Dutchman Max Verstappen (Red Bull) set the best time in the 1st free practice session of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, 2nd round of the Formula 1 World Championship, Thursday on the Jeddah urban circuit (6.174 km) .

The three-time world champion, hands down winner of the inaugural race of the season on Saturday in Bahrain, confirmed his status as the big favorite for the second round of the year contested on the shores of the Red Sea.

Thursday afternoon, Verstappen was 186 thousandths ahead of the Spanish veteran Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin), who seems at ease on the fast Saudi track where he took 3rd place last year, while the Mexican Sergio Pérez , also on Red Bull, set the third fastest time.

Briton George Russell (Mercedes) is in fourth position, far ahead of his compatriot and teammate Lewis Hamilton (8th). The two Ferraris of Monegasque Charles Leclerc and Spaniard Carlos Sainz took fifth and sixth places, ahead of the McLaren of Briton Lando Norris.

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The Top 10 is completed by the Canadian Lance Stroll (Aston Martin), who hit a wall at the start of the session, forcing him to return to the pits, and the Thai Alex Albon (Williams).

At the wheel of the two Alpines, the French Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly finished 13th and 17th respectively, more than a second behind Verstappen.

. 1st free practice session:

Max Verstappen (NED/Red Bull) 1:29.659 (24 tours)

Fernando Alonso (ESP/Aston Martin-Mercedes) 1:29.845 (24)

Sergio Pérez (MEX/Red Bull) 1:29.868 (23)

George Russell (GBR/Mercedes) 1:29.939 (23)

Charles Leclerc (MON/Ferrari) 1:30.030 (24)

Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP/Ferrari) 1:30.164 (24)

Lando Norris (GBR/McLaren-Mercedes) 1:30.231 (26)

Lewis Hamilton (GBR/Mercedes) 1:30.236 (21)

Lance Stroll (CAN/Aston Martin-Mercedes) 1:30.580 (18)

Alexander Albon (THA/Williams-Mercedes) 1:30.747 (26)

Valtteri Bottas (FIN/Sauber-Ferrari) 1:30.783 (26)

Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/Racing Bulls-Red Bull) 1:30.917 (25)

Esteban Ocon (FRA/Alpine-Renault) 1:30.945 (27)

Logan Sargeant (USA/Williams-Mercedes) 1:30.966 (27)

Oscar Piastri (AUS/McLaren-Mercedes) 1:30.977 (22)

Yuki Tsunoda (JPN/Racing Bulls-Red Bull) 1:31.036 (25)

Pierre Gasly (FRA/Alpine-Renault) 1:31.046 (25)

Zhou Guanyu (CHN/Sauber-Ferrari) 1:31.131 (24)

Nico Hülkenberg (GER/Haas-Ferrari) 1:31.411 (19)

Kevin Magnussen (DEN/Haas-Ferrari) 1:31.577 (18)