Russell and Mercedes find colors in Miami, Verstappen in the garage

George Russell set the fastest time in the second free practice session at the Miami Grand Prix overnight.

George Russell and Mercedes lead ahead of Leclerc, Verstappen in the garage: the first two free practice sessions of the Miami Formula 1 Grand Prix, which opened for the first time this weekend, offered their share of twists and turns .

First surprise for the heat and humidity in Miami: the best time is for the British Russell, who, the only driver who has passed less than 1 min 30 seconds, overtakes the Monegasque Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), competition leader. championship, 106 / 1000th. “We always knew that the heat conditions here in Miami would be better suited to our carRussell was followed by the two drivers, followed by Sergio Pérez, author of the third fastest time at the wheel of his Red Bull, 212/1000 by Russell.

Hydraulic problem for Verstappen

His teammate, the Dutchman Max Verstappen, who suffered several technical problems during the day, spent most of the tests in the garage, which is never ideal … especially on a new track. The reigning world champion, summoned to the pit for a management problem as soon as he returned to the track in free practice 2, saw one of his rear brakes light up.

We had some hydraulic problems, as soon as I got out I couldn’t drive the car and the brakes were burning (…) We don’t have much information and data about my car, which could be difficult. for the classification and the race“, Has already warned the driver, currently second in the championship.

The Dutchman, who had just changed his gearbox after having already lost a part of the free practice 1, then the first part of this second session, will not mark any time at the end of the latter.

Since the start of the season, Verstappen has been forced to retire twice in the GP – in Bahrain and Australia – due to mechanical problems. These mistakes made him lose valuable points in the championship against his rival Leclerc.

Max Verstappen. Xavi Bonilla / PANORAMICA

Mercedes in the Promised Land?

At the Miami International Highway circuit, riders will have to face a new track, as the queen of motorsport had never landed before in the city of Florida known for its beaches and palm trees.

And in this match, Mercedes, struggling since the start of the season after the aerodynamic change of F1, seems to be doing well at the moment judging by the performance of its drivers.

In addition to Russell, who set the fastest time, the reigning world champion team, who made a number of improvements to the fins of their cars in Miami, saw Lewis Hamilton snatch the fourth fastest time.

Enough to forget Imola’s nightmare at the end of April, where the multiple world champion of the discipline finished 13th? “Today they are just tests and everyone is doing something different, without showing their true rhythm, so we will not get carried awayHamilton tempered.

After the 3rd hour of testing, starting at 1pm local time (7pm in Paris) on Saturday, we will have to wait for the qualifications at 4pm (10pm in Paris) to see the strength. present.

Behind them, the Frenchmen Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) and Esteban Ocon (Alpine) sign the 7th and 9th respectively.

In addition to Verstappen, three drivers also had to interrupt training: Valtteri Bottas after hitting a wall with his Alfa Romeo in practice 1, the Spaniard Carlos Sainz (Ferrari), then the fastest of the second session , also had to hang the same. reasons. Canadian Nicholas Latifi (Williams) suffered a mechanical problem.

The 5.41 km long GP circuit is built around the Hard Rock Stadium, home of the Miami Dolphins football team (whose CEO Tom Garfinkel is the promoter of the GP) and the Tennis Open. of Miami, located in the heart of the device.

To increase the show on the track, the track includes “error generators”, Which, according to the organizers, weredesigned to allow cars to get closer to each otherand thus increase the chances of advancing.

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