkenberg.
The Haas driver finished the session in 5th despite the crash at Turn 3 after he lost the rear end of the newly resurfaced Miami International Autodrome track with about 25 minutes left of running, with the car sustaining heavy damage to the front right wheel.
George Russell had early struggles during the session after coming on the radio to complain to his engineers about steering issues with the Mercedes.
Despite the engineers saying the team would lose too much time in the session by coming in to repair the issue, Russell was insistent, and came in after just five minutes of the session back to the garage to replace the steering rack.
The Mercedes driver returned to the track eventually, and topped the timing charts in the final laps of the session, around two tenths faster than his teammate Lewis Hamilton as the circuit began to pick up across the session.
A number of drivers struggled with the grip on the track, which was redone following complaints after the first edition of the race in Florida in 2022.
Off-line the cars lost significant grip, with several drivers heading into the run-off and others, such as Williams‘ Alex Albon having to pull off stunning saves to prevent running into the wall.
Verstappen and Leclerc chasing
Charles Leclerc was the next fastest driver on track for Ferrari, with the polesitter in Baku just edging out Red Bull’s Max Verstappen for the best of the rest behind the Mercedes pair
Leclerc’s teammate Carlos Sainz was next back in 5th, ahead of the Alpine of Pierre Gasly, with the Aston Martin pair of Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll in seventh and eighth.
Hulkenberg was ninth overall despite his early crash, with Esteban Ocon rounding out the top 10 ahead of the second Red Bull of Sergio Perez back in 11th.