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Formula One stars take to the track for the first time at the Miami Grand Prix as practice begins ahead of sprint qualifying

  • F1 stars prepare for Sunday’s Miami GP at the Autódromo Internacional
  • Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton and company took part in a practice session on Friday
  • DailyMail.com provides the latest international sports news.

The Miami Grand Prix weekend is officially underway after Formula One stars took to the track for the first time in a practice session on Friday.

Competitors including Lewis Hamilton, Charles Leclerc and reigning champion Max Verstappen were put to the test at the Miami International Autodrome two days before Sunday’s race, with the latter posting the fastest time of 1:28:595.

McLaren’s Oscar Piastri, Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, Mercedes’ George Russell and Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll completed the rest of the top five.

Later on Friday, drivers will return to the track for qualifying before Saturday afternoon’s sprint race, which will take place a few hours before qualifying for the main event takes place.

Verstappen has won four races out of five this season, with Sainz the only driver to beat him so far at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in March.

The Miami Grand Prix weekend is officially underway after Formula One stars took to the track for the first time in a practice session on Friday.

The Miami Grand Prix weekend is officially underway after Formula One stars took to the track for the first time in a practice session on Friday.

Reigning champion Max Verstappen recorded the fastest time in practice with 1:28:595.

Reigning champion Max Verstappen recorded the fastest time in practice with 1:28:595.

Drivers will return to the track later on Friday for qualifying before Saturday's sprint race.

Drivers will return to the track later on Friday for qualifying before Saturday’s sprint race.

Red Bull team manager Christian Horner looks on before the practice session in Miami.

Red Bull team manager Christian Horner looks on before the practice session in Miami.

The Red Bull superstar addressed his future with the team on Thursday amid speculation it is uncertain following the shock departure of car designer Adrian Newey.

The scandal surrounding Christian Horner, recently accused of “coercive behavior towards a female employee”, is another factor that some believe has left Verstappen’s future in doubt.

“Not at the moment,” he told reporters when asked if recent events were affecting his decision-making.

“I can’t deny that I would have preferred him (Newey) to stay because of who he is as a person, his knowledge and what he would potentially bring to another team,” Verstappen admitted.

Despite Newey’s departure, the Dutch driver said he has faith in the rest of the Red Bull design team, noting that the role of Chief Technology Officer had “changed” a lot since he joined in 2006.

“A lot of good people joined the team and that has strengthened the entire department,” he explained.

“I am confident that the technical team we have apart from Adrian is very strong,” Verstappen continued, citing the car’s fast performance in recent seasons.

Meanwhile, Ferrari-bound Lewis Hamilton said he is “very much” looking forward to working with Newey when he joins the Italian constructor next season.

AlphaTauri's Daniel Ricciardo finished 11th in practice at the Autódromo Internacional

AlphaTauri’s Daniel Ricciardo finished 11th in practice at the Autódromo Internacional

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc gets out of his car after spinning on the track during practice

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc gets out of his car after spinning on the track during practice

Lewis Hamilton hit the track in head-to-toe Tommy Hilfiger gear on Friday

Lewis Hamilton hit the track in head-to-toe Tommy Hilfiger gear on Friday

Hamilton, seen completing a pit stop, finished seventh with a time of 1:29:012

Hamilton, seen completing a pit stop, finished seventh with a time of 1:29:012

Verstappen addressed his future with Red Bulls on Thursday amid speculation that it is uncertain.

Verstappen addressed his future with Red Bulls on Thursday amid speculation that it is uncertain.

‘Adrian Newey has a great history and track record and has done incredible work throughout his career. With the knowledge he has, he would be an incredible addition,” the seven-time world champion told reporters on Thursday.

“They (Ferrari) have a great team and are making great progress and their car is faster this year, but it would be a privilege to work with him,” he continued.

“If I made a list of people I’d like to work with, he (Newey) would absolutely be at the top.”

Several celebrities will be attending this weekend’s Grand Prix, including Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift, who are expected to attend with Patrick and Brittany Mahomes.

Luis Suarez is also in Miami this week, and the Inter Miami forward was seen playing a head-butting match with Sainz on Thursday.