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Miami GP, Practice One: George Russell leads Lewis Hamilton as Mercedes claim surprise one-two

George Russell tops opening practice session with a 1:30.125 to finish 0.212s ahead of Lewis Hamilton in Miami; Charles Leclerc third in upgraded Ferrari; Max Verstappen fourth while Sergio Perez only 11th; watch the Miami GP exclusively live on Sky Sports F1 this weekend

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Nico Hulkenberg suffered a big crash in his Haas as first practice was red flagged in Miami

Mercedes claimed a surprise one-two in the opening practice session at the Miami GP as George Russell showed late pace to lead home Lewis Hamilton.

Russell pumped in a 1:30.125 in the closing minute of the session to finish 0.212s ahead of his team-mate.

It was a welcome end to the session for Russell who had missed nearly 30 minutes of running due to a steering issue caused by a heavy 'development item' that required a steering rack change.

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Lewis Hamilton first set the fastest time in opening practice before Mercedes team-mate George Russell went even quicker towards the end of the session

Charles Leclerc finished third, three tenths off Russell's leading time, with his final lap in the upgraded Ferrari, which features a new floor and diffuser.

Championship leader Max Verstappen had to settle for the fourth fastest time having led the majority of the session until the Mercedes' late runs.

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Anthony Davidson was at the SkyPad to look back on George Russell's quickest lap around Miami International Autodrome in first practice.

"For sure, part of the reason we're up there is that we were the last car on track, doing new tyres - they got clean laps," said Andrew Shovlin, Mercedes' trackside engineering director.

"But we've had races this year where no matter what we did we could never get up near the top of the timesheet.

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"So I think it's encouraging, but one to keep in perspective."

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Mercedes engineer Andrew Shovlin was pleased with the progress the team seem to have made as Russell and Hamilton finished as the fastest two drivers in P1

Sergio Perez was unable to match the pace of his team-mate and title rival Verstappen, being a second off the Dutchman's best time and having to settle for 11th on the timesheet, 1.4s off Russell's benchmark.

The Mexican enters the weekend trailing Verstappen by six points after his Sprint and Grand Prix victories in Azerbaijan last week, and would take the lead of the championship with another win on Sunday.

The session was red flagged for nine minutes after Nico Hulkenberg had a big crash on the exit of Turn Three, a few minutes after he had briefly put his Haas top of the timesheet at the team's home race.

While the German was the only driver to hit the wall, the low grip at the Miami International Autodrome caught many off guard.

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Nyck de Vries spun his AlphaTauri as he narrowly avoided hitting the wall during opening practice in Miami

Nyck de Vries and Alex Albon suffered spins, while Verstappen, Leclerc and Lance Stroll were among several to run wide at various times.

Carlos Sainz was fifth in the second Ferrari, while Gasly recovered from a big moment to post the sixth fastest time and put his Alpine ahead of the two Aston Martins of Fernando Alonso and Stroll.

Hulkenberg ended the session ninth, with Esteban Ocon rounding out the top 10.

Logan Sargeant had to settle for 19th in the opening session of his first home race, seven tenths of a second off the pace of his Williams' team-mate Albon.

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Miami Dolphins star Tyreek Hill was in Alpine's garage as Pierre Gasly prepared to get under way in P1 at the Miami Grand Prix

"I find it a very hard session to read. Obviously the track was evolving heavily," said Sky Sports F1's Martin Brundle.

"There was a moment there where we thought Mercedes were really struggling and suddenly they're one and two.

"I think we'll have to wait until later today or even tomorrow morning to see where things are at."

Miami GP Practice One Timesheet

Driver Team Time
1) George Russell Mercedes 1:30.125
2) Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +0.212
3) Charles Leclerc Ferrari +0.324
4) Max Verstappen Red Bull +0.424
5) Carlos Sainz Ferrari +0.599
6) Pierre Gasly Alpine +0.979
7) Fernando Alonso Aston Martin +1.106
8) Lance Stroll Aston Martin +1.212
9) Nico Hulkenberg Haas +1.267
10) Esteban Ocon Alpine +1.417
11) Sergio Perez Red Bull +1.441
12) Oscar Piastri McLaren +1.685
13) Kevin Magnussen Haas +1.728
14) Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo +1.777
15) Alex Albon Williams +1.778
16) Lando Norris McLaren +1.872
17) Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo +2.009
18) Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri +2.044
19) Logan Sargeant Williams +2.494
20) Nyck de Vries Alpha Tauri +4.512

The Formula 1 season continues with the Miami GP this weekend. Watch qualifying at 9pm on Saturday with lights out at 8.30pm on Sunday. Get Sky Sports

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