Charles Leclerc fastest in Spanish Grand Prix opening practice

Charles Leclerc fastest in Spanish Grand Prix opening practice

Charles Leclerc set the quickest lap of opening practice for the 2022 FIA Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix ahead of team-mate and local hero Carlos Sainz to hand Ferrari a one-two start to the weekend at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

The session welcomed two F1 debutants in the shape of 2021 FIA Formula E World Champion Nyck de Vries, replacing Alex Abon at Williams for FP1, and Red Bull Racing Reserve and F2 driver Juri Vips, who deputised for Sergio Pérez.

And it was de Vries who set an early benchmark of 1:27.438, though the Dutch driver was soon dropped down the order, first by Sainz and AlpahTauri’s Pierre Gasly, before the Formula E driver’s compatriot Max Verstappen took top spot. The world champion Red Bull driver eventually worked his way down to a time of 1:22.143 over the course of a stint on hard compound Pirelli tyres.  

That stood as the best time of the first half of the session, but when the field began to move to soft compound tyres, his stay at the top was ended.

Sainz moved to the top of the timesheet with a lap of 1:19.907. Verstappen attempted to respond on softs but after posting best times in the opening two sectors, the Dutchman hit traffic in the final third of the lap and crossed the line over two tenths of a second off Sainz.

Leclerc then went quickest in the middle sector to narrowly beat team-mate Sainz by 0.079s.

George Russell finished fourth for Mercedes with a lap of 1:20.50, while Fernando Alonso was fifth for Alpine thanks to a late run on softs. That left Lewis Hamilton in sixth place ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris and Gasly. Daniel Ricciardo was ninth in the second McLaren with Yuki Tsunoda tenth for AlphaTauri.

2022 FIA Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix – Free Practice 1

1 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 27 1:19.828
2 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 27 1:19.907 0.079
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 28 1:20.164 0.336
4 George Russell Mercedes 28 1:20.590 0.762
5 Fernando Alonso Alpine 24 1:20.768 0.940
6 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 27 1:20.811 0.983
7 Lando Norris McLaren 24 1:21.279 1.451
8 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri Red Bull 23 1:21.422 1.594
9 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 23 1:21.737 1.909
10 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri Red Bull 28 1:21.814 1.986
11 Esteban Ocon Alpine 26 1:21.891 2.063
12 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 23 1:21.920 2.092
13 Robert Kubica Alfa Romeo 20 1:21.975 2.147
14 Kevin Magnussen Haas 16 1:22.089 2.261
15 Mick Schumacher Haas 21 1:22.146 2.318
16 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 20 1:22.164 2.336
17 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo 25 1:22.614 2.786
18 Nyck de Vries Williams 28 1:22.920 3.092
19 Nicholas Latifi Williams 27 1:23.011 3.183
20 Jüri Vips Red Bull Rcaing 23 1:24.138 4.310

Related Motorsport Articles

84,552 articles