Brazil, FP: Sainz tops sole practice session ahead of qualifying
Leclerc 2nd, Russell 3rd
Carlos Sainz topped the timesheet in the sole practice session for the FIA 2023 São Paulo Grand Prix, with Charles Leclerc a tenth behind his Ferrari team-mate to give the Maranello squad a 1-2, as Red Bull’s 2023 champion Max Verstappen finished down the order in 16th place after only running the hardest tyres on offer.
At the start of the one-hour session, Verstappen quickly went to the top of the order with a lap of 1:13.950 set on Hard tyres with team-mate Sergio Pérez in P2. Verstappen then worked down to 1:13.138, four tenths ahead of the Mexican, with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton third ahead of Haas’ Nico Hülkenberg and the second Mercedes of 2022 São Paulo Sprint and Grand Prix winner George Russell.
Soon after the first third of the session, AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda moved to the top of the timesheet on Medium tyres with a lap of 1:28.802. Verstappen returned to P1 just before the halfway point but he was soon demoted by Russell who led the way on 1:11.865. Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso then jumped ahead of Verstappen with a good lap in Hard tyres.
Drivers then began to move to Soft compound tyres and Hülkenberg made another appearance in the top there, slotting into second place, just under a tenth off Russell.
Russell’s grip on the top spot was finally loosened by Sainz who bolted on Soft tyres and set a lap of 1:11.732s to take P1. Leclerc then climbed to second place, 0.108s behind his team-mate.
Russell managed to hang on to third at the flag, ahead of Hülkenberg, with Williams’ Alex Albon taking fourth place ahead of Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll. Pierre Gasly finished seventh for Alpine, ahead of Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu. Logan Sargeant was ninth, while Magnussen rounded out the top 10. Alonso ended up in 11th ahead of Hamilton and Tsunoda, while Daniel Ricciardo took 14th ahead of Esteban Ocon in second Alpine. Verstappen, meanwhile, took the flag in a lowly 16th place, a full second off the Ferrari drivers after only running on hard tyres during the session. Pérez finished in 18th, behind Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas.
|01||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari SF-23||1:11.732||30|
|02||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari SF-23||1:11.840||32|
|03||George Russell||Mercedes W14||1:11.865||31|
|04||Nico Hülkenberg||Haas Ferrari VF-23||1:11.928||19|
|05||Alex Albon||Williams Mercedes FW45||1:12.044||28|
|06||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Mercedes AMR23||1:12.136||26|
|07||Pierre Gasly||Alpine Renault A523||1:12.184||31|
|08||Guanyu Zhou||Alfa Romeo Ferrari C43||1:12.481||27|
|09||Logan Sargeant||Williams Mercedes FW45||1:12.579||30|
|10||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari VF-23||1:12.592||24|
|11||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin Mercedes AMR23||1:12.615||28|
|12||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes W14||1:12.638||30|
|13||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri Honda RBPT AT04||1:12.714||29|
|14||Daniel Ricciardo||AlphaTauri Honda RBPT AT04||1:12.778||27|
|15||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault A523||1:12.779||30|
|16||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Honda RBPT RB19||1:12.793||30|
|17||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo Ferrari C43||1:13.012||31|
|18||Sergio Pérez||Red Bull Honda RBPT RB19||1:13.056||31|
|19||Lando Norris||McLaren Mercedes MCL60||1:13.629||25|
|20||Oscar Piastri||McLaren Mercedes MCL60||1:13.838||28|