Mexico, FP1: Sainz leads Ferrari 1-2 in opening practice

Two red flags in the first session


By Franck Drui

28 October 2022 - 21:12
Mexico, FP1: Sainz leads Ferrari (...)

Carlos Sainz topped the timesheet in the opening practice session for the 2022 FIA Formula 1 Mexican Grand Prix, beating Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc by just under five hundredths of a second as local hero Sergio Pérez took third place ahead of 2022 F1 champion Max Verstappen. The session was twice halted by red flag incidents, first involving Haas reserve Pietro Fittipaldi and then AlphaTauri reserve Liam Lawson.

Verstappen took an early lead in the session on hard tyres with a lap of 1:23.282, with Red Bull team-mate Pérez six tenths of a second behind in second. Leclerc was then forced back to the pits with a suspected left-rear puncture that sidelined him for a quarter of an hour.

Verstappen lowered the benchmark steadily over the opening spell before Pérez moved ahead thanks to a lap of 1:22.702. The Mexican’s hold on top spot was brief, however,m with Verstappen stealing back P1 by 0.411 courtesy of a lap of 1:22.291.

The field then began to switch to soft tyres and after returning to the fray, Leclerc jumped to the top of the order with a lap of 1:21.546, more than seven tenths of a second clear of Verstappen.

Verstappen then went out on track again but the Dutch driver suffered a rare spin in the chicane and ended up posting a lap of 1:20.827 that left him fourth. That left him 0.12s down on Leclerc but with an identical lap time to his teammate Perez. Sainz then vaulted to P1 with a lap of 1:20.707, 0.046s ahead of Leclerc. Fittipaldi then brought out the red flags, with the Haas driver breaking down on the main straight and the times at the top remained static.

The session was red-flagged for a final time with four minutes left on the clock when Lawson’s car expired into Turn 13. The New Zealander was told to pull over and stop in a safe place as smoke billowed from the rear left of his AlphaTauri. And when he came to rest his overheated brakes caught fire. The session was halted and with time running out the decision was taken that the session would not be restarted.

It left Sainz at the top of the timesheet ahead of Leclerc with Perez and Verstappen in third and fourth respectively while Lewis Hamilton took fifth place for Mercedes. Fernando Alonso finished sixth for Alpine ahead of Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas, while Lando Norris finished eighth ahead of AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly and Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel.

Five reserve and junior drivers took part in the session with Lawson quickest of the bunch in 16th place. Logan Sargeant finished 17th for Williams ahead of Nyck de Vries who deputised for George Russell, Jack Doohan who sat in for Esteban Ocon at Alpine and Fittipaldi who took Kevin Magnussen’s seat at Haas.

01 Carlos Sainz Ferrari F1-75 1:20.707 25
02 Charles Leclerc Ferrari F1-75 1:20.753 20
03 Sergio Perez Red Bull RBPT RB18 1:20.827 22
04 Max Verstappen Red Bull RBPT RB18 1:20.827 22
05 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W13 1:20.849 17
06 Fernando Alonso Alpine Renault A522 1:20.899 26
07 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo Ferrari C42 1:21.083 23
08 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes MCL36 1:21.120 21
09 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri RBPT AT03 1:21.310 25
10 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin Mercedes AMR22 1:21.525 24
11 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren Mercedes MCL36 1:21.762 16
12 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo Ferrari C42 1:21.820 20
13 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes AMR22 1:21.865 24
14 Mick Schumacher Haas Ferrari VF-22 1:21.952 22
15 Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes FW44 1:22.912 20
16 Liam Lawson AlphaTauri RBPT AT03 1:23.861 19
17 Logan Sargeant Williams Mercedes FW44 1:24.246 22
18 Nyck De Vries Mercedes W13 1:24.582 20
19 Jack Doohan Alpine Renault A522 1:24.615 13
20 Pietro Fittipaldi Haas Ferrari VF-22 1:26.766 9

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