Max Verstappen fastest in practice for Miami GP despite ‘driving on egg shells’

The Red Bull driver saw off McLaren’s Oscar Piastri by 0.105 seconds.

Philip Duncan
Friday 03 May 2024 19:11 BST
Max Verstappen finished fastest in practice (Wilfredo Lee/AP)
Max Verstappen finished fastest in practice (Wilfredo Lee/AP) (AP)

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

Editor

Max Verstappen finished fastest in practice for the Miami Grand Prix despite complaining that he was driving on “egg shells”.

Verstappen has dominated the season so far, winning four of the opening five rounds, prior to this weekend’s race in the Sunshine State.

However, the Dutch driver spent the one-hour running ahead of qualifying for Saturday’s sprint race occupying the bottom places of the leaderboard.

But in the closing moments, Verstappen put his Red Bull at the top of the order, seeing off McLaren’s Oscar Piastri by 0.105 seconds.

Carlos Sainz finished third for Ferrari, one place ahead of Mercedes’ George Russell. Lewis Hamilton finished seventh with Lando Norris 16th in his McLaren.

For the majority of the opening session of the weekend, Verstappen appeared to be struggling with the handling of his Red Bull.

“The tyres are way too hot, and I have no grip,” he said after running off the road at Turn 17. “It is like driving on egg shells.”

But despite his complaints, the 26-year-old hauled his machine to the practice summit ahead of qualifying which takes place at 4:00pm (9:00pm BST).

The running was suspended for eight minutes after Charles Leclerc spun out in the opening moments.Leclerc lost control of his Ferrari at slow speed through Turn 16. With his scarlet machine blocking the temporary track, the red flags were deployed.

The Monegasque was forced to watch the session unfold at the back of the Ferrari garage, missing crucial time to prepare for the rest of the weekend.

Mercedes have brought an upgraded package to Florida, and Russell finished within two tenths of Verstappen. Hamilton was four tenths adrift.

McLaren also have an upgraded car here, but Norris bemoaned a steering issue and was nine tenths back, while Fernando Alonso could manage only 19th for Aston Martin.

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