Carlos Sainz Jnr, Ferrari, Circuit of the Americas, 2022

Sainz quickest in first practice as Giovinazzi crashes Magnussen’s Haas

2022 United States Grand Prix first practice

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Carlos Sainz Jnr set the quickest time in opening practice for the United States Grand Prix in Austin in a session which was disrupted when Antonio Giovinazzi crashed.

In a warm and sunny start to the weekend at the Circuit of the Americas, Sainz’s best lap of a 1’36.857 put the Ferrari driver fastest, a quarter of a second ahead of world champion Max Verstappen. Lewis Hamilton was third-fastest for Mercedes, almost half a second slower than Sainz.

The opening practice session of the weekend saw five drivers step in for first practice run outs. American Formula 2 driver Logan Sargeant took over Nicholas Latifi’s seat in the Williams, while his F2 rival Theo Pourchaire was given the chance to drive Valtteri Bottas’s Alfa Romeo. Charles Leclerc sat out the session to allow Robert Shwartzman to drive his Ferrari, while 2021 IndyCar champion Alex Palou was handed Daniel Ricciardo’s McLaren for the first hour of the weekend.

Former Alfa Romeo racer Giovinazzi was the fifth and final practice driver in the session, but disaster stuck on only his fourth lap of the hour when he lost control at turn six and spun into the barriers. Kevin Magnussen could only look on as Giovinazzi left his car with a damaged front wing and sidepod. The session was red-flagged but while Giovinazzi recovered back onto the track and to the pit lane, clutch damage on his Haas prevented him from continuing.

When the session restarted, Verstappen quickly jumped to the top of the times with a 1’38.272 on softs tyres, half a second ahead of the Alpines of Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso on mediums. Verstappen then improved to a 1’37.462, with team mate Sergio Perez moving into second place, eight tenths slower than his team mate.

As the session went on, times continued to improve on the warm, rapidly evolving Circuit of the Americas. Lance Stroll briefly moved to the top of the times with a 1’37.460, but that was beaten by the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton by a tenth of a second. Then, Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz Jnr lowered a new fastest lap of the session, just under half a second quicker than Hamilton on the soft tyres.

In the final 10 minutes of the session, all 19 cars still remaining headed out onto the busy track. Verstappen improved on the softs to move into second position, while Sebastian Vettel almost spun his Aston Martin with an oversteer moment as he headed through the left-hand kink of turn seven. Shwartzman had been on course for his personal best lap at the end of the session before coming across Verstappen’s Red Bull at the Andretti corner at the end of the lap, the Ferrari driver having to back out.

There were no further improvements at the top of the times in the final minutes, meaning Sainz ended the session quickest by the time the chequered flag was flown. Verstappen ended the session second, with Hamilton third ahead of Stroll, Perez and Alonso.

George Russell was seventh in the second Mercedes, with Pierre Gasly, Lando Norris and Vettel completing the top ten. Despite losing what was likely to be a faster time at the end of the session, Shwartzman was the fastest of the rookie first practice drivers in 16th, directly ahead of Palou, Pourchaire and Sargeant in 19th.

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2022 United States Grand Prix first practice result

Position Number Driver Team Model Time Gap Laps
1 55 Carlos Sainz Jnr Ferrari F1-75 1’36.857 18
2 1 Max Verstappen Red Bull RB18 1’37.081 0.224 14
3 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W13 1’37.332 0.475 19
4 18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes AMR22 1’37.460 0.603 23
5 11 Sergio Perez Red Bull RB18 1’37.515 0.658 18
6 14 Fernando Alonso Alpine-Renault A522 1’37.713 0.856 24
7 63 George Russell Mercedes W13 1’37.802 0.945 23
8 10 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Red Bull AT03 1’37.810 0.953 23
9 4 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes MCL36 1’37.856 0.999 22
10 5 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin-Mercedes AMR22 1’38.041 1.184 24
11 31 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault A522 1’38.102 1.245 23
12 24 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo-Ferrari C42 1’38.276 1.419 20
13 23 Alexander Albon Williams-Mercedes FW44 1’38.422 1.565 20
14 22 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Red Bull AT03 1’38.898 2.041 22
15 47 Mick Schumacher Haas-Ferrari VF-22 1’38.922 2.065 20
16 39 Robert Shwartzman Ferrari F1-75 1’38.951 2.094 20
17 28 Alex Palou McLaren-Mercedes MCL36 1’39.911 3.054 21
18 98 Theo Pourchaire Alfa Romeo-Ferrari C42 1’40.175 3.318 19
19 45 Logan Sargeant Williams-Mercedes FW44 1’40.325 3.468 22
20 99 Antonio Giovinazzi Haas-Ferrari VF-22 1’43.063 6.206 4

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2022 United States 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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8 comments on “Sainz quickest in first practice as Giovinazzi crashes Magnussen’s Haas”

  1. Gunther can’t catch a break, can he!?

  2. He foksmash my car!

  3. Ok, I did some quick math, and here’s how the “rookies” compared to their teammates

    Robert Shwartzman +2.094 to Sainz
    Alex Palou +2.055 to Lando
    Theo Pourchaire +1.899 to Zhou
    Logan Sargeant +1.903 to Albon

    Not bad, all things considered, though I wonder how close to Leclerc and Bottas Shwartzman & Pourchaire would be.

    1. Weird how they were all pretty much the same 2 seconds off the other car.

      1. Sounds like Schwartzman would have been closer but got blocked – no idea what kind of lap it could have been though.

      2. I don’t know about the others but in Palou’s case, Norris ran laps on the softs where Palou didn’t. Both being on the mediums, Palou was 0.4 seconds behind Norris.

        1. From what I heard by the commentators, Schwartzman was the only rookie to put on softs, but was blocked by Verstappen at the last corner of his fast lap.

          Palou was quick! Being just 0.4 secs of Norris when both were on mediums is impressive. His attitude, smile and energy came through on team radio.

  4. Among the non-regulars who drove in FP1, I was impressed by him the most.

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