July 23, 2024

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Lewis Hamilton top as dutch grand prix first practice delayed by vettel car problem

In a rather shortened first practice session at the Dutch Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton led title contender Max Verstappen.

Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin stopped on track with a suspected engine issue, interrupting the hour-long practice for over 40 minutes.

The car’s electrical system was still on, delaying its return to the pits. With only six minutes remaining, the race resumed, and Hamilton beat Verstappen by 0.097 seconds.

Lando Norris of McLaren was 11th fastest, while George Russell of Williams was 15th.

This weekend marks the first time F1 cars have competed at the classic Zandvoort circuit since 1985, and the drivers were looking forward to the demanding configuration.

However, they did not receive nearly as much practice with the distinctive layout, which features two heavily banked bends, as they would have liked.

Norris was fastest followed by Verstappen, Bottas, and Hamilton after the early runs, which were little more than sighting runs for drivers who had either never seen Zandvoort before or had done so several years ago.

But suddenly, Vettel came to a standstill at the pit lane’s exit, leaving a trail of oil in his wake.

There followed what many will see as a borderline farcical sequence of events, the full explanation for which is not yet available.

Vettel took a fire extinguisher from the marshals and put out the minor fire in the engine bay himself, probably since the car was still electrically live and couldn’t be touched.

However, once the fire was extinguished, it took several minutes for a marshal to come, equipped with insulating garments and with rubber sheets to cover the automobile.

The FIA, the governing body, stated: “The reason for the delay was twofold: first, the car went from an ERS-safe to an ERS-unsafe state, requiring us to take all essential safeguards during the recovery. Then there was a problem with the safety systems that had to be resolved before the session could resume. “

The hybrid technology in an F1 car is known as the ERS (energy recovery system).

With only six minutes remaining, the session resumed, resulting in a frantic period on the tight, twisty course.

Apart from Vettel, the biggest loser was Yuki Tsunoda of Alpha Tauri, who suffered a spin on his first lap while completing aerodynamic calibration work and never returned to the track.