Carlos Sainz Jnr, Ferrari, Spa-Francorchamps, 2022

Sainz leads Ferrari one-two as rain ends first practice early at Spa

2022 Belgian Grand Prix first practice

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Carlos Sainz Jnr topped the times ahead of Ferrari team mate Charles Leclerc during a first practice session which was interrupted by a red flag and ended in a rain shower.

Sainz’s best time of a 1’46.538 saw him go fastest of all, 0.096s faster than Leclerc and two tenths quicker than Max Verstappen. Late rainfall prevented many drivers from improving their best times in the final 20 minutes of the session.

The circuit was slightly damp due to light spitting of rain before the session begin, leading to a handful of cars venturing out on intermediate tyres when the pit exit lights shone green. However, it quickly become clear the track was more than dry enough for slicks, and drivers switched less than five minutes into the session.

Verstappen had to take avoiding action in the pit lane when Nicholas Latifi was released in front of the Red Bull driver as he made his way towards the pit exit. Verstappen cut inside of the Williams to get by and the stewards noted the incident, but determined that no further investigation was necessary.

Esteban Ocon radioed in to report his Alpine was pulling to one side on his first run, leading to him returning to the pits for his team to assess his car. Verstappen set the early pace with a 1’46.755 on the soft tyres, ahead of Sainz and team mate Sergio Perez.

Zhou Guanyu complained about his helmet lifting up during driving, while Leclerc told his Ferrari team to be ready to remove parts they had added to his driving seat. Liam Lawson, who stepped in for Pierre Gasly for the session, enjoyed some laps on the hard tyres, but was the slowest of all drivers to set a time.

Sainz improved to go quickest of all on the softs with a 1’46.538, almost one-and-a-half tenths faster than Verstappen, with team mate Leclerc also improving to go into second place ahead of the Red Bull.

With just over 20 minutes remaining, Kevin Magnussen pulled off to the side of the track after appearing to suffer a problem with his Haas’s Ferrari power unit. The session was red-flagged with a delay of around 10 minutes as Magnussen’s car remained electrically active and had to be made safe before it could be recovered.

When the session restarted, the rain began to fall. Drivers quickly had to abandon their laps as the rain fell heavily over the back half of the circuit, making slick tyres unusable and ensuring that no one would improve their best time in the final minutes.

Despite the rain, some teams including McLaren, Alpine and Haas chose to send their drivers out for reconnaissance laps on the intermediate tyres. The chequered flag flew on the hour, meaning that Sainz would end the opening session of the weekend quickest of all.

Leclerc was second fastest, with Verstappen third for Red Bull. George Russell ended first practice fifth fastsst, ahead of Lance Stroll and Alexander Albon’s Williams. Daniel Ricciardo, Yuki Tsunoda, Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Perez completed the top 10 positions.

2022 Belgian Grand Prix first practice result

155Carlos Sainz JnrFerrariF1-751’46.53816
216Charles LeclercFerrariF1-751’46.6070.06916
31Max VerstappenRed BullRB181’46.7550.21710
463George RussellMercedesW131’47.3960.85813
518Lance StrollAston Martin-MercedesAMR221’47.4370.89913
623Alexander AlbonWilliams-MercedesFW441’47.8351.29715
73Daniel RicciardoMcLaren-MercedesMCL361’48.0811.54314
822Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Red BullAT031’48.3101.77216
944Lewis HamiltonMercedesW131’48.4201.88210
1011Sergio PerezRed BullRB181’48.4741.93613
116Nicholas LatifiWilliams-MercedesFW441’48.4851.94713
1224Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo-FerrariC421’48.6722.13414
134Lando NorrisMcLaren-MercedesMCL361’49.4702.93214
1414Fernando AlonsoAlpine-RenaultA5221’49.6643.12616
155Sebastian VettelAston Martin-MercedesAMR221’49.8133.27512
1631Esteban OconAlpine-RenaultA5221’50.3153.7775
1720Kevin MagnussenHaas-FerrariVF-221’50.9824.4449
1847Mick SchumacherHaas-FerrariVF-221’51.2594.72114
1940Liam LawsonAlphaTauri-Red BullAT031’52.0655.52714
2077Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo-FerrariC42No time2

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2022 Belgian Grand Prix

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Author information

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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2 comments on “Sainz leads Ferrari one-two as rain ends first practice early at Spa”

  1. Do you remember when Mercedes sold the press the tale of Ferrari and Red Bull having to change their cars to comply with the mid-season rules change instigated by Mercedes, and how that would close up their deficit to the front runners?

    And then Mercedes were the only ones with a new floor, and could hardly beat Lance Stroll in an Aston Martin customer car?

    1. It’s still only FP1.

      That said, I was surprised to hear the commentators on F1TV note that the FIA is being extremely vague about what they’re testing, even suggesting they’re not taking the same measurements from each team. This whole saga doesn’t inspire much confidence, but it’d be even worse if they’re somehow sneaking in a sort of ‘backdoor BoP’ with this. Hopefully the technically educated reporters keep a close eye on whatever it is the FIA is up to with these floor measurements.

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