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Fire in Saudi Arabia before the F1 race; Yemen rebels claim attack

A raging fire broke out Friday at an oil depot in the Saudi city of Jeddah before a F1 According to eyewitnesses and video footage, the Houthis in Yemen admit they have carried out a series of attacks on the kingdom.

While Saudi Arabia and state oil giant Saudi Aramco did not immediately acknowledge the fire, it appeared to focus on the same fuel depot that the Houthis have attacked in recent days.

Those present at the F1 track could see a large cloud of black smoke in the distance. The cause of the fire was not immediately known.

However, the al-Masirah satellite news channel, run by Yemen’s Houthi rebels, said more details of their attacks would follow. The Iran-backed Houthis did not immediately claim they were behind Friday’s Jiddah fire.

Leclerc leads Verstappen in first practice

Charles Leclerc posts fastest time ahead of world champion Max Verstappen in the first training session for the Saudis grand opening on Friday.

The Ferrari the driver moved to the top near the bottom and was 0.116 seconds faster than Verstappen for Red Bull.

Alfa Romeo third fastest rider Valtteri Bottas on the 6.2 km (3.8 mi) Jeddah track Corniche Circuit and slower than Leclerc 0.312 seconds. Carlos Sainz Jr was fourth for Ferrari.

But Mercedes once again struggling with the weight of its vehicle. Seven times Lewis Hamilton 9th fastest and Mercedes teammate, George Russell, was 15th.

Haas driver Kevin Magnussen returned to the garage a few minutes later due to hydraulic problems and was unable to return to the track in time.

The session was briefly interrupted by a red flag after about 20 minutes when McLaren driver Lando Norris passed the wall heading into the Turn first and a board fell onto the track.

A second practice session will take place the following Friday under floodlights.

Leclerc won last Sunday’s season opener race in Bahrain, where Verstappen scored no points after retiring near the end of that race.

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