Leclerc quickest in French Grand Prix opening practice

Leclerc quickest in French Grand Prix opening practice

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc went quickest in the opening Formula 1 practice session for the 2022 FIA Formula 1 French Grand Prix, narrowly beating Red Bull Racing driver and championship leader Max Verstappen by just under a tenth of a second.


Verstappen led the way in the opening part of the session, with the Dutch driver eclipsing an early Leclerc lap of 1:37.420 by more than 1.6s. Verstappen was then joined at the top of the order by team-mate Sergio Pérez who ran some four tenths off the pace of the world champion. The early phase was also proving useful for McLaren with Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris slotting into third and fourth place respectively as the British team tested a comprehensively updated package featuring a new floor and sidepods. 


Verstappen then lowered the benchmark to 1:34.991s, while Leclerc edged closer to take P2 before he was once again ousted by Pérez who once again got to within half a second of his team-mate. 


Verstappen retired to the garage around the midpoint of the session but soon emerged on soft compound tyres and he again lowered the benchmark, this time to 1:34.346.
 

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz had the measure of that, however, and he snatched top spot with a lap of 1:34.268. Verstappen responded by taking back P1 with a lap of 1:34.021 but Leclerc was able to slip past the Dutchman’s time with his best time of 1:33.930. 


Sainz finished the session in third place and fourth place went to Mercedes’ George Russell who set a best time of 1:34.881 that left him 0.951 off Leclerc. The Briton was the last man to get within a second of the lead Ferrari.


Fifth place in the session went to Pierre Gasly. The home hero made good use of a revised AlphaTauri to finish almost two tenths of a second ahead of Pérez. Norris claimed seventh place at the flag, while Williams’ Alex Albon finished eighth ahead of Formula E champion Nyck de Vries who took ninth place as he sat in for seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton. The top-10 order was rounded out by Ricciardo 


2022 FIA Formula 1 French Grand Prix – Free Practice 1 

1 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:33.930 23 223.902
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1:34.021 0.091 19 223.686
3 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:34.268 0.338 21 223.100
4 George Russell Mercedes 1:34.881 0.951 25 221.658
5 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 1:34.979 1.049 21 221.430
6 Sergio Pérez Red Bull 1:35.174 1.244 21 220.976
7 Lando Norris McLaren 1:35.232 1.302 21 220.841
8 Alexander Albon Williams 1:35.414 1.484 24 220.420
9 Nyck de Vries Mercedes 1:35.426 1.496 23 220.392
10 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 1:35.660 1.730 21 219.853
11 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo 1:35.676 1.746 21 219.816
12 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1:35.810 1.880 19 219.509
13 Esteban Ocon Alpine 1:35.828 1.898 21 219.468
14 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 1:35.851 1.921 24 219.415
15 Fernando Alonso Alpine 1:35.875 1.945 22 219.360
16 Mick Schumacher Haas 1:36.022 2.092 19 219.024
17 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:36.104 2.174 22 218.837
18 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 1:36.127 2.197 26 218.785
19 Robert Kubica Alfa Romeo 1:36.332 2.402 19 218.319
20 Nicholas Latifi Williams 1:37.043 3.113 23 216.720


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