Formula 1: Saudi Arabia, training: Leclerc crashes, Hamilton in front

Formula 1 is celebrating its premiere on Friday in Jeddah, and Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas then sums up his first impression of the new high-speed circuit in a nutshell: “This circuit is pretty hardcore! But it’s fun and provides a nice adrenaline rush.”
The Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc is particularly noticeable. Monegasse is the first to be rudely thrown off the winding high-speed train from the German architectural firm Tilke: In the fast turn 22, Leclerc loses the rear when turning and dismantles his Ferrari in the gang. The damage to the car is immense, but Leclerc is fine and after a check at the medical center he quickly returns to the Ferrari box to explain his mishap to the mechanics.

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“This circuit does not forgive mistakes, we have already seen that today,” explains Mercedes’ chief race engineer Andrew Shovlin after the first day of training. With a view to the Black Arrows, which are favored because of the high proportion of full throttle of 83 percent, the Briton says: “During the day it was better for us when the track was even warmer. In the night session we definitely had more problems, especially on the soft tires. Ours Longrun was strong though, so the basic performance is good. “

Lewis Hamilton was the fastest man on Friday

For world champion Lewis Hamilton it was enough to set the best time in both training sessions. After title rival Max Verstappen Hamilton comes close to 56 thousandths at the start, the Dutchman has to admit defeat by two tenths under floodlights, only finishing fourth behind Bottas in the second Mercedes and AlphaTauri man Pierre Gasly – even though both Mercedes drivers are their fastest Turn the lap on the theoretically slower medium tire.

However, after the session, Hamilton explains: “It went better with the medium and hard tires. The soft one is perhaps a little too soft here for the many high-speed passages.” Because the Mercedes star has to break off his fastest attempt in heavy traffic, there is still no clear picture for him: “We weren’t that fast over one lap, but the long run pace didn’t look bad.”

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However, the problem with traffic worries Hamilton. There are several hair-raising scenes on Friday, because slow cars are loitering on the track, while the competitors come shot from behind at over 300 km / h. “The track is incredibly fast and offers a lot of grip. Once you get into the rhythm, it is very nice. The traffic here is much worse than anywhere else. It’s like in Monaco, only the speed with which you run up here makes it , for making it a little dangerous, “says Hamilton.

At Red Bull, Jeddah’s narrow guard rail channel also provides hope. “Overall, the track and the corners are a bit tighter than we thought after the simulations. So it’s not just about the horsepower, as feared beforehand. For us that’s really encouraging, because the one or two tenths that lying between the cars can be found on a kind of track, “explains Red Bull team boss Christian Horner.

What Red Bull and Mercedes share after practice are tire concerns: “We felt very strong on the hard tires, but the softer the compound became, the more diva-like the car became as soon as we tried to get the most out of it. That we have to analyze tonight. ” Horner also knows: “If you listen to the comments of the others, we are definitely not alone. Everyone has difficulties in finding the right window. If that succeeds, there is a lot of performance.”

Strong: Mick Schumacher hit a Williams twice

Friday is far less promising for Horner’s ex-protégé Sebastian Vettel. The Aston Martin star is one place behind stable mate Lance Stroll only 16th, 1.484 seconds behind the best time. Compatriot Mick Schumacher is 18th in the Haas, only two positions behind Vettel, beating not only teammate Nikita Mazepin but also Williams driver Nicholas Latifi as he did in the first Jeddah training session.

Formula 1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia
2. Free practice:

1. Lewis Hamilton (Great Britain) – Mercedes 1: 29.018 min.
2. Valtteri Bottas (Finland) – Mercedes +0.061 sec.
3. Pierre Gasly (France) – Alpha Tauri +0.081
4. Max Verstappen (Netherlands) – Red Bull +0.195
5. Fernando Alonso (Spain) – Alpine +0.423
6. Esteban Ocon (France) – Alpine +0.537
7. Carlos Sainz Jr. (Spain) – Ferrari +0.571
8. Yuki Tsunoda (Japan) – Alpha Tauri +0.579
9. Sergio Perez (Mexico) – Red Bull +0.750
10. Charles Leclerc (Monaco) – Ferrari +0.754
11. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) – McLaren +0.950
12. Lando Norris (Great Britain) – McLaren +0.986
13. Antonio Giovinazzi (Italy) – Alfa Romeo +1.092
14. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) – Alfa Romeo +1.258
15. Lance Stroll (Canada) – Aston Martin +1.424
16. Sebastian Vettel (Heppenheim) – Aston Martin +1.484
17. George Russell (Great Britain) – Williams +1,488
18. Mick Schumacher (Gland / Switzerland) – Haas +1.634
19. Nicholas Latifi (Canada) – Williams +2,021
20. Nikita Masepin (Russia) – Haas +2,611

Formula 1 on TV

Formula 1 will run at Sky in 2021. The station is setting up its own TV station for the new era: Sky Formula 1. Here there is motorsport 24 hours a day. All training sessions, all qualifying sessions, all races always live and without commercial breaks. Sky also broadcasts the Formula 2, Formula 3 and Porsche Supercup races. The program also includes historical races and special programs. You can find more information here

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