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Verstappen tops first practice for Dutch home Grand Prix

Published August 25,2023

Champion Max Verstappen of Red Bull topped the first practice session for his Dutch home Formula One Grand Prix on Friday.

The Dutchman clocked 1 minute 11.852 seconds around the 4.259-kilometre Circuit Zandvoort to beat Fernando Alonso of Aston Martin by 0.278 second and Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes by 0.373 second.

Sergio Perez in the other Red Bull was fourth, while Williams had a strong and surprising performance, finishing fifth and seventh with Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant respectively.

Ferrari were 16th with Charles Leclerc and 19th with Robert Shwartzman, who replaced Carlos Sainz as part of the mandated rookie sessions.

The session was briefly suspended with some 18 minutes left after Nico Hülkenberg of Haas spun and made contact with the barriers at Turn 13.

Verstappen is chasing a record-equalling ninth straight victory. The milestone currently belongs to four-time world champion and former Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel.

The now retired driver won all of the final nine races in 2013 to claim his fourth consecutive title.

Verstappen tops the drivers' championship, 125 points ahead of team-mate Sergio Perez.

The Dutchman has won 10 of the 12 races so far, the other two won by Perez as Red Bull has dominated the season.

Second practice session is later on Friday, with qualifying taking place on Saturday ahead of Sunday's showdown.