Lewis Hamilton edged out title rival Max Verstappen to the quickest time in opening practice for the inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
The seven-time world champion, who trails Verstappen by eight points, clocked a 1m 29.786s to end up less than a tenth of a second clear of the Red Bull, who set his best time in the final minute of the session.
The dust that has covered the Jeddah Corniche Circuit in the days leading up to the race had been swept away ahead of FP1, with teams expecting the 6.174km track to offer similar levels of grip to what they experienced last time out in Qatar.
Verstappen set the early pace on hard tyres, 0.6s quicker than Hamilton, with Valtteri Bottas slotting into third, all three having to abort laps at some stage because of traffic on a track that is fast but very narrow in places.
“This track is cool,” said Bottas on team radio after he set the quickest time with around 20 minutes to go, as drivers bolted on soft tyres and started to push their cars a little more after gaining confidence with a flurry of reconnaissance laps.
FORMULA 1 STC SAUDI ARABIAN GRAND PRIX 2021
Practice 1 results
|2 MaxVERSTAPPENRed Bull Racing||+0.056s|
|5 AntonioGIOVINAZZIAlfa Romeo Racing||+0.532s|