Sao Paulo, FP1: Pérez leads the way in opening practice
Leclerc 2nd, Verstappen 3rd
Red Bull Racing’s Sergio Pérez topped the timesheet in the sole practice session before qualifying for the 2022 FIA Formula 1 São Paulo Grand as F1 embarked on its final Sprint weekend of the season.
FP1 at Interlagos was a close-run affair, however, and Pérez beat Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc to top spot by just four thousandths of a second, with 2022 World Champion Max Verstappen as further 0.008s back in third place.
Pérez made his way to P1 early in the session, running hard tyres to set a lap of 1:14.477 set in the first five minutes of the session. Verstappen soon beat that, though, recording a time of 1:14.104. Alfa Romeo’s Bottas then edged ahead but the Dutchman was quickly back in control with a lap of 1:13.646 which he then reduced to 1:13.575 as the session reached the quarter-hour mark.
A quiet period followed as drivers prepared for qualifying simulations and Pérez jumped back to the top of the order when he became the first to lap on soft tyres after 25 minutes.
The Mexican driver set a time of 1:11.853 to take P1 and he was followed by Verstappen who finished 0.008s adrift on a 1:11.861s, complaining that his car didn’t want to turn in.
Leclerc headed out on medium tyres and took third 0.5s off the pace. His Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz, who will take a five-place grid penalty on Sunday for using a sixth engine of the season in Brazil, moved ahead to take P3, almost three tenths off Pérez but using the medium tyres. As the final quarter of the session approached, Mercedes’ George Russell jumped up to fourth with his first run on the softs. The Briton was more than three tenths off the pace of Pérez, however.
As the Red Bull drivers moved to longer runs, Russell’s team-mate Lewis Hamilton went for his first run on the softs but he had to abandon it after going slightly wide on exit in Turn 7 and then locking up into Turn 8. Russell then went again and this time he got closer, just 0.202 off Pérez. He was then eclipsed by Hamilton who got to within two tenths, sitting 0.187 off the Mexican table topper.
With five minutes left in the session the Ferrari drivers emerged on soft tyres, with Sainz going first. The Spaniard went just 0.001s quicker than Hamilton but Leclerc then appeared to beat both with a lap of 1:11.857.
The Ferrari driver’s run meant Verstappen finished third ahead of Sainz and the Mercedes drivers. They were followed by Sebastian Vettel and Mick Schumacher, as Bottas and Pierre Gasly rounded out the top 10.
|01||Sergio Perez||Red Bull RBPT RB18||1:11.853||29|
|02||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari F1-75||1:11.857||31|
|03||Max Verstappen||Red Bull RBPT RB18||1:11.861||28|
|04||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari F1-75||1:12.039||30|
|05||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes W13||1:12.040||25|
|06||George Russell||Mercedes W13||1:12.055||24|
|07||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin Mercedes AMR22||1:12.157||30|
|08||Mick Schumacher||Haas Ferrari VF-22||1:12.314||27|
|09||Valtteri Bottas||Haas Ferrari VF-22||1:12.466||31|
|10||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri RBPT AT03||1:12.467||32|
|11||Fernando Alonso||Alpine Renault A522||1:12.554||25|
|12||Alex Albon||Williams Mercedes FW44||1:12.633||29|
|13||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault A522||1:12.705||30|
|14||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Mercedes AMR22||1:12.759||25|
|15||Lando Norris||McLaren Mercedes MCL36||1:12.955||28|
|16||Kevin Magnussen||Alfa Romeo Ferrari C42||1:12.997||25|
|17||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Mercedes FW44||1:13.019||32|
|18||Guanyu Zhou||Alfa Romeo Ferrari C42||1:13.115||30|
|19||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri RBPT AT03||1:13.347||32|
|20||Daniel Ricciardo||McLaren Mercedes MCL36||1:13.359||28|