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The On-track Action Gets Under Way With Mercedes Fastest In Practice For The Formula 1®

The on-track action gets under way with Mercedes fastest in practice for the Formula 1®

The on-track action gets under way with Mercedes fastest in practice for the Formula 1® Miami Grand Prix

  • Mercedes’ George Russell tops the times after the first two hours of practice at the newly-built Miami International Autodrome with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc second quickest
  • Thousands of spectators enjoy the thrill of Formula 1® from the numerous premium hospitality locations around the track in Miami Gardens for the first time
  • Off the track, Miami Dolphins players get the chance to meet drivers and teams in the F1® paddock
  • Download images from the Miami International Autodrome

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla., After months of anticipation, the brand-new Miami International Autodrome roared into life on Friday with a busy day of action both on and off the track. Topping the timesheets after two hours of free practice was the Mercedes of George Russell. The British driver completed 18 laps to set the fastest time of 1m 29.938s, just 0.106 seconds ahead of the Ferrari of World Championship points leader Charles Leclerc.

The on-track action gets under way with Mercedes fastest in practice for the Formula 1® Miami Grand Prix

Both practice sessions were held in beautiful sunny conditions with the thermometer reaching 93 degrees F when the F1® cars emerged from the pit lane for the first time. As the thousands of fans around the 5.41km track enjoyed the South Florida weather, they were treated to a dramatic day of action as the drivers got up to speed at Formula 1®’s newest venue.

In the first few minutes of first practice, a couple of drivers spun including Leclerc, who pirouetted his Ferrari at Turn 1. His team-mate Carlos Sainz also rotated at Turn 4 late into the session and suffered a front-right puncture. FP1 was briefly suspended following a crash for Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas.

The Finnish driver spun turning into Turn 7 and hit the barriers opposite the MIA Marina and didn’t take part in the afternoon practice. In the closing stages, the track began to ramp up with grip and Leclerc finished fastest with a 1m31.098s lap just 0.071s quicker than George Russell’s Mercedes.

Things started to heat up in the second practice hour in the afternoon. The Miami Gardens venue once again proved to be an exciting driving challenge for the world’s best racers. Just 18 minutes in, another red flag was flown after Sainz crashed coming out of Turn 13 and mechanical issues reduced Max Verstappen’s track-time to just a single lap in the afternoon.

Between the two F1® free practice sessions, the all-female W Series racers took to the track for their 30-minute familiarization of the Miami International Autodrome with the fastest time being set by British racer Alice Powell.

The Miami International Autodrome is hosting the inaugural Formula 1® Miami Grand Prix this weekend and featured a number of events in the build-up to the first on-track running. Race week activities got underway on Wednesday evening with the Opening Party with Musical Performances presented by Heineken® that wowed fans with a spectacular concert and F1® driver and team principal introductions from the podium.

That was preceded by the official opening of the track when the first lap was completed by Formula 1® Miami Grand Prix Managing Partner Tom Garfinkel who drove a McLaren Senna supercar around the 5.41km circuit with Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross as his passenger.

The pair were followed on track by both McLaren F1 Team drivers Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo who piloted a pair of McLaren Elvas. Afterward, Formula 1® Miami Grand Prix Ambassadors Emerson Fittipaldi and Juan Pablo Montoya gave passenger laps to both celebrities and Miami Dolphins players.

Yesterday, a selection of F1® drivers took a visit to the state-of-the-art Baptist Health Training Center, home of the Miami Dolphins, to try their hand at some of the tests and drills that players do on a regular basis.

The drivers measured their vertical jump height on the Hawkin Dynamics Force Plate, and their speed on a laser-timed slide race and tested their field abilities with a 10-15-yard throw into a net as well as kicking field goals. They were also provided with a Dolphins shirt with their name and number as a memento of the day.

The cross-over between the Miami Dolphins players continued as two players took part in a pitstop practice with Alpine on Friday morning. LB Jaelan Phillips and DT Christian Wilkins took control of the wheel gun to help the mechanics change the tires on the Alpine car.

Both players were excited to help the crew by changing all four tires in two seconds. “It’s like game day,” said Wilkins. “You get some pressure but you have to perform when it’s time.”

Current Dolphins player Tua Tagovailoa and the legendary quarterback Dan Marino also got the chance to commemorate the inaugural Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix when they presented FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem, Liberty Media CEO & Chairman Greg Maffei, and Non-Executive Chairman Chase Carey with the famous Dolphins jersey in the paddock. The action in Miami Gardens continues tomorrow with qualifying ahead of the 57-lap Formula 1® Miami Grand Prix on Sunday.

About the Formula 1® Miami Grand Prix

Scheduled to make its debut on 6-8 May, 2022, the Formula 1® Miami Grand Prix is the sport’s newest race on the Formula 1® calendar. Located in Miami Gardens, Florida, the world’s top drivers are set to compete on a brand-new circuit located within the complex of the Hard Rock Stadium, the home of the legendary Miami Dolphins NFL team. The 5.41km Miami International Autodrome features 19 corners, three straights and has an estimated top speed of 320km/h.

The race will also provide an additional tourist boost and economic impact to local businesses in the greater Miami region. Formula 1® and South Florida Motorsports are working closely with the local community to provide an allotment of discounted tickets for the residents of Miami Gardens, ensuring they have the opportunity to experience the thrill of the sport.

Additionally, South Florida Motorsports have launched a programme to support both local businesses and the community to ensure they get the full benefits of the race being held in Miami Gardens. This includes a STEM education programme through F1 in Schools, as well as the opportunity for local restaurants to be part of the race weekend.

About Formula 1®

The FIA Formula 1® World ChampionshipTM was inaugurated in 1950, unifying the sport of Grand Prix motor racing as the world’s most prestigious motorsport competition. Through more than 70 years it has grown to become the world’s most popular annual sporting series. In 2016 it was watched by 400 million unique television viewers from over 200 territories.

The 2021 season will run from March to December and spans 23 races in 21 countries. Formula 1® is a subsidiary of Liberty Media Corporation (NASDAQ: LSXMA, LSXMB, LSXMK, BATRA, BATRK, FWONA, FWONK) attributed to the Formula One Group tracking stock. For more information on Formula 1® visit:


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