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Amid the record heat that hits the Europea formula 1 opened this Friday the work for the French GP12th stage of the 2022 season. And in the first free practice session in Paul Ricarmarked by the tests of the new components of several teams, was Charles Leclerc who ended up on the tip, ahead of Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz.
Rounding out the top 10: George Russell, Pierre Gasly, Sergio Pérez, Lando Norris, Alex Albon, Nyck de Vris and Daniel Ricirdo.
The session had two non-holders. Nyck de Vries raced in Hamilton’s W13, with Mercedes meeting part of the rule to open two Friday practice slots throughout the year for young talent. Robert Kubica has been cast in place of Bottas at Alfa Romeo, but as part of the team’s development programme.
Even with the intense heat at the time of the session (14:00 local time), the track quickly filled up, so that the teams could test the new features brought to the cars.
After the opening 15 minutes, Red Bull was making it 1-2. Verstappen led with 01min34s691, 0s571 ahead of Pérez. Leclerc was third at 0.830, with Russell fourth and Gasly fifth, while De Vries was sixth on his Mercedes debut in a race weekend.
The first incident came with Pérez close to 20 minutes. The Mexican attacked the curb too much and ended up losing control of Red Bull, running towards the escape area. It is worth remembering that the blue and red bands are extremely abrasive, greatly affecting the tire when the car passes over it. Without crashing, Pérez returned to the track alone, without yellow flags.
At the halfway mark of the session, it was Sainz who led with 01min34s268, just 0s078 ahead of Verstappen. Pérez, Leclerc and Russell completed the top 5, with the Mercedes driver more than 1s5 away.
In the following minutes, the soft tires began to dominate the choices of drivers and teams. With that, Verstappen took the lead with 01min34s021, with Leclerc and Sainz on his tail, with Gasly and Russell closing the top 5 ahead of Pérez.
In the end, it was Charles Leclerc who finished in the lead with 01min33s30, just 0s091 ahead of Max Verstappen, with Carlos Sainz in third. Rounding out the top 10: George Russell, Pierre Gasly, Sergio Pérez, Lando Norris, Alex Albon, Nyck de Vris and Daniel Ricirdo.
Formula 1 returns to Paul Ricard’s track this Friday for the second free practice for the French GP. The session is scheduled for 12:00, with transmission of the bandsports. And make a note of it: as soon as FP2 is over, Free Friday live on the channel motorsport.com on Youtube. Don’t miss out!
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