Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2022

Leclerc leads Mercedes drivers in second Barcelona practice

2022 Spanish Grand Prix second practice

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Charles Leclerc was quickest in the second practice session for the Spanish Grand Prix ahead of the two Mercedes of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton.

Just as he had been in the opening session in the afternoon, Leclerc was fastest of all on the soft tyres to cap off a promising start to the Barcelona weekend for Ferrari. Carlos Sainz Jnr was fourth, with Max Verstappen fifth quickest in the Red Bull.

After a warm start to the weekend in first practice, temperatures had breached the 30C mark for the start of the evening session. Sergio Perez, Zhou Guanyu and Alex Albon all took their cars back for the hour-long session after sitting out first practice in the afternoon.

Most of the field took to the circuit on the medium tyres to try to gain data. After ending the first session third fastest behind the two Ferraris, Verstappen set the early pace ahead of Sainz and Leclerc, but by less than a tenth of a second from the pair.

Valtteri Bottas only had a couple of laps underneath when his Alfa Romeo suddenly slowed along the main straight. Bottas stopped his car on the outside of turn two. The Virtual Safety Car was briefly called while the stricken Alfa Romeo was recovered, Bottas’s day having come to a close.

Lando Norris ran wide at turn seven, taking to the gravel in his McLaren. Not long after, Norris understeered wide again, this time at the fast, uphill right-hander of turn nine, running over the serrated kerbs on the outside of the corner and causing damage to the new floor on his car. Norris would return to the pits and not rejoin for the remainder of the hours.

Teams moved back onto the soft tyres as the session progressed, with Sebastian Vettel using the red-walled tyres to move briefly to the top of the times. Verstappen improved to retake the fastest time, before Sainz, then Leclerc replaced him.

The Mercedes of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton used the soft tyres to move into second and third place in the standings, respectively, which is where they would remain until the chequered flag.

Drivers appeared to be finding high tyre degradation around the Circuit de Catalunya, with Albon reporting over the radio that his soft tyres had “gone” by the time he’d reached turn nine half way around the lap on his push lap. Sainz was also warned that “degradation is high” on the softs over radio and told that the medium compound appeared to be faster.

By the time the chequered flag flew to end the day’s running, Leclerc’s 1’19.670 was enough to see him end the day on top – less than two tenths faster than he’d managed in the earlier session. Russell and Hamilton were the closest to the Ferrari, roughly a tenth apart.

Sainz ended the day third fastest, with Verstappen in fifth, another three tenths behind Leclerc. Alonso was sixth in the Alpine, with Perez seventh after his only run of the day. Sebastian Vettel, Esteban Ocon and the Haas of Mick Schumacher completed the top ten.

2022 Spanish Grand Prix second practice result

Position Number Driver Team Model Time Gap Laps
1 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari F1-75 1’19.670 29
2 63 George Russell Mercedes W13 1’19.787 0.117 27
3 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W13 1’19.874 0.204 25
4 55 Carlos Sainz Jnr Ferrari F1-75 1’19.990 0.320 31
5 1 Max Verstappen Red Bull RB18 1’20.006 0.336 27
6 14 Fernando Alonso Alpine-Renault A522 1’20.203 0.533 25
7 11 Sergio Perez Red Bull RB18 1’20.632 0.962 30
8 5 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin-Mercedes AMR22 1’20.703 1.033 31
9 31 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault A522 1’20.745 1.075 27
10 47 Mick Schumacher Haas-Ferrari VF-22 1’20.757 1.087 25
11 10 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Red Bull AT03 1’20.917 1.247 28
12 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari VF-22 1’21.013 1.343 24
13 18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes AMR22 1’21.249 1.579 31
14 22 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Red Bull AT03 1’21.285 1.615 29
15 3 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren-Mercedes MCL36 1’21.385 1.715 22
16 77 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo-Ferrari C42 1’21.828 2.158 3
17 24 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo-Ferrari C42 1’21.866 2.196 29
18 23 Alexander Albon Williams-Mercedes FW44 1’22.319 2.649 31
19 6 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes FW44 1’23.197 3.527 25
20 4 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes MCL36 1’23.388 3.718 6

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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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5 comments on “Leclerc leads Mercedes drivers in second Barcelona practice”

  1. The Dolphins
    20th May 2022, 17:28

    Given Max’s Red Bull has a consistent gap to Charles’ Ferrari in both first practice sessions I’d say RB are pacing themselves and driving to a delta during setup. There is pace in that car; will be interesting to watch FP3 (and Quali obviously)

    1. It seemed that Ferrari’s tyre degradation was much higher in the longer runs than Red Bull so you could be right in your estimation. Also Merc are looking much better but we will see in FP3 and qualifying.

  2. Is it a Mercedes strength to be this good in sweltering conditions?

    1. @lems Yes Toto Wolff said in Miami that previously they have struggled to get sufficient heat into the tyres, especially in Imola.

  3. I didn’t see any porpoising in Either FP’s looks like Mercs have turned a corner.

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