France, FP1: Leclerc quickest in opening practice

Verstappen 2nd, Sainz 3rd

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By Olivier Ferret

22 July 2022 - 15:10
France, FP1: Leclerc quickest in (...)

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc went quickest in the opening Formula 1 practice session for the 2022 FIA Formula 1 French Grand Prix, narrowly beating Red Bull Racing driver and championship leader Max Verstappen by just under a tenth of a second.

Verstappen led the way in the opening part of the session, with the Dutch driver eclipsing an early Leclerc lap of 1:37.420 by more than 1.6s. Verstappen was then joined at the top of the order by team-mate Sergio Pérez who ran some four tenths off the pace of the world champion. The early phase was also proving useful for McLaren with Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris slotting into third and fourth place respectively as the British team tested a comprehensively updated package featuring a new floor and sidepods.

Verstappen then lowered the benchmark to 1:34.991s, while Leclerc edged closer to take P2 before he was once again ousted by Pérez who once again got to within half a second of his team-mate.

Verstappen retired to the garage around the midpoint of the session but soon emerged on soft compound tyres and he again lowered the benchmark, this time to 1:34.346.

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz had the measure of that, however, and he snatched top spot with a lap of 1:34.268. Verstappen responded by taking back P1 with a lap of 1:34.021 but Leclerc was able to slip past the Dutchman’s time with his best time of 1:33.930.

Sainz finished the session in third place and fourth place went to Mercedes’ George Russell who set a best time of 1:34.881 that left him 0.951 off Leclerc. The Briton was the last man to get within a second of the lead Ferrari.

Fifth place in the session went to Pierre Gasly. The home hero made good use of a revised AlphaTauri to finish almost two tenths of a second ahead of Pérez. Norris claimed seventh place at the flag, while Williams’ Alex Albon finished eighth ahead of Formula E champion Nyck de Vries who took ninth place as he sat in for seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton. The top-10 order was rounded out by Ricciardo.

Pos.DriverCarTimeLaps
01 Charles Leclerc Ferrari F1-75 1:33.930 23
02 Max Verstappen Red Bull RBPT RB18 1:34.021 19
03 Carlos Sainz Ferrari F1-75 1:34.268 21
04 George Russell Mercedes W13 1:34.881 25
05 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri RBPT AT03 1:34.979 21
06 Sergio Perez Red Bull RBPT RB18 1:35.174 21
07 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes MCL36 1:35.232 21
08 Alex Albon Williams Mercedes FW44 1:35.414 24
09 Nyck De Vries Mercedes W13 1:35.426 23
10 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren Mercedes MCL36 1:35.660 21
11 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo Ferrari C42 1:35.676 21
12 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes AMR22 1:35.810 19
13 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault A522 1:35.828 21
14 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin Mercedes AMR22 1:35.851 24
15 Fernando Alonso Alpine Renault A522 1:35.875 22
16 Mick Schumacher Haas Ferrari VF-22 1:36.022 19
17 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari VF-22 1:36.104 22
18 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri RBPT AT03 1:36.127 26
19 Robert Kubica Alfa Romeo Ferrari C42 1:36.332 19
20 Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes FW44 1:37.043 23

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