Formula 1

Leclerc leads Verstappen in first free practice at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

2 Mins read
Credit: Ferrari Media

Charles Leclerc continued his strong form as he topped the first practice ahead of Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas.

Leclerc was faster than Verstappen by 0.116 seconds. Leclerc set the fastest lap of 1m30.772s on the soft compound tyres in the dying minutes of the session. Verstappen set his fastest time on the hard compound tyres, an ominous sign for the competition.

The first free practice session of the second race of the 2022 FIA Formula 1 World Championship took place at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Formula 1 returned to this track for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in less than four months. This race debuted on the Formula 1 calendar as the penultimate race of last season.

The track has 27 corners and is a superfast flowing track. It is a temporary street circuit with the barriers close to the track. The drivers negotiated the first session without any major incidents.

The sixty-minute long first free practice session started at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit with air temperatures at 22 degrees C and track temperatures at 27 degrees C. The humidity was very high as the session started at the local time of 5:00pm.

The Pirelli tyre choice at this race is the white-striped hard compound tyres (C2), yellow-striped medium compound tyres (C3), and red-striped soft compound tyres (C4), the middle range of compounds in the Pirelli tyre range.

All the drivers except the Scuderia Ferrari drivers were out on the track immediately. Kevin Magnussen did not set a timed lap as he had to sit out the session due to hydraulic issues.

Verstappen on the hard compound tyres went to the top of the time charts with a lap time of 1m34.167s. Esteban Ocon slotted into second position behind him.

Even as Verstappen extended his lead at the top, Hamilton was in second place on the soft compound tyres. Sergio Pérez went to second position behind Verstappen.

A loose marker board at Turn 1 brought out the red flags briefly. After the session resumed with fourty minutes to go, the Ferrari drivers finally came out on the track.

The Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team drivers were trying different rear-wings to reduce drag on this fast circuit. Leclerc soon jumped to second position behind Verstappen only to be displace by Pierre Gasly.

With fifteen minutes to go, the drivers started the simulations on the soft compound tyres. Leclerc set the fastest lap in the dying minutes of the session. Verstappen stayed in second position even as Bottas jumped into third position.

Sainz and Gasly were in fourth and fifth positions.Tsunoda was in sixth position ahead of Pérez. Ocon and Fernando Alonso were in eight and tenth positions for the Alpine F1 team.

Hamilton was in ninth position as Mercedes tried to find solutions to their problems. The second free practice session will take place at the same time as the qualification session and race.

116Charles LeclercMONScuderia Ferrari1:30.77217
21Max VerstappenNEDOracle Red Bull Racing1:30.888+0.116s24
377Valtteri BottasFINAlfa Romeo Racing1:31.084+0.312s22
455Carlos SainzESPScuderia Ferrari1:31.139+0.367s14
510Pierre GaslyFRAScuderia AlphaTauri1:31.317+0.545s28
622Yuki TsunodaJAPScuderia AlphaTauri1:31.505+0.733s26
711Sergio PerezMEXOracle Red Bull Racing1:31.563+0.791s25
831Esteban OconFRABWT Alpine F1 Team1:32.026+1.254s26
944Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team1:32.364+1.592s20
1014Fernando AlonsoESPBWT Alpine F1 Team1:32.381+1.609s23
113Daniel RicciardoAUSMcLaren F1 Team1:32.506+1.734s24
1218Lance StrollCANAston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team1:32.582+1.810s23
134Lando NorrisGBRMcLaren F1 Team1:32.594+1.822s24
1424Zhou GuanyuCHNAlfa Romeo Racing1:32.608+1.836s26
1563George RussellGBRMercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team1:32.839+2.067s19
1627Nico HulkenbergGERAston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team1:33.034+2.262s23
1723Alexander AlbonTHAWilliams Racing1:33.087+2.315s25
186Nicholas LatifiCANWilliams Racing1:33.529+2.757s26
1947Mick SchumacherGERHaas F1 Team1:34.429+3.657s22
2020Kevin MagnussenDENHaas F1 Team2

261 posts

About author
Avid Formula 1 and Motorsport fan for a very long time. Love researching and writing about F1. An Engineer by profession. All-round sports nut
Related posts
Formula 1

“We were not expecting Barcelona to suit us too well” – Alfa Romeo’s Frédéric Vasseur

1 Mins read
There were mixed results for Alfa Romeo in Spain, with Valtteri Bottas finishing a strong sixth to score points but with Zhou Guanyu retiring early.
Formula 1

Valtteri Bottas: “We chose to be aggressive and take a risk with the strategy”

2 Mins read
Valtteri Bottas scored more points for Alfa Romeo in Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix, but Zhou Guanyu was an early retiree due to a technical issue.
Formula 1

Ferrari’s Mattia Binotto: “Clearly, we’re not happy with today’s result”

2 Mins read
Ferrari were not happy with the result of the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday, but Mattia Binotto feels there are still plenty of positives to take away from the opening six races of the season.