Formula 1

Leclerc Tops Opening Practice Session of Miami Grand Prix Weekend

2 Mins read
Credit: Scuderia Ferrari Media Centre

Championship leader Charles Leclerc opened up the Miami Grand Prix weekend with the fastest time in first practice, the Monegasque racer edging out George Russell by just 0.071 seconds.

All twenty drivers took to the Miami International Autodrome to get first laps under their belts on Friday morning, with Williams Racing’s Nicholas Latifi the first driver to exit the pit lane once the green light was illuminated.

Everyone went out early and did multiple laps to understand the newest track on the Formula 1 calendar, although Mick Schumacher was late out for the Haas F1 Team.  And as drivers became acclimatised to the track, lap times began to tumble.

But come the end of the session, Leclerc was at the top of the timesheets, the Scuderia Ferrari driver posting a time of 1:31.098 to beat Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team’s Russell by under a tenth of a second.

Mercedes are trialling out a new front and rear wing this weekend in a bid to fix the issues they’ve had with porpoising so far in 2022, and the fix appears to be a step in the right direction, although both Russell and team-mate Lewis Hamilton were still noticeably bouncing down the straights.

Max Verstappen ended third fastest for Oracle Red Bull Racing, but the Dutchman completed only fourteen laps as the team battled to solve an overheating problem with his car.  His team-mate Sergio Pérez did not have the same kind of problems, with the Mexican ending fourth, just 0.024 seconds back on the Dutchman.

Pierre Gasly was an encouraging fifth for Scuderia AlphaTauri, just ahead of the second Ferrari of Carlos Sainz Jr.  The Spaniard suffered a high speed spin at turn four late in the session but was able to keep the car out of the barriers.

Alexander Albon was an excellent seventh for Williams ahead of Hamilton, Haas’ Kevin Magnussen and McLaren F1 Team’s Daniel Ricciardo.

The second McLaren of Lando Norris ended eleventh ahead of BWT Alpine F1 Team’s Fernando Alonso, while Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN’s Zhou Guanyu edged out Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team’s Sebastian Vettel for thirteenth.  Alpine’s Esteban Ocon and Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll finished fifteenth and sixteenth respectively.

There was one red flag during the session, with Valtteri Bottas crashing his Alfa Romeo car into the barriers at the long turn seven/eight sequence, the Finn damaging the rear of the car on impact.

As a result of the crash, Bottas completed only thirteen laps of the Miami street track and ended down in seventeenth position in the order, ahead only of AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda, Haas’ Schumacher and Williams’ Latifi.

Miami International Autodrome Free Practice 1 Result

116Charles LeclercMONScuderia Ferrari1:31.09826
263George RussellGBRMercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team1:31.169+0.07123
31Max VerstappenNEDOracle Red Bull Racing1:31.277+0.17914
411Sergio PérezMEXOracle Red Bull Racing1:31.301+0.20322
510Pierre GaslyFRAScuderia AlphaTauri1:31.498+0.40027
655Carlos Sainz Jr.ESPScuderia Ferrari1:31.528+0.43025
723Alexander AlbonTHAWilliams Racing1:31.854+0.75620
844Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team1:31.956+0.85823
920Kevin MagnussenDENHaas F1 Team1:32.559+1.46120
103Daniel RicciardoAUSMcLaren F1 Team1:32.592+1.49421
114Lando NorrisGBRMcLaren F1 Team1:32.615+1.51726
1214Fernando AlonsoESPBWT Alpine F1 Team1:32.884+1.78631
1324Zhou GuanyuCHNAlfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN1:33.020+1.92223
145Sebastian VettelGERAston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team1:33.024+1.92624
1531Esteban OconFRABWT Alpine F1 Team1:33.417+2.31927
1618Lance StrollCANAston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team1:33.576+2.47823
1777Valtteri BottasFINAlfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN1:33.773+2.67513
1822Yuki TsunodaJAPScuderia AlphaTauri1:34.043+2.94527
1947Mick SchumacherGERUralkali Haas F1 Team1:34.945+3.84720
206Nicholas LatifiCANWilliams Racing1:35.637+4.53927
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Thirty-something motorsport fanatic, covering Formula 1, Formula Renault 2.0 and Formula 3. Feel free to give him a follow on Twitter at @Paul11MSport.
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