Russell posted a 1m12.455s to end up 0.240s clear of Hamilton during the soft tyre runs in the closing stages of first practice at a packed-out Zandvoort, with Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz 0.390s off the pace as he completed the top three.
Fresh from his dominant victory last weekend in Belgium, Verstappen had a disappointing start to his home grand prix weekend with his FP1 lasting just 10 minutes.
The Dutchman caused a red flag when he was forced to stop on track with a technical problem, reporting over the radio there was “something wrong with the gearbox”.
Verstappen, who leads the world championship by 93 points over Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez coming into the weekend, completed just seven laps prior to his stoppage in front of his adoring fans.
It was a strong session for McLaren, with Lando Norris running fourth and within 0.474s of Russell’s benchmark, two tenths quicker than teammate Daniel Ricciardo, who was fifth ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.
Perez could only just get within a second of the pace in the second Red Bull, ahead of the Alpine duo of Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon, and Alex Albon, who rounded out the top-10 for Williams.
At the bottom of the timesheet, Verstappen sat 19th, with Williams’ Nicholas Latifi slowest of all in 20th.
Teams used the session to trial new, bigger mirrors ahead of their possible introduction for 2023 at the request of the FIA.
F1’s governing body is keen to improve the visibility of the drivers from next season.