Japanese Grand Prix: Max Verstappen tops first practice as Sargeant crashes

Home » Japanese Grand Prix: Max Verstappen tops first practice as Sargeant crashes

Logan Sargeant crashed heavily in first practice at the Japanese Grand Prix to heap further problems on his Williams team.

He missed the last race in Australia when team-mate Alex Albon was given his car after crashing in first practice because Williams had no spare chassis.

Sargeant, driving the repaired chassis this weekend at Suzuka, lost control at the high-speed Dunlop corner.

Max Verstappen led Sergio Perez for Red Bull, from Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz.

American Sargeant went a little wide on his first lap through the long left-hander that ends Suzuka’s famous Esses section when trying for his first time on the soft tyres midway through the session.

It is one of the many demanding corners on this magnificent track.

But he ran on to the kerb and then got sucked into the gravel, spinning and hitting the barriers with a sizeable impact.

Sargeant had said on Thursday that he would not be taking any extra care despite Williams’ circumstances.

“It’s Formula 1,” he said. “If you’re careful, you’re nowhere. So it’s really not even a question. You have to be committed, confident and hope nothing goes wrong.”

Williams team principal James Vowles said that the chassis survived the accident but that the rest of the damage was substantial. It will be tight for Williams to prepare the car in time for the second session, Vowles said.

Verstappen led Perez by 0.181 seconds, with Sainz, winner in Australia, 0.213secs off the pace.

Mercedes’ George Russell and Lewis Hamilton were fourth and fifth, ahead of the second Ferrari of Charles Leclerc and Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso.

McLaren’s Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris were eighth and 10th, separated by RB’s Yuki Tsunoda.

Formula 2 driver Ayumu Iwasa was 16th fastest, just under a second slower than Tsunoda, on a run-out in Daniel Ricciardo’s RB at his home event as part of his driver development programme for Red Bull.

A number of teams have significant upgrades, among them Red Bull and Aston Martin, both of whom have revised aerodynamics, particularly around the floor.

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