Carlos Sainz gave Ferrari a Friday practice one-two as he beat team-mate Charles Leclerc, the fastest man in the opening session, to the top of the timesheet in second practice for the 2022 FIA Formula 1 French Grand Prix at the Circuit Paul Ricard.
In the opening exchanges Fernando Alonso set the pace thanks to an early lap of 1:35.531 set on medium compound tyres. Haas’ Kevin Magnussen and Mercedes’ George Russell then took turns at the top before Leclerc appeared for the first time with 15 minutes gone and immediately jumped to the top of the order with a lap of 1:34.182.
Verstappen then emerged and he too laid down a marker with his first flying lap of the late afternoon, stopping the watch with a lap of 1:34.172, also on medium tyres. Sainz, though, then took to the track on red-banded soft tyres and he took P1 with a lap of 1:33.322.
After a brief spell in the pit lane, Leclerc then returned to the action on softs and he moved ahead of team-mate Sainz with a lap of 1:33.136.
Sainz wasn’t finished, however, and after minor adjustments in the pit lane he went back out on the same set of soft tyres and powered past Leclerc’s time by more than half a second thanks to a new benchmark of 1:32.527.
Verstappen, suffering with understeer, couldn’t match the pace of the Ferrari drivers and his best effort on softs left him 0.550s off Sainz’s pace.
Leclerc, though, was able to find more time and matching the strategy of his team-mate he made a brief visit to the pit lane for tweaks before running again. And this time the Monegasque driver delivered a session-best first sector before fading slightly later in the lap to set a best time of 1:32.628, 0.101 off the Spaniard.
With Verstappen third, fourth place went to Mercedes’ George Russell, who ran a little over a tenth quicker than team-mate Lewis Hamilton who was left with fifth place at the end of the session.
After finishing seventh in the opening session, McLaren’s Lando Norris gained a place in the late afternoon, beating AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly who slipped from fifth in the morning to seventh in the second session, three tenths of a second behind Norris and 1.3s off Sainz’s P1 pace. Magnussen finished in eight place for Haas, while Daniel Ricciardo took ninth place in the second McLaren. The top 10 was rounded out by Red Bull’s Sergio Pérez Red Bull. The Mexican spent some time in the garage as his team remedied set-up issues and he ended a difficult day 1.5s off Sainz and almost a second off team-mate Verstappen.
2022 FIA Formula 1 French Grand Prix – Free Practice 2
1 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:32.527 22 227.297
2 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:32.628 0.101 22 227.050
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1:33.077 0.550 17 225.954
4 George Russell Mercedes 1:33.291 0.764 20 225.436
5 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:33.517 0.990 23 224.891
6 Lando Norris McLaren 1:33.607 1.080 21 224.675
7 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri1:33.906 1.379 24 223.960
8 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:33.928 1.401 24 223.907
9 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 1:33.984 1.457 23 223.774
10 Sergio Pérez Red Bull Racing 1:34.060 1.533 16 223.593
11 Fernando Alonso Alpine 1:34.259 1.732 24 223.121
12 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo 1:34.264 1.737 27 223.109
13 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 1:34.420 1.893 27 222.740
14 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 1:34.540 2.013 24 222.458
15 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1:34.595 2.068 26 222.328
16 Alexander Albon Williams 1:34.653 2.126 23 222.192
17 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo 1:34.654 2.127 26 222.190
18 Esteban Ocon Alpine 1:34.660 2.133 26 222.176
19 Mick Schumacher Haas 1:35.195 2.668 22 220.927
20 Nicholas Latifi Williams 1:35.412 2.885 26 220.425