F1: Lewis Hamilton’s preparations for Dutch GP hit after breaking down in practice

Lewis Hamilton’s preparations for the Dutch Grand Prix were dealt a blow after he broke down in practice.

Only five minutes of the second session had passed when Hamilton came to a halt in his Mercedes following an engine failure.

The majority of the 70,000 fans at Max Verstappen’s home race in Zandvoort cheered Hamilton’s stoppage at the eighth corner.

After the opening one-hour running earlier on Friday was suspended for 37 minutes following Sebastian Vettel’s engine blow-up, Hamilton has just 20 laps under his belt ahead of Formula One’s first grand prix in Holland since 1985.

With Hamilton forced to watch the day’s concluding action from back in the Mercedes garage alongside team principal Toto Wolff, Charles Leclerc led a Ferrari one-two.

The Monegasque finished 0.154 seconds clear of Carlos Sainz, with Esteban Ocon third for Alpine and Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas fourth.

Home favourite Verstappen, who trails Hamilton by just three points, ended the afternoon in fifth, three tenths off the pace.

“I just lost power so the team told me to stop,” said Hamilton.

“It is not the end of the world. But I only got 20 minutes of running this morning with the red flag so it puts us on the back foot.

“For me it is just about catching up, but Valtteri looked like he had a good session this afternoon so hopefully we can make up for the lost time.”

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Hamilton won on his last appearance here, claiming victory in the 2005 Masters of Formula Three race.

He added: “The track is epic. It brought back memories of when I raced here in Formula Three, but is crazy in a Formula One car,  and the speed we are going through Turn 7 is insane.

“I don’t think you will be able to overtake because it is all about high downforce, super-fast corners which you probably will not be able to follow through.”

Nikita Mazepin’s accident through Turns 10 and 11 resulted in the second red flag of the afternoon. The Russian rookie beached his Haas after spinning backwards into the gravel.

Earlier, Hamilton had drawn first blood around the twisty 2.65-mile track as he beat Verstappen to top spot by just 0.097 seconds.

But the opening action was suspended for a significant period when Vettel’s engine blew up at the first corner.

The four-time world champion played the role of fireman as he helped the marshals put out the flames and FIA race director Michael Masi deployed the red flags.

But with Vettel’s Aston Martin showing as electrically live, it took more than half the session for his stricken car to be towed back to the pits.

The lack of running came just five days after the rain-hit Belgian Grand Prix was stopped following only two laps behind the safety car.

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