2022 Sao Paulo Grand Prix FP1 report and highlights: FP1: Perez drops Leclerc and Verstappen in first practice close to qualifying at Interlagos

2022 Sao Paulo Grand Prix FP1 report and highlights: FP1: Perez drops Leclerc and Verstappen in first practice close to qualifying at Interlagos

Sergio Perez briefly set the pace during Friday’s first practice session for the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, ahead of Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc and Red Bull team mate Max Verstappen, as the season’s third and final F1 sprint weekend gets underway.

Given the sprint format, FP1 took on more importance than the usual Friday programme, with just 60 minutes available for teams to understand and fine-tune their cars before qualifying on the technical Interlagos circuit.

Also read: Unpredictable weather, a brilliant track and the return of the sprint – Sao Paulo is set to deliver on all fronts

After the drivers spent the early stages gathering information on the hard and medium tire compounds – Verstappen led with a hard-shod time of 1m 13.575s – the first sets of softs appeared around the halfway mark, leading to a flurry of improvements.

Perez set off on the red-marked rubber, clocking 1m 11.853s, with Verstappen initially p2, 0.008s behind, as the reigning double world champion reported on the radio that his RB18 was “not turning.”


Red Bull Racing



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Red Bull Racing



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In the final minutes of the session, Leclerc would pip the struggling Verstappen by 0.004 seconds to split the Red Bulls, after the Ferrari delayed on soft tires – with Carlos Sainz in fourth, just under two-tenths.

Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell were both within Sainz in P5 and P6 respectively, despite Hamilton saying the “rear was floating around” and locking up at the start of the run on his soft tyres.

Also read: Hamilton’s Sao Paulo charge, Alonso’s rocket start and Bottas own it – 7 top F1 sprint moments

Sebastian Vettel kept his Aston Martin seventh as his F1 retirement draws ever closer, as Haas driver Mick Schumacher, the Alfa Romeo of Valtteri Bottas and Alfatauri’s Pierre Gasly round out the top 10 positions.

Alpine duo Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon made a low-key start to the weekend in respective P11 and P13 spots – with neither Alpine nor rival McLaren running soft tires in the session – sandwiching Williams man Alex Albon, Lance Stroll with technical issues with the other Aston Martin in 14 After reporting.

Drivers and teams run packed FP1 programs to prepare for qualifying

Due to illness on Thursday, Lando Norris took to the track to lead the McLaren charge in P15, followed by the remaining Haas and Williams machines of Kevin Magnussen and Nicolas Latifi.

Zhou Guanyu (Alpha Romeo), Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) and Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) completed the field by 1.5 seconds at the 4.309km venue.

Also Read: Verstappen sees ‘good chance’ of extending F1 win record at Interlagos as Perez targets Red Bull 1-2 in standings

In an otherwise quiet session, a slow pace at the exit of the Senna Aces attracted the ire of Norris Sainz, with Stroll frustrating Leclerc in another traffic-related incident as he ran away at Juncao.

After FP1, attention immediately turns to qualifying in Sao Paulo, which is scheduled to start at 1600 local time. Inspection Race hub For more information.

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