Formula 1 2021: Red Bull's Max Verstappen clocks fastest lap in Belgian Grand Prix practice before crashing
The Dutchman had set a best lap in one minute and 44.472 seconds to outpace Valtteri Bottas by 0.041 seconds and championship leader and seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton by 0.072 seconds before he ended the session after hitting the barriers at Malmedy.
Alpine are counting on the veteran 40-year-old Spaniard's expertise to help it through the transition to the new set of regulations due to come into force from next year.
For 24-year-old Ocon, who controlled the race from the front, it marked a maiden win in his 78th Grand Prix and a first victory for the new-look Alpine set-up.
Formua 1 2021: Mercedes drivers Valterri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton dominate difficult first practice at Imola
Bottas was quickest round the legendary Imola circuit but was less than one-tenth of a second faster than his teammate.
Formula 1 2021, Bahrain GP: Sebastian Vettel handed five penalty points in 'tricky' debut with Aston Martin
Vettel's day began with a five-place grid penalty for failing to obey double yellow flags in Saturday's qualifying and continued with a collision with Esteban Ocon's Alpine under braking at Turn One in the race.
Formula 1 2021: Red Bull's Max Verstappen fastest on first day of pre-season testing, Mercedes struggle
Verstappen, long regarded as heir apparent to seven-time world champion Hamilton, clocked a best time of 1min 30.674sec in the Red Bull.
Fernando Alonso said he was in the "best shape I've ever been before, both physically and mentally," following the virtual Alpine 2021 car launch in Britain.
Perez, who has been at Racing Point, previously known as Force India, since 2014, is to be replaced next year, when the team is re-branded as Aston Martin, by four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel.
The Racing Point driver finished 10.5 seconds ahead of Renault's Esteban Ocon and 11.9 clear of teammate Lance Stroll.
Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate and nearest title rival Valtteri Bottas was third, nearly half a second off the pace, ahead of Pierre Gasly of Alpha Tauri and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.
Alpine has a history in motorsports with the Renault-powered Alpine car winning the Le Mans 24 hours race in 1978.
Verstappen clocked a best lap in one minute and 43.744 seconds to outpace the Australian by 0.048 seconds, leaving championship leader Lewis Hamilton down in third for Mercedes, 0.096 adrift of the pace-setter.
Alonso, who left Formula One at the end of 2018 after a final season with McLaren, won his championship titles with Renault in 2005 and 2006
Williams' George Russell wins virtual Formula One Monaco GP; Mercedes reserve Esteban Gutierrez finishes second
George Russell took a runaway win for Williams in Formula One’s virtual Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday, the day the cancelled showcase race should have taken place in real life.
Coronavirus Outbreak: Formula 1 team Renault furlough majority of staff until end of May, management to take pay cuts
Renault said the engine factory at Viry-Chatillon in France had moved to a part-time schedule from 6 April for a provisional 12 weeks
Formula 1: From George Russell to Charles Leclerc, a look at young guns and how 2020 could shape their future
Charles Leclerc, Antonio Giovinazzi, Pierre Gasly, Lando Norris, Alexander Albon, Esteban Ocon, George Russell and Nicholas Latifi are the young drivers that represent 40% of this Formula 1 season’s grid
Formula 1 2020: Daniel Ricciardo, Esteban Ocon pull out of scheduled media conference over coronavirus fears
Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo pulled out of a scheduled Renault team media conference on Wednesday over fears he might be exposed to the coronavirus
Formula 1 2020: Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas produces quickest lap of preseason testing so far; Ferrari suffer engine problem
Valtteri Bottas lapped close to record pace as he put Formula One champions Mercedes back on top of the testing timesheets on Friday, but Ferrari suffered an engine problem.
Formula 1 2019: Lewis Hamilton looks to sign off championship-winning campaign in style at Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton will be making a milestone 250th Formula One start as he seeks to sign off his championship-winning campaign in style in Sunday’s Abu Dhabi season-ender.
Firstpost Editor's Picks: Narendra Modi to visit Russia, PSU bank mergers, F1; today's must-read stories
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