Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Miami International Autodrome, 2022

Leclerc fastest as Bottas crashes in opening Miami practice

2022 Miami Grand Prix first practice

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Championship leader Charles Leclerc was fastest for the first ever practice session in Miami as Valtteri Bottas crashed at the marina corner.

The Ferrari driver was less than a tenth of a second faster than George Russell’s Mercedes, with the two Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez third and fourth.

Slight cloud cover over the circuit could not prevent temperatures from breaching 33C as the green light at the end of the pit lane signalled the start of the very first official session to be held at the Miami International Autodrome.

Unsurprisingly, all 20 drivers wasted no time in taking to the track and getting acclimatised with the 5.4km circuit, with many drivers quickly learning where the limits of grip were over the 19-turn.

Verstappen was the first driver to brush the wall, kissing the barrier on the exit of turn 16 entering the long back straight under the tunnel. Soon afterwards, Leclerc had a spin at the first corner, but was able to continue.

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren, Miami International Autodrome, 2022
Gallery: Miami Grand Prix practice in pictures
Leclerc’s spin did not slow him down, and he eventually set the early benchmark of a 1’32.949, before Russell went second quickest by setting a lap one-thousandths of a second slower than the Ferrari.

Esteban Ocon was placed under investigation by the stewards for an unsafe release from the pit lane in front of Russell’s Mercedes – the Alpine driver was penalised for the same infraction during the previous race at Imola. Meanwhile Carlos Sainz Jnr and Mick Schumacher had a disagreement after the Ferrari came across the Haas into the tight sequence in the second sector.

Verstappen’s running was heavily compromised by overheating problems on his Red Bull. He was called in on multiple occasions due to his car running too hot, meaning he would spend considerable time in the garage receiving work.

With half of the session gone, Sainz had moved fastest with a 1’32.443, with Lewis Hamilton two hundredths slower in second. Then, with just over 25 minutes remaining, Valtteri Bottas brought out the red flags after losing control at the marina corner of turn seven and crashing backwards into the barriers.

After a short delay while the crashed Alfa Romeo was recovered, the session resumed with less than 20 minutes remaining.

Sainz had a high speed spin exiting turn four, pitching his Ferrari through 360 degrees, but somehow avoided the barriers. However, the spin destroyed Sainz’s tyres, causing a puncture on his right-front and forcing him to limp slowly back to the pit lane.

After his earlier overheating problems, Verstappen was eventually allowed back onto the circuit and immediately lowered a new fastest lap. He would improve his own best time, before Leclerc jumped to the top of the times with a 1’31.098, which would ultimately prove the quickest time of the afternoon session.

The chequered flag ended the first of the day’s practice hours with Leclerc fastest, just 0.071s ahead of Russell’s Mercedes. Verstappen was third fastest, under two tenths behind Leclerc, with team mate Perez in fourth.

Pierre Gasly put AlphaTauri fifth fastest, with Sainz in sixth, ahead of Alex Albon’s Williams in seventh. Hamilton ended the session eighth quickest, with Kevin Magnussen and Daniel Ricciardo completing the top 10.

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2022 Miami Grand Prix first practice result

Position Number Driver Team Model Time Gap Laps
1 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari F1-75 1’31.098 26
2 63 George Russell Mercedes W13 1’31.169 0.071 23
3 1 Max Verstappen Red Bull RB18 1’31.277 0.179 14
4 11 Sergio Perez Red Bull RB18 1’31.301 0.203 22
5 10 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Red Bull AT03 1’31.498 0.400 27
6 55 Carlos Sainz Jnr Ferrari F1-75 1’31.528 0.430 25
7 23 Alexander Albon Williams-Mercedes FW44 1’31.854 0.756 20
8 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W13 1’31.956 0.858 23
9 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari VF-22 1’32.559 1.461 20
10 3 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren-Mercedes MCL36 1’32.592 1.494 21
11 4 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes MCL36 1’32.615 1.517 26
12 14 Fernando Alonso Alpine-Renault A522 1’32.884 1.786 31
13 24 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo-Ferrari C42 1’33.020 1.922 23
14 5 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin-Mercedes AMR22 1’33.024 1.926 24
15 31 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault A522 1’33.417 2.319 27
16 18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes AMR22 1’33.576 2.478 23
17 77 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo-Ferrari C42 1’33.773 2.675 13
18 22 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Red Bull AT03 1’34.043 2.945 27
19 47 Mick Schumacher Haas-Ferrari VF-22 1’34.945 3.847 20
20 6 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes FW44 1’35.637 4.539 27

