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  • Japanese Grand Prix: Max Verstappen Fastest In FP As Red Bull Top The Timesheets

Japanese Grand Prix: Max Verstappen fastest in FP1 as Red Bull top the timesheets

Red Bull's Max Verstappen set the pace in first practice for the Japanese Grand Prix while woeful Willams endured another trying Friday session.

Reigning champion Verstappen retired in Melbourne a fortnight ago but still leads the way in the drivers' standings and the Red Bull driver was once again topping the timesheets.

Verstappen's time of one minute 20.056 seconds was enough to see him go quickest at Suzuka, with team-mate Sergio Perez his closest challenger 0.181 seconds back.

A red flag half way through the session stopped running for 11 minutes as Logan Sargeant crashed off at turn two – further adding to the Williams woes.

Sargeant sat out the Australian Grand Prix two weeks ago as team-mate Alex Albon took his car after destroying his own in a practice crash and the team currently have no spare chassis.

Williams team principal James Vowles confirmed the car had suffered "extensive" damage and that it would be a race against time for the mechanics to prepare it for Friday's second practice.

"It's going to be difficult," he said of Sargeant's chance of making FP2.

"Obviously we will do our utmost to try and get the car back out there again, but the damage is extensive. So it will take a while.

"It is pretty significant (damage). So the chassis is okay, fortunately, but I would say pretty much everything else isn't – so the suspension around, the gearbox is cracked, big damage."

Albon went 12th fastest after the action restarted, while Verstappen assumed his usual position as the car to beat.

Carlos Sainz, who won in Australia last time out, was third-fastest for Ferrari ahead of the Mercedes duo of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton, while the second Ferrari of Charles Leclerc was sixth.

Local favourite Yuki Tsunoda was ninth for RB behind both the Aston Martin of Fernando Alonso and McLaren's Oscar Piastri – whose team-mate Lando Norris rounded out the top 10.

FP1 results:

1    Max Verstappen    NED    Oracle Red Bull Racing    1m30.056s
2    Sergio Perez    MEX    Oracle Red Bull Racing    1m30.237s
3    Carlos Sainz    ESP    Scuderia Ferrari    1m30.269s
4    George Russell    GBR    Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team    1m30.530s
5    Lewis Hamilton    GBR    Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team    1m30.543s
6    Charles Leclerc    MON    Scuderia Ferrari    1m30.558s
7    Fernando Alonso    ESP    Aston Martin Aramco F1 Team    1m30.599s
8    Oscar Piastri    AUS    McLaren F1 Team    1m31.165s
9    Yuki Tsunoda    JPN    Visa Cash App RB F1 Team    1m31.230s
10    Lando Norris    GBR    McLaren F1 Team    1m31.240s
11    Esteban Ocon    FRA    BWT Alpine F1 Team    1m31.935s
12    Alex Albon    THA    Williams Racing    1m31.943s
13    Nico Hulkenberg    GER    MoneyGram Haas F1 Team    1m31.958s
14    Valtteri Bottas    FIN    Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber    1m32.054s
15    Lance Stroll    CAN    Aston Martin Aramco F1 Team    1m32.055s
16    Ayumu Iwasa    JPN    Visa Cash App RB F1 Team    1m32.103s
17    Pierre Gasly    FRA    BWT Alpine F1 Team    1m32.277s
18    Zhou Guanyu    CHN    Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber    1m32.638s
19    Kevin Magnussen    DEN    MoneyGram Haas F1 Team    1m32.803s
20    Logan Sargeant    USA    Williams Racing    1m33.204s

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