Alex Kalinauckas

F1 French GP: Sainz leads Ferrari 1-2 in second practice

In the second hour-long session of the day in sweltering, cloudless conditions at Circuit Paul Ricard, Alfa Romeo duo Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu led the field.

Bottas duly set the benchmark for first place at 1m36.887s, with all early testing done on the medium compound tyres.

Zhou, Mick Schumacher and Esteban Ocon all posted faster times on their early FP2 riders, with Fernando Alonso finishing the first five minutes in the lead thanks to a 1m35.531s on the yellow-walled rubber.

Just over five minutes later, Haas rider Kevin Magnussen took the lead in a 1m35.386s, before being quickly dethroned by George Russell’s 1m34.810s.

The big hitters of the season – Ferrari and Red Bull – had yet to leave the pits at this stage, before Leclerc emerged just before the 15-minute mark and, on his first steering wheel, moved into the lead of the time with a 1m34.182s, which immediately put him 0.6s behind the peloton.

Verstappen came out minutes after Leclerc and, as he has done in FP1 and has done in many practices so far in 2022, took first place immediately – setting a 1m34.172s after completing two laps heating on its mediums.

It beat the times at the end of the first 20 minutes of the session, at which point Sainz – who had missed the first third of FP2 as Ferrari changed the floor of their car – went straight to the soft tyres.

The Spaniard took the red-walled rubber to the purple sectors in all three segments and took first place with a 1m33.322s – an improvement of 0.850s over Verstappen’s best effort on the mediums.

Minutes later, Leclerc returned and was now leading the softs, which he used to edge Sainz to a 1m33.136s as he edged his teammate in sectors one and three, while matching him down the middle. third to run 0.186s ahead.

Sainz had retired after his first softs flyer and, after Ferrari made some adjustments, returned to action on the same set of C2 softs.

Now running just past the halfway mark of the session, Sainz made significant gains over Leclerc’s lap in all three sectors to move back into first place with a 1m32.527s – getting a nice tow from Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri as he descended the pit directly to close on his knees.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18, Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB18

Photo by: Alastair Staley / Motorsport Images

By this stage Verstappen had returned to run the softs for the first time, but the understeer encountered in the technical section at the end of the first sector meant he was well behind Ferrari’s leading pace.

Verstappen started 0.247s behind Sainz after struggling with his RB18 in Turns 3 and 4, but then dispatched another quarter-second to find himself 0.550s behind on a 1m33.077s.

Running behind Verstappen, Leclerc had, like Sainz previously, also stung before leaving for a second run on the softs.

Here he gained 0.1 seconds on Sainz’s best time in the first sector before losing time for the rest of the lap – albeit with personal bests – to find himself 0.101 seconds behind.

At this point, with just over 20 minutes to go, Lewis Hamilton was fourth with his qualifying appearance simulation effort on the softs – the seven-time world champion making his first run at this event after having sold his Mercedes W13 to Nyck de Vries in FP1.

But Hamilton was pulled back to fifth by team-mate Russell minutes later, with the Mercedes drivers finishing 0.764 and 0.990 respectively behind Sainz.

Lando Norris took sixth ahead of the first home rider – Gasly – with Magnussen eighth and Daniel Ricciardo ninth in the second McLaren.

Sergio Perez completes the top 10 ahead of Alonso and Bottas.

Several drivers had off-track moments, with Schumacher the wildest in the early stages when the Haas driver lost the rear of his car on the turn for Le Beausset and ran through the large run-off area before coming to a just stop. before the barriers, which meant he was able to pull back into the pits.

Russell ran heavily on the curbs as he exited Beausset moments later but, unlike Verstappen at the same spot in FP1, he quickly veered left to try and avoid damaging his floor.

Magnussen then ran wide on the exit of turn two and also feared the curbs had damaged his car, while Russell also had to catch a late slam through the 3/4 corner chicane and fired through the runoff claiming that he could not “get to the boundary” far left in the runoff as required by the race director’s event requirements.

Result FP2:

#French #Sainz #leads #Ferrari #practice

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