George Russell came to Miami fourth in the Formula 1 driver standings and with one podium finish in four races. But he posted the fastest practice lap in Friday’s sessions on the Miami International Autodrome. Saturday afternoon’s qualifying will determine whether Mercedes has found the right solution to its early-season problems.
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Russell’s teammate, seven-time Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton, posted the fourth-best practice time on Friday behind series leader Charles Leclerc of Ferrari and Sergio Perez of Red Bull Racing RBPT.
Friday marked the first time drivers experienced the 3.363-mile course that winds around Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens outside of the simulator. The fast track features 19 turns and three straights and the adjustments Mercedes made to its setup appeared to pay dividends on Friday.
Defending Formula 1 champion Max Verstappen tapped the wall in both practice sessions and completed only 15 laps, just one in the second practice when the fastest times were posted.
Leclerc and Verstappen have taken turns atop the podium in the first four races this season, with the Ferrari driver winning in Bahrain and Australia and Verstappen taking first in Saudi Arabia and at Imola, Italy, on April 24. However, Leclerc has a 27-point lead in the standings because Verstappen has two DNFs with his two victories.
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