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2022 Miami Grand Prix

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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16 comments on “Leclerc fastest as Bottas crashes in opening Miami practice”

  1. Is the porpoising better controlled on the Mercs?

    1. Guys i missed is the gap representive between GR LH. Was Ham struggling really hope Ham can get back 2 Australia Form

      1. Hamilton was baulked by Tsunoda on his quick lap. P1 times at a new track don’t mean much anyways, but the Mercs have definitely made progress.

      2. He had to abort sue to traffic

        1. Thank you mate, was is lap looking ok before the abort? Not missed a single session in years lol and completely forgot ill tune in for FP2

          1. He had a scrappy first sector was .3 down before the traffic.

  2. Hard to say …. up and down somewhat.

  3. Initial impressions on the track.

    It’s not the worst track i’ve seen F1 race on but I still can’t say that i’m a fan of it as there’s just nothing about it that I find especially exciting to watch cars driving around it. Maybe that will change as the weekend goes on but so far I think the best I can say about it is….. Meh.

    And that slow section from T11-16 is just a really slow, fiddly & frustrating bit of track & with the current cars especially they just look so cumbersome, Like they are going in slow motion. The 14/15 chicane in particular is a horrid corner, You watch the OnBoards & it sounds like the cars are about to stall they are going so slowly on the exit.

    1. Agreed, at best the track is “fine”. On the final sector, I actually dislike Turn 16 more, as it ensures every single corner in the entire complex is a slow, fiddly affair. Opening up the corner would feel like a comparative relief after the previous chicane, but instead it just frustrates everyone involved. In isolation, I wouldn’t mind T14/15 as much, but that whole section is enraging to watch!

      1. @ciaran Yeah i guess with a faster approach the 14/15 chicane would be a lot better.

        Would probably be a bit like the old Variante Alta at Imola or pre-2000 1st chicanes at Monza. A fun quick flick over the kerbs.

    2. @stefmeister I remember when people were very “Meh” to “GET THIS CRAP OFF MY F1 SCHEDULE” about COTA.

  4. considering they were bragging about all 3 days been a sell out with unprecedented demand and all that it looked like there were so many empty seats in the stands.

    most of them looked barely half full.

    tracks itself is. well its a bit of tarmac in a car park around a football stadium so, yeah. not that great. not as abysmal as valencia, sochi or some of the 80s us street tracks but its towards the bottom of the list when it comes to best tracks on the current f1 calendar based off watching that first session.

    the pit entry & exits also look really badly thought out. i think we may see contact at pit exit during the race. that is frankly worse than the paul ricard pit exit they were complaining about that first year it came back to f1.

    1. I just read an interview somewhere with, I presume the promoter, who said they intentionally sold “well under capacity” to ensure they can handle the crowds, and that people don’t sit around waiting 3 hours to leave or get stuck forever in a traffic jam. They intend to ramp it up in coming years once they can ensure that travel in & out is not an issue.

    2. And there are a lot of people that buy the 3 day tickets and only go for qualy and for the race.

  5. Drivers will need to be disciplined here in to get the laps. But dang this track is tight and narrow.

  6. Funny how they never care to show a full lap on board. Well, gotta show off those sponsors, fans sitting on their chairs etc.

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