The Red Bull driver was 0.278s faster than Fernando Alonso’s upgraded Aston Martin, while Lewis Hamilton showed flashes of pace in his Mercedes to get within 0.373s of Verstappen’s benchmark in third. 

Who Will Be Red Bull's Next F1 Driver?

Verstappen, who is looking for a record-equalling ninth consecutive victory at his home race at Zandvoort this weekend, survived a late trip through the gravel as he tried to extend his advantage over the field. 

Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez was nearly half a second adrift in fourth, ahead of Alex Albon’s Williams, McLaren’s Lando Norris and the second Williams of Logan Sargeant. 

Oscar Piastri, Yuki Tsunoda and Esteban Ocon completed the top-10 order for McLaren, AlphaTauri and Alpine respectively. 

George Russell was unable to join Mercedes teammate Hamilton towards the top of the timesheets as he ended up nearly a second off the pace. 

The first practice session was punctuated by a red flag with 15 minutes remaining when Nico Hulkenberg crashed his Haas into the barriers at the banked final corner. 

Robert Shwartzman deputised for Ferrari regular Carlos Sainz as he finished 19th, with Lance Stroll failing to set a lap time after his Aston Martin developed a suspected engine issue.