Miami, FP1: Leclerc tops opening practice for inaugural Miami Grand Prix

Russell 2nd, Verstappen 3rd


By Olivier Ferret

6 May 2022 - 21:42
Miami, FP1: Leclerc tops opening (...)

FIA Formula One World Championship leader Charles Leclerc set the pace in the opening practice session for the inaugural Miami Grand Prix beating Mercedes’ George Russell by seven hundredths of a second. Defending champion Max Verstappen finished third at the Miami International Autodrome ahead of Red Bull team-mate Sergio Pérez.

Ferrari driver Leclerc jumped to the top of the timesheet early in the session with a lap of 1:34.846. That put him three tenths of a second clear of the field but then Verstappen found a solid chunk of time to put seven tenths of a second between him and title rival Leclerc.

The new track began to improve rapidly as rubber went down and Leclerc’s team-mate, Carlos Sainz, took over at the top with a lap of 1:32.442 as Pérez slotted into third place. third.

However, Verstappen’s running was halted after just nine lap. The Dutch driver was called back tom the pits as he battled an overheating car.

Just before the halfway mark, the session itself was halted when Valtteri Bottas lost the rear of his Alfa Romeo between Turns 7 and 8. He slid backwards into the barriers damaging the rear wing. He would not take part in the rest of the session.

When the session resumed after an eight-minute delay Verstappen rejoined the action alongside Pérez. Sainz then had an incident in Turn 4. Running on the soft compound C4 tyres , the Spaniard lost the rear of his Ferrari and slid through the run-off area. He managed to avoid the barriers but he sustained a puncture that led to him limping slowly back to the pits.

Verstappen quickly got on the pace again and he posted a lap of 1:31.350 on soft tyres and then improved in P1 with a lap of 1:31.277.

That left him half a second clear of Williams’ Alex Albon. The Thai driver’s impressive performance was shaded in the final moments, however, as a clutch of drivers, including Leclerc, Russell and Pérez made late improvements. Albon would still finish in P7.

One of those late improvements came from AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly, who finished fifth behind Pérez and ahead of Sainz. Lewis Hamilton took his Mercedes to eighth place ahead of Haas’ Kevin Magnussen and McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo.

01 Charles Leclerc Ferrari F1-75 1:31.098 26
02 George Russell Mercedes W13 1:31.169 23
03 Max Verstappen Red Bull RBPT RB18 1:31.277 14
04 Sergio Perez Red Bull RBPT RB18 1:31.301 22
05 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri RBPT AT03 1:31.498 27
06 Carlos Sainz Ferrari F1-75 1:31.528 25
07 Alex Albon Williams Mercedes FW44 1:31.854 20
08 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W13 1:31.956 23
09 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari VF-22 1:32.559 20
10 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren Mercedes MCL36 1:32.592 21
11 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes MCL36 1:32.615 26
12 Fernando Alonso Alpine Renault A522 1:32.884 31
13 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo Ferrari C42 1:33.020 23
14 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin Mercedes AMR22 1:33.024 24
15 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault A522 1:33.417 27
16 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes AMR22 1:33.576 23
17 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo Ferrari C42 1:33.773 13
18 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri RBPT AT03 1:34.043 27
19 Mick Schumacher Haas Ferrari VF-22 1:34.945 20
20 Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes FW44 1:35.637 27

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