The 2-time world champion, whose delayed arrival in Jeddah compelled him to skip media duties on Thursday after battling a abdomen ache this week, was 0.483 seconds faster than his Crimson Bull team-mate Sergio Perez.
After dominating the 2023 F1 season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix a fortnight in the past, Verstappen and Crimson Bull had an ominous begin to the weekend round Jeddah’s high-speed monitor.
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Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso was the perfect of the remainder in third, 0.698 seconds behind Verstappen’s FP1 benchmark and some tenths faster than team-mate Lance Stroll.
George Russell trailed team-mate Lewis Hamilton by simply 0.016 seconds in fifth, however each Mercedes drivers discovered themselves greater than a second off the tempo.
Carlos Sainz completed seventh for Ferrari, forward of Pierre Gasly of Alpine, Alex Albon of Williams and Yuki Tsunoda of AlphaTauri, who accomplished the highest 10.
Charles Leclerc, who picked up a 10-place grid penalty this weekend for energy unit modifications, was simply eleventh, whereas McLaren’s Lando Norris was the slowest of all of them in twentieth.