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Spa, FP1: Sainz quickest in FP1 in Belgium as penalties take a toll

Leclerc 2nd, Verstappen 3rd


By Franck Drui

26 August 2022 - 15:09
Spa, FP1: Sainz quickest in FP1 in (...)

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz topped the timesheet in the opening practice session for the Belgian Grand Prix as F1 returned to action after its traditional summer break. Sainz finished 0.069 ahead of team-mate Charles Leclerc and just over two tenths of a second ahead of Drivers’ World Championship leader Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing.

However, both Leclerc and Verstappen will face grid drops on Sunday as they joined a number of drivers in taking PU-related penalties at Spa-Francorchamps. The title-contending pair will be joined at the back of the field by McLaren’s Lando Norris, Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, Haas’ Mick Schumacher and Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas who also took fresh PU elements beyond their seasonal allocation.

In the session, Sainz opened proceedings in slightly damp conditions with a lap of 1: 51.622 on hard compound tyres. The Spaniard was soon beaten to top spot by Norris and his McLaren team-mate Daniel Riccardo, before Verstappen then went out and went several seconds quicker, with the Dutch driver stopping the clock at 1:46.755 on softs tyres.

As the session approached the halfway mark, Williams’ Alex Albon then jumped to second place ahead of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton thanks to a lap of 1:48.112. Sainz then moved back to top spot with a lap of 1:46.538, beating Verstappen’s time by two tenths of a second. Leclerc slotted into second place, just 0.069s behind his team-mate.

The session was red-flagged with 22 minutes remaining when Haas’ Kevin Magnussen ground to a halt at the exit of the La Source hairpin. It took some time for his car to be recovered and when the session resumed there were just nine minutes left on the clock.

However, the misty rain then became a light drizzle and with a few minutes left a heavier rain shower erased any hope of a late improvement.

Mercedes’ George Russell finished fourth ahead of Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll, while Albon held on to sixth place. Ricciardo finished seventh, followed by AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda, Hamilton and the top 10 order was rounded out by Sergio Pérez in the second Red Bull.

01 Carlos Sainz Ferrari F1-75 1:46.538 16
02 Charles Leclerc Ferrari F1-75 1:46.607 16
03 Max Verstappen Red Bull RBPT RB18 1:46.755 10
04 George Russell Mercedes W13 1:47.396 13
05 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes AMR22 1:47.437 13
06 Alex Albon Williams Mercedes FW44 1:47.835 15
07 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren Mercedes MCL36 1:48.081 14
08 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri RBPT AT03 1:48.310 17
09 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W13 1:48.420 10
10 Sergio Perez Red Bull RBPT RB18 1:48.474 13
11 Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes FW44 1:48.485 13
12 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo Ferrari C42 1:48.672 16
13 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes MCL36 1:49.470 15
14 Fernando Alonso Alpine Renault A522 1:49.664 17
15 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin Mercedes AMR22 1:49.813 12
16 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault A522 1:50.315 5
17 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari VF-22 1:50.982 9
18 Mick Schumacher Haas Ferrari VF-22 1:51.259 15
19 Liam Lawson AlphaTauri RBPT AT03 1:52.065 14
20 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo Ferrari C42 -:—.--- 2

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