Verstappen Fastest in Japanese Grand Prix First Practice

Red Bull's Max Verstappen was fastest in the first practice for the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka. Yuichi YAMAZAKI / AFP
Red Bull's Max Verstappen was fastest in the first practice for the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka. Yuichi YAMAZAKI / AFP
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Verstappen Fastest in Japanese Grand Prix First Practice

Red Bull's Max Verstappen was fastest in the first practice for the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka. Yuichi YAMAZAKI / AFP
Red Bull's Max Verstappen was fastest in the first practice for the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka. Yuichi YAMAZAKI / AFP

Max Verstappen went fastest on Friday in first practice for the Japanese Grand Prix, edging out Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez at Suzuka.
The triple world champion, who failed to finish the race in Australia a fortnight ago, clocked a lap of 1min 30.056sec -- 0.181sec quicker than the Mexican.
Ferrari's Carlos Sainz, who won in Australia after returning from appendicitis surgery, was third-fastest at 1min 30.269sec.
Verstappen won the first two grands prix of the season but the Dutchman retired from a race for the first time in two years in Melbourne after a brake issue, said AFP.
Normal service resumed in dry conditions at Suzuka, in a session that was red-flagged for around 10 minutes after Williams driver Logan Sargeant crashed into a wall of tyres.
George Russell was fourth-quickest followed by Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton, with Ferrari's Charles Leclerc coming home in sixth.
Sargeant came skidding off the track at a corner and spun across the gravel before slamming into a barrier midway through the session.
The American walked away unhurt and his car was carried off by a crane, with the session red-flagged.
Hamilton had the fastest lap at that point but the seven-time world champion soon tumbled down the time sheets once the action resumed.
Hamilton is looking to jump-start a frustrating start to the season after finishing seventh in Bahrain and ninth in Saudi Arabia, before retiring in Australia with engine failure.
Russell, who escaped unscathed from a heavy crash late in the race in Australia, voiced his frustration over the team radio as the traffic piled up.
"This McLaren just stopped in the middle of the corner here," he said.
McLaren's Lando Norris, who finished second behind Verstappen at last year's Japanese Grand Prix, set the early pace.
RB's Daniel Ricciardo sat out the session as Japanese driver Ayumu Iwasa took his seat for the team.



Teenagers Yamal and Cubarsi Included in Young Spain Squad for European Championship 

Barcelona striker Lamine Yamal celebrates during the LaLiga match FC Barcelona vs Rayo Vallecano, in Barcelona, Spain, 19 May 2024. (EPA)
Barcelona striker Lamine Yamal celebrates during the LaLiga match FC Barcelona vs Rayo Vallecano, in Barcelona, Spain, 19 May 2024. (EPA)
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Teenagers Yamal and Cubarsi Included in Young Spain Squad for European Championship 

Barcelona striker Lamine Yamal celebrates during the LaLiga match FC Barcelona vs Rayo Vallecano, in Barcelona, Spain, 19 May 2024. (EPA)
Barcelona striker Lamine Yamal celebrates during the LaLiga match FC Barcelona vs Rayo Vallecano, in Barcelona, Spain, 19 May 2024. (EPA)

Spain is set to take a young squad to the European Championship, with teenagers Lamine Yamal and Pau Cubarsi among the players picked by coach Luis de la Fuente on Monday.

Fermín López, the 21-year-old Barcelona forward, also was included in the list of 29 players announced by the coach, who will have to cut three names from the squad for the tournament in Germany. López has yet to make his debut with the national team.

“They have talent and motivation,” De la Fuente said. “They are very versatile players. Fermín will take a leap forward with this call-up. I hope that they will benefit and show all the potential that they have.”

Ayoze Pérez was another of the few surprises on the list, with the 30-year-old Real Betis forward getting his first call-up to the senior squad.

Other strikers included Atletico Madrid’s Álvaro Morata and Real Madrid’s Joselu, as well as the 16-year-old Yamal of Barcelona and 21-year-old Nico Williams of Athletic Bilbao.

Along with Cubarsi, the 17-year-old Barcelona center back, other defenders included Madrid’s Nacho Fernández and 38-year-old veteran Jesús Navas of Sevilla.

Forwards Marco Asensio of Paris Saint-Germain, Pablo Sarabia of Wolverhampton, Brais Méndez of Real Sociedad and Gerard Moreno of Villarreal were left out.

Veteran Atletico midfielder Koke Resurrección also didn’t make the squad.

Spain will be aiming for a record fourth European Championship. It was drawn into Group B with Italy, Albania and Croatia.

“It’s a very difficult group but we are prepared,” De la Fuente said. “We will be fighting to be among the title contenders in the end.”

Spain will play warmups against Andorra and Northern Ireland before heading to Germany.