McLaren’s Lando Norris was fastest in Dutch Grand Prix practice yesterday as former team mate Daniel Ricciardo crashed his AlphaTauri and was ruled out of tomorrow’s race with a broken hand.
New Zealander Liam Lawson, the Red Bull-owned team’s official reserve, will make his Formula One debut as Ricciardo’s replacement.
Norris denied home hero Max Verstappen a perfect Friday by lapping 0.023 faster than the championship-leading Red Bull driver in the day’s second session at Zandvoort.
Verstappen had set the pace in the opening session when he lapped the seaside circuit with a best time of one minute 11.852 seconds.
Norris then lapped in 1:11.330 in the late afternoon, with double Formula One world champion Verstappen second.
“I think we got in a good rhythm and found a reasonable balance with the car,” said Norris. “We’re looking good on low fuel, but we’ve got a bit of work to do on high fuel, so that’s our target tonight.”
While the Briton went top, his McLaren team mate Oscar Piastri crashed and was followed out by fellow Australian Ricciardo, who left McLaren at the end of last season and began his comeback last month.
Piastri hit the tyre wall early on at the banked turn three and Ricciardo, with nowhere else to go, followed him into the barriers. The older Australian was in evident pain as he struggled to get out of the car.
“An X-ray confirmed he sustained a break to a metacarpal on his left hand, and this injury will not allow him to continue his duties,” AlphaTauri said in a statement.
Verstappen is chasing a ninth win in a row tomorrow to equal now-retired Sebastian Vettel’s decade-old record, and he will have a sea of orange-clad fans cheering him on from the packed grandstands.
The 25-year-old leads Mexican team mate Sergio Perez by 125 points after 12 of 22 races.
“Today was a good day, we tried a few different things on the car. There’s a couple of things we want to fine tune like the balance, but on the whole it was handling well, even on the long runs,” said Verstappen.
“I’m feeling confident that we can be ahead in qualifying.”
Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso was second quickest in session one, 0.278 slower than Verstappen, with Mercedes seven times world champion Lewis Hamilton third.
Perez was fourth on those timesheets, 0.471 slower than his team mate, with Williams’ Alex Albon fifth and Norris sixth.
Albon was third in session two with Hamilton fourth and AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda fifth with Alpine’s Pierre Gasly sixth and Perez seventh.
Red Bull have won every race this season, and the last 13 in total, while Verstappen is chasing his third successive Dutch Grand Prix win.
Haas’s Nico Hulkenberg spun off into the gravel, nudging the tyre wall with his front wing, and brought out red flags in the first session.