Saturday, July 23, 2022


Leclerc beats Verstappen to fastest time in opening French GP practice

French Grand Prix Practice - Charles Leclerc - Ferrari

Charles Leclerc’s French Grand Prix weekend got off to a strong start as he beat championship rival Max Verstappen to the fastest time in opening practice at Circuit Paul Ricard.

The Ferrari driver clocked a 1m 33.930s on the soft tyre to finish just 0.091s ahead of the Red Bull, however Verstappen lost around two tenths of a second running wide at Turn 11 on his best lap.

Carlos Sainz was more than 0.3s off the pace in third, the Spaniard facing a tricky weekend ahead after Ferrari fitted a new control electronics to his F1-75 that triggers a 10-place grid penalty.

All three tyre compounds were on show in the opening 60-minute practice session of the weekend, as teams evaluated how the Pirelli rubber coped with the heatwave cruising across Europe right now. Track temperatures hit 58 degrees Celsius.

Mercedes, who have brought updates to France, were inside a second of the fastest time, courtesy of George Russell, with the team’s reserve Nyck de Vries borrowing Lewis Hamilton’s car for practice 1 and ending up ninth, half a second further back.

This was the first time in Hamilton’s career – which hits 300 Grand Prix weekends in France – that he has given up his car for a practice session. The rules mandate each driver must do so at least once this season and the seven-time world champion, who watched the action from the Mercedes garage alongside boss Toto Wolff, chose this weekend to step aside.

Pigeon Post News

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