Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc got off to a flying start in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix weekend, topping the timesheets ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in the first practice session in Jeddah.
In the closing parts of first practice, the Monesgague, who won the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix last weekend, raced to the top of the order with a 1m30.772s, finishing 0.116s ahead of reigning world champion Verstappen.
Leclerc achieved the fastest time on Pirelli’s soft tyres, while Verstappen set the fastest time on hard tyres after aborting his first run on softs and then suffering a puncture on his second attempt.
made a late move up the order to put his Alfa Romeo third in the timesheets, just 0.312s off the pace.
Carlos Sainz struggled with bouncing in his Ferrari on his way to fourth, ahead of AlphaTauri pairing Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda who took fifth and sixth respectively.
Sergio Perez was seventh fastest, 0.791s slower than the sister Red Bull, while Esteban Ocon was eighth fastest for Alpine.
Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton had a rough start to the weekend, with the reigning world champions still working to resolve the porpoising issue that they believe is limiting the actual performance of their W13 challenger.
The seven-time world champion could only manage the ninth-best time on soft tyres, 1.5 seconds slower than the leaders, due to “a lot of bouncing” during the first 60 minutes of running in Jeddah.
George Russell, Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate, finished 15th despite spending much of FP1 with a different rear wing configuration than Hamilton.
Fernando Alonso, a two-time world champion, finished just 0.017s behind Hamilton to round up Alpine’s top ten.
When McLaren’s Lando Norris clipped a 50m brake marker that had fallen onto the course at Turn 1, a momentary red flag was displayed, leaving bits of polystyrene strewn across the end of the straight.
Kevin Magnussen failed to post a time in first practice as his Haas experienced a hydraulic leak on his out-lap after a spectacular fifth place in Bahrain. The Dane was unable to restart the session because his VF-22’s radiator needed to be replaced by an American crew.
2022 F1 SAUDI ARABIAN GRAND PRIX – FREE PRACTICE RESULTS (1)
|1||Charles Leclerc||MON||Scuderia Ferrari||1m30.722s|
|2||Max Verstappen||NED||Oracle Red Bull Racing||1m30.888s|
|3||Valtteri Bottas||FIN||Alfa Romeo F1 Team Orlen||1m31.084s|
|4||Carlos Sainz||ESP||Scuderia Ferrari||1m31.139s|
|5||Pierre Gasly||FRA||Scuderia AlphaTauri||1m31.317s|
|6||Yuki Tsunoda||JPN||Scuderia AlphaTauri||1m31.505s|
|7||Sergio Perez||MEX||Oracle Bull Racing||1m31.563s|
|8||Esteban Ocon||FRA||BWT Alpine F1 Team||1m32.026s|
|9||Lewis Hamilton||GBR||Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team||1m32.364s|
|10||Fernando Alonso||ESP||BWT Alpine F1 Team||1m32.381s|
|11||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||McLaren F1 Team||1m32.506s|
|12||Lance Stroll||CAN||Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team||1m32.582s|
|13||Lando Norris||GBR||McLaren F1 Team||1m32.594s|
|14||Guanyu Zhou||CHN||Alfa Romeo F1 Team Orlen||1m32.608s|
|15||George Russell||GBR||Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team||1m32.839s|
|16||Nico Hulkenberg||GER||Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team||1m33.034s|
|17||Alexander Albon||THA||Williams Racing||1m33.087s|
|18||Nicholas Latifi||CAN||Williams Racing||1m33.529s|
|19||Mick Schumacher||GER||Haas F1 Team||1m34.429s|
|20||Kevin Magnussen||DEN||Haas F1 Team||No Time Set|