Verstappen tops second Miami practice, Leclerc crashes

·3-min read

Red Bull's championship leader Max Verstappen lapped fastest while Charles Leclerc crashed his Ferrari into the barriers in second practice for the Miami Grand Prix.

Leclerc went off at turn eight on Friday, the car snapping and locking up as it went nose first into the barriers and wrecked the front suspension.

The incident brought out the red flags with 10 minutes remaining, the Monegasque stepping out and walking away with his session over.

Verstappen had already made it business as usual at the top with a 1:27.930 effort on an improving track after George Russell had led seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton in a Mercedes one-two in the first session.

Russell's best time of one minute 30.125 seconds came after the Briton experienced steering issues in a hot and steamy session.

A team spokesman said the Briton was using a test item that proved too heavy so they changed the steering rack back to the old one.

Russell was 15th in the second session and Hamilton seventh.

Leclerc was third fastest in both sessions while teammate Carlos Sainz was second in practice two, 0.385 slower than Verstappen.

Red Bull's Mexican Sergio Perez was fourth and nearly half a second slower than his teammate.

Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso ended up fifth on the 3.36 mile (5.41km) temporary street circuit around Hard Rock Stadium, the home of the Miami Dolphins, with McLaren's Lando Norris (1:28:741) sixth.

Norris's teammate Oscar Piastri (1:29:339) was 16th, after the young Australian finished 12th (1:31:810s) in the first practice session where Norris was 16th (1:31:997s).

Verstappen, the winner of the inaugural Miami Grand Prix last year, was nearly a half-second off the pace in the first session.

"I think it was a good day," said the Dutch double-world champion, whose team have won all four races so far this season with three one-twos.

"Initially I think it was getting used to the track a bit with the new Tarmac, it really was ramping up a lot throughout the day, but I always felt good in the car and we had a good balance in it."

Perez, six points behind and a double winner last weekend in Azerbaijan with the first sprint of the season, was well down the timing sheets in 11th in that opening practice.

"Generally I think we've got a good baseline," said Perez.

"I haven't had the greatest of Fridays but I locked up on the final corner so there's quite a bit to come ... I'm not driving really well today so I think if I'm able to improve my driving and get myself a bit more comfortable it should be alright."

Haas's Nico Hulkenberg spun and slammed into the wall, bringing out the red flags in that session.

Until then Hulkenberg had been enjoying a lively practice for the US-owned outfit, sitting second behind Verstappen when the session was paused.