Japanese GP: Max Verstappen goes P1 as Williams face anxious wait after Sargeant crash

April 5, 2024

Max Verstappen set the rhythm in Friday’s initial practice for the Japanese GP in front of Sergio Perez, yet for Williams it was one more FP1 with another accident.

Logan Sargeant drew out the warnings when he lost it at Turn 7 leaving Williams with a restless trust that the vehicle will be taken back to the carport to check the body as they actually don’t have an extra.

In what could be the main dry meeting of the end of the week, Esteban Ocon whined about a “risky” Oscar Piastri as they passed on their carports to start their FP1 programs, George Russell wasn’t content with the pit path line, Lando Norris went fastest of all, and Spear Walk tested Aston Martin’s new update pack.

With only one of the new bundle accessible, which incorporates reprofiled sidepods, Aston Martin selected to bolt that onto Walk’s vehicle with Fernando Alonso apparently set to accept his in front of second practice, or at the most recent Saturday’s last practice.

Over at Red Bull, there were early issues for Max Verstappen with an issue on the back left of his sidepod. As his colleague Sergio Perez joined the activity, going quickest with a 1:31.8, Verstappen was trapped in the carport.

It didn’t take long for Red Bull to fix the issue with the Dutchman setting out his initial coordinated lap 15 minutes into the meeting. He went 10th, 0.8s down on the P1 time that again had a place with Norris. RB test pilot Ayumu Iwasa, swapping Daniel Ricciardo for the initial practice hour, timed a 1:34.8 putting the Japanese driver eighteenth on the timesheets.

Nonetheless, neither Walk nor Alex Albon had set times. And afterward Verstappen went fastest! Setting out a 1:31.4, the Dutchman pipped Norris by three-tenths of a second with Alonso third at the midway imprint in front of Perez, George Russell and Charles Leclerc. Walk around the reconsidered AMR24 was eleventh fastest, a second off the speed.

Lewis Hamilton, the first to trade to the delicate tires, went fastest with a 1:30.5, and out came the warnings as Logan Sargeant crashed his Williams. The American got the finish of the grass, sending his Williams turning into the hindrance at Turn 7 nose first in a hard hit before the vehicle twirled around for an optional hit with the back.

“Please accept my apologies, man” the Williams driver told his group. Back in progress with 18 minutes left at work, the drivers hustled each other for position on their out-laps with Verstappen and others trading to the delicate Pirellis.

The supreme Best on the planet hit the front with a 1:30.0 with Perez up to second, 0.181s down. Australian GP victor Carlos Sainz was the closest challenger to Red Bull in third spot, two-tenths down on Verstappen, and completed FP1 in front of Russell, Hamilton who split the Ferraris with Leclerc in 6th.

Iwasa was sixteenth quickest, his best time eight-tenths down in RB colleague Yuki Tsunoda who was up in 10th spot.