Lando Norris denied Max Verstappen a practice double by setting the pace for Sunday’s Dutch Grand Prix – after Daniel Ricciardo crashed out and was taken to hospital.
More than 300,000 spectators will descend on the coastal town of Zandvoort, 30 miles outside of Amsterdam, as Formula One emerges from its summer slumber.
The majority of whom will do so in the expectation of watching Verstappen march to his ninth consecutive victory – equalling a record set by Sebastian Vettel for Red Bull in 2013 – as he closes in on a hat-trick of world championships.
Lando Norris heads Max Verstappen in FP2! 💪
— Formula 1 (@F1) August 25, 2023
But McLaren’s Norris raised the suggestion he could spoil Verstappen’s homecoming party after he ended the day with the fastest time.
While practice speed is treated with caution, the British driver edged out Verstappen, who was fastest in the first running, by just 0.023 seconds. The impressive Alex Albon finished third for Williams, one place ahead of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.
The seven-time world champion finished three tenths adrift in his Mercedes with team-mate George Russell only 14th in the order.
“That was a great day for me,” said Hamilton. “I woke up this morning so excited to get back in the car, and from the first lap it felt like we had a good starting point to work from.
“The car is feeling more competitive here, so we want to hold on to that and see if we can extract more for tomorrow.”
The second session was suspended after just 10 minutes when Norris’ team-mate Oscar Piastri and AlphaTauri’s Ricciardo crashed out at the same corner.
🚩 RED FLAG 🚩
— Formula 1 (@F1) August 25, 2023
Australian Piastri, who has enjoyed an impressive rookie campaign, lost control of his McLaren through the banked left-handed Turn 3 before slamming into the barriers.
Moments later, Ricciardo, who appeared distracted by the sight of Piastri’s wounded McLaren, locked up under braking before following his compatriot into the tyre wall.
“Ah f***, my hand, f***,” the 34-year-old said over the radio after the incident.
Both men played no further part in the running as their damaged cars were towed back to their respective garages.
#DutchGP FP2 🏁
a very good P5 for Yuki, whilst for Daniel further medical checks are been carried out on his wrist. pic.twitter.com/3DYI3W8Rg7
— Scuderia AlphaTauri (@AlphaTauriF1) August 25, 2023
Ricciardo was still holding the steering wheel as he hit the wall, and he was taken to the medical centre. He was then pictured leaving with his left arm in a sling, and was subsequently taken to a nearby hospital for further checks on his wrist, raising some doubt over his participation for the remainder of the weekend.
Red Bull motorsport adviser Dr Helmut Marko said: “We don’t know exactly what it is yet, but he was in a lot of pain. His wrist has suffered damage, but we have to wait for the diagnosis.
“This is a new situation for us. We will first wait to see how Ricciardo is doing and whether he can drive or not, and then we discuss who gets in the car.”
Ferrari have endured a lacklustre campaign and there was little for the Italian giants to cheer on Friday, with Charles Leclerc 11th and team-mate Carlos Sainz 16th.
Ricciardo’s team-mate, Yuki Tsunoda, finished fifth with Pierre Gasly sixth and Sergio Perez, 125 points behind Verstappen in the drivers’ championship, seventh.