Carlos Sainz Jnr, Ferrari, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2022

Sainz quickest as technical trouble hits rookies in first practice

2022 Mexican Grand Prix first practice

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Carlos Sainz Jnr put Ferrari fastest at the end of the first practice session for the Mexican Grand Prix as technical problems affected many in the field.

Sainz’s best time of a 1’20.707 was half a tenth quicker than team mate Charles Leclerc, with the two Red Bulls of Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen third and fourth having set identical times to each other.

It was a clear, warm start to the weekend at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, with temperatures sitting in the mid-20C range as the cars spilled out onto the circuit.

There were five stand-in drivers taking part in the opening hour, with F2 driver Jack Doohan getting his first run in a grand prix session in Esteban Ocon’s Alpine. Pietro Fittipaldi took over Kevin Magnussen’s Haas, Nyck de Vries stepped into George Russell’s Mercedes, Liam Lawson got a drive in Yuki Tsunoda’s AlphaTauri and Logan Sargeant returned to drive future team mate Alexander Albon’s Williams.

There was a rush out onto the clear circuit, with teams wasting no time to get out on track. Leclerc’s first run out was ended early when his team called him in due to a puncture, while Lawson had a shock at the end of the main straight when his brakes reportedly failed, forcing him to return back to the garage.

There were also problems for local favourite Perez who was delayed with bodywork damage to his Red Bull, while Daniel Ricciardo was side-lined by braking problems which required McLaren to pull apart his car to try and fix. Mick Schumacher’s car also received attention on its rear wing for an apparently problem with the DRS flap.

World champion Verstappen set the early pace on a 1’22.291 on the hard compound tyres ahead of team mate Perez. After having his punctured hard tyres replaced, Leclerc was sent out on soft tyres and went comfortably fastest with a 1’20.753 as many others began to switch to the softer compound.

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Red Bull headed out onto the track with soft tyres for the first time, but Verstappen’s first flying lap was ruined when he spun at turn nine. Sainz went fastest of all on the soft tyres with a 1’20.707 just under half a tenth ahead of his team mate, before the two Red Bulls went third and fourth for Perez and Verstappen, respectively, after Verstappen’s second attempt at a flying lap.

The session was temporarily halted when Fittipaldi was told to stop his Haas in the second corner. After a delay of five minutes, the session eventually resumed but without Doohan, whose session was ended by Alpine after detecting anomalies in his power unit data.

There were no improvements at the front of the order in the final minutes of the session, until Lawson pulled off the circuit at the entrance to the stadium section in the final sector. With his AlphaTauri’s brakes smoking heavily, his left-front brake assembly caught fire after Lawson vacated the car until it was put out by a marshal’s fire extinguisher. The session was red-flagged a second time, but with under four minutes remaining, it was not resumed.

That left Sainz as quickest for the first session of the weekend, less than a tenth of a second ahead of team mate Leclerc. Perez was third, a tenth behind Sainz, with Verstappen fourth having set an identical time to his team mate.

Lewis Hamilton ended the session in fifth, ahead of Fernando Alonso, Valtteri Bottas and Lando Norris. Pierre Gasly and Sebastian Vettel rounded out the top the.

All five stand-in drivers occupied the final five spots on the timing screen. However for those of them hoping to add to their FIA superlicence tallies – none of them reached the 24 laps necessary collect the bonus point for covering 100 kilometres of running.

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2022 Mexican Grand Prix first practice result

Position Number Driver Team Model Time Gap Laps
1 55 Carlos Sainz Jnr Ferrari F1-75 1’20.707 25
2 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari F1-75 1’20.753 0.046 20
3 11 Sergio Perez Red Bull RB18 1’20.827 0.120 22
4 1 Max Verstappen Red Bull RB18 1’20.827 0.120 22
5 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W13 1’20.849 0.142 17
6 14 Fernando Alonso Alpine-Renault A522 1’20.899 0.192 26
7 77 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo-Ferrari C42 1’21.083 0.376 23
8 4 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes MCL36 1’21.120 0.413 21
9 10 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Red Bull AT03 1’21.310 0.603 25
10 5 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin-Mercedes AMR22 1’21.525 0.818 24
11 3 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren-Mercedes MCL36 1’21.762 1.055 16
12 24 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo-Ferrari C42 1’21.820 1.113 20
13 18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes AMR22 1’21.865 1.158 24
14 47 Mick Schumacher Haas-Ferrari VF-22 1’21.952 1.245 22
15 6 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes FW44 1’22.912 2.205 20
16 40 Liam Lawson AlphaTauri-Red Bull AT03 1’23.861 3.154 19
17 45 Logan Sargeant Williams-Mercedes FW44 1’24.246 3.539 22
18 19 Nyck De Vries Mercedes W13 1’24.582 3.875 20
19 82 Jack Doohan Alpine-Renault A522 1’24.615 3.908 13
20 51 Pietro Fittipaldi Haas-Ferrari VF-22 1’26.766 6.059 9

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2022 Mexican 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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4 comments on “Sainz quickest as technical trouble hits rookies in first practice”

  1. Williams messed up Sargeant’s (the others already have an SL/are SL-eligible, so irrelevant for them) lap count by not maximizing laps early in the session.
    They clearly didn’t take into account possible red interruptions caused by others, something teams should always consider when forming their practice run plans, especially when someone needs SL points, but also generally.

  2. Does this mean Sgt has to finish higher at Abu Dhabi?

    1. @bullfrog No, still either 5th or 6th, (at least partly) depending on Abu Dhabi FP1.

  3. Wow, all very close together in this session.

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