At Friday’s Dutch Grand Prix practice in Zandvoort, Netherlands, British driver Lando Norris took the lead, astonishingly exceeding homegrown hero, Max Verstappen, by a minimal 0.023 seconds. However, drama unfolded only 10 minutes into the session when an accident between Oscar Piastri and Daniel Ricciardo resulted in the session being halted.
Following a crash at Turn 3, Ricciardo reported that his left hand was injured. Consequently, he was transported to a nearby hospital for further assessment after a primary examination at the circuit’s medical center. Notably, this circuit marked the Australian’s third race after replacing Dutch driver, Nyck de Vries, having previously lost his position at McLaren to Piastri.
The accident involved Piastri slamming into the wall first after a miscalculated entry speed to the corner. Ricciardo’s subsequent crash occurred at the same corner but did not involve any collision with Piastri’s vehicle. This double mishap placed the two drivers at the bottom of the standings.
Recently, due to a series of car upgrades, McLaren has surfaced as one of the fiercest competitors for Red Bull. The high-speed nature of the Zandvoort circuit seems to favor McLaren, indicated by Norris’ remarkable time.
Verstappen is currently pursuing a record-tying ninth consecutive victory this weekend, and also his third uninterrupted win at the Dutch Grand Prix. Although Norris’ spectacular lap suggests a closely fought qualifying round on Saturday, Red Bull‘s dominance in race distance sets Verstappen in a favorable position to carry on his winning streak on Sunday.
Verstappen expressed continued optimism stating, “Still feel good. I think the car has a lot of potential to again have a good day tomorrow. Just need to fine-tune a few things and I’m pretty confident that we can be ahead.”
Alex Albon of Williams clocked the third quickest time, which was 0.269 seconds off Norris’, showing a promising start, especially considering the fact that Williams was predicted to struggle on this circuit. Behind him, previous world champion Lewis Hamilton recorded the fourth quickest time, followed by drivers Yuki Tsunoda, Pierre Gasly, and Verstappen’s teammate at Red Bull, Sergio Perez.
Lance Stroll of Aston Martin managed to secure the eighth fastest time ahead of Alfa Romeo‘s Valtteri Bottas and Fernando Alonso, Stroll’s teammate, with an upgraded floor introduced in Aston Martin cars this weekend. Although Nico Hulkenberg of Haas ended the session in 18th place, he found himself under investigation for potentially obstructing Verstappen after the session.