Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2022

Leclerc leads Ferrari one-two in busy start to practice in Spain

2022 Spanish Grand Prix first practice

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Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jnr put Ferrari on top of the times during the first practice session for the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona.

Championship leader Leclerc was less than a tenth of a second faster than team mate Sainz, with Max Verstappen third quickest in the Red Bull during a busy first hour of running.

Ambient temperatures were barely below 30C as the opening session of the weekend got underway. There were several unfamiliar names on the timing screens during the hour. Formula E world champion Nyck de Vries stepped into Alex Albon’s Williams, Formula 2 driver Juri Vips took over Sergio Perez’s Red Bull and Robert Kubica was given Zhou Guanyu’s Alfa Romeo for the session.

With teams having brought more upgrades to Spain than any other grand prix so far in 2022, it was not surprising to see plenty of track activity from the moment the lights at the end of the pit lane turned green.

With the warm track temperatures, the majority of drivers were sent out on the C1 compound hard tyres – the hardest in Pirelli’s range of five. Max Verstappen put his Red Bull quickest in the early running, pitting to swap between a different specification front wing for a back-to-back comparison.

Lewis Hamilton narrowly avoided contact with Fernando Alonso approaching turn 13 as the Mercedes passed the Alpine, who was on an in-lap. Hamilton had to take to the gravel to squeeze by Alonso, with the stewards announcing they would investigate the incident after the session.

Hamilton’s Mercedes team mate George Russell also had traffic trouble in the final sector, coming across Juri Vips through the long right hander of turn 12 with Russell audibly upset at the Red Bull over team radio.

In the second half of the session, teams opted to start running on the soft tyres. Ferrari used the faster rubber to good effect, with Leclerc setting a 1’19.828 to go quickest overall, with Sainz just under eight-hundredths behind his team mate. Verstappen’s best lap on the soft tyres was over three tenths slower than his championship rival in third.

Leclerc’s benchmark time lasted until the end, leaving Ferrari first and second at the top of the times through the first session of the weekend. Russell was fourth fastest in the Mercedes, four tenths away from Verstappen in third. Alonso was fifth, just fractions of a second ahead of Hamilton. Lando Norris, Pierre Gasly, Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda rounded out the top ten for McLaren and AlphaTauri.

Robert Kubica ended his afternoon in 13th ahead of Valtteri Bottas down in 17th place. Nyck de Vries was faster than Nicholas Latifi, the Williams pair down in 18th and 19th ahead of Vips, who ended his first grand prix session in 20th after long runs on the hard compound tyres.

2022 Spanish Grand Prix first practice result

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Position Number Driver Team Model Time Gap Laps
1 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari F1-75 1’19.828 27
2 55 Carlos Sainz Jnr Ferrari F1-75 1’19.907 0.079 27
3 1 Max Verstappen Red Bull RB18 1’20.164 0.336 28
4 63 George Russell Mercedes W13 1’20.590 0.762 28
5 14 Fernando Alonso Alpine-Renault A522 1’20.768 0.940 24
6 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W13 1’20.811 0.983 27
7 4 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes MCL36 1’21.279 1.451 24
8 10 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Red Bull AT03 1’21.422 1.594 23
9 3 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren-Mercedes MCL36 1’21.737 1.909 23
10 22 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Red Bull AT03 1’21.814 1.986 28
11 31 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault A522 1’21.891 2.063 26
12 18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes AMR22 1’21.920 2.092 23
13 88 Robert Kubica Alfa Romeo-Ferrari C42 1’21.975 2.147 20
14 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari VF-22 1’22.089 2.261 16
15 47 Mick Schumacher Haas-Ferrari VF-22 1’22.146 2.318 21
16 5 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin-Mercedes AMR22 1’22.164 2.336 20
17 77 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo-Ferrari C42 1’22.614 2.786 25
18 45 Nyck de Vries Williams-Mercedes FW44 1’22.920 3.092 28
19 6 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes FW44 1’23.011 3.183 27
20 36 Juri Vips Red Bull RB18 1’24.138 4.310 23

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2022 Spanish 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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9 comments on “Leclerc leads Ferrari one-two in busy start to practice in Spain”

  1. Whoa, Nyck de Vries faster in a car he has never driven before with a similar amount of laps.

    Sure the could could have played with fuel levels en tires. But still, it is a clear message…

    1. @marcusaurelius
      Yes, but on the other hand they both were 3 seconds off the pace, quite big for Williams 2022. So I don’t think you can read too much into these times. I expect (expecially) Albon to go a lot quicker in FP2.

    2. Too hard to judge sorry, different programmes for both drivers. What this proves is there is hundreds of drivers capable at being fast in f1 instantly.

      1. barnstable29
        20th May 2022, 15:43

        No it doesn’t; it’s a single driver who has posted a marginally faster time than a team mate who is not considered to be top tier in F1. This certainly does not prove that there are

        hundreds of drivers capable of being fast in F1 instantly


        That logical leap is far greater than the one made originally by Marcus.

  2. It’s just stupid how huge those front wings are…. [sigh]

    Juri Vips being entire 4sec. slower than Verstappen in a RedBull seems kinda… terrible?
    He’s an F2 driver who has already driven an F1 car and he’s over a 1sec. slower than the slower car. Hmm.

    1. Just horrid frankly

      Can’t say I like the looks and apart from RB, I would hate to be driving such clumsy boats while trying to race.

      Might be a couple of feet nearer the car in front. Means squat when you have such large and ugly cars they can’t pass each other due to a lack of room.

      But, not to worry, come a drs point the huge wing basically vanishes and you go faster than the chap in front.

      It’s a miracle of driving skill I tell you!

    2. amian I wouldn’t be surprised if one of his main concerns would have been to not crash the car and ruin Checo’s/the team’s weekend.

  3. comments against checo and that vips should replace him in 3, 2, 1…

    1. Many hours later… Crickets :)

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