Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Las Vegas Strip Circuit, 2023

Leclerc heads Ferrari one-two after extended Las Vegas practice

Formula 1

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Charles Leclerc headed an extended second practice session in Las Vegas ahead of Ferrari team mate Carlos Sainz Jnr to end the first day of running.

The pace-setter’s quickest time of a 1’35.265 was half a second quicker than his team mate. Fernando Alonso went third fastest as the delayed second practice session passed without ncident.

Following a delay of two-and-a-half hours due to extensive work to secure the many drain covers along the circuit, the second practice session began at 2.30am – the earliest time an official grand prix session has ever started. Due to the majority of first practice being cancelled, practice was extended to 90 minutes to recover some of the time lost.

Oscar Piastri completed the first flying lap with a 1’43.832 on the soft tyres, but McLaren team mate Lando Norris could not finish his first push lap of the session as his car fell into ‘limp home’ mode. Both McLarens were called into the pit lane so the team could address a potential problem, later deemed to be a cooling concern to Norris’ car.

World champion Max Verstappen headed out on the medium compound tyres and quickly moved to the top of the times with a 1’41.905. Then the Ferraris of Sainz – whose car suffered heavy damage when he hit a loose water valve cover in the opening practice session – and team mate Leclerc took turns at the top of the order. Leclerc, who was also quickest in the curtailed earlier session, posted a 1’38.9 on the soft tyre.

As to be expected with a brand new street circuit, drivers had their challenges finding the limit around the six-kilometre course. The tight left-hander of turn 12 proved a particularly difficult spot, with many drivers escaping down the run off on entry including both Red Bulls of Verstappen and Sergio Perez and Aston Martin’s Alonso.

Red Bull fitted the soft tyres for the first time and immediately improved, but Ferrari who went faster than the world champions on the C5 compound. Leclerc sat on the top of the times with a 1’36.660 with Lewis Hamilton just three-thousandths of a second behind him in seconds.

Just after half of the session had elapsed, Alonso briefly put Aston Martin to the top of the times. However, both the Ferrari and Red Bull teams sent their two drivers out on fresh sets of soft tyres, with Leclerc lowering the best time to a 1’35.265 with the benefit of two consecutive warm up laps for his soft tyres. Team mate Sainz was the closest to his best time, but was half a second slower than his team mate.

The later phase of the session was dedicated to longer runs to gather data for the grand prix on Saturday. There were few improvements at the top of the order, as drivers in the top half of the field focused on running on the medium compound tyres.

At the end of the 90 minutes, the chequered flag flew to signal the end of a fully uninterrupted extended practice. Leclerc ended the session fastest ahead of team mate Sainz in second, with Alonso in third just ahead of his compatriot.

Perez was fourth and the fastest Red Bull driver, with Valtteri Bottas in the Alfa Romeo quicker than Verstappen in sixth. Nico Hulkenberg put his Haas in seventh, with Lance Stroll eighth in the second Aston Martin. Lewis Hamilton was ninth for Mercedes, with Alexander Albon completing the top ten for Williams.

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2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix second practice result

116Charles LeclercFerrariSF-231’35.26539
255Carlos Sainz JnrFerrariSF-231’35.7820.51739
314Fernando AlonsoAston Martin-MercedesAMR231’35.7930.52838
411Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda RBPTRB191’36.0850.82036
577Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo-FerrariC431’36.1290.86435
61Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda RBPTRB191’36.1830.91837
727Nico HulkenbergHaas-FerrariVF-231’36.4891.22433
818Lance StrollAston Martin-MercedesAMR231’36.4961.23140
944Lewis HamiltonMercedesW141’36.6631.39842
1023Alexander AlbonWilliams-MercedesFW451’36.6881.42342
114Lando NorrisMcLaren-MercedesMCL601’36.8641.59933
1263George RussellMercedesW141’36.8901.62537
1320Kevin MagnussenHaas-FerrariVF-231’36.9171.65237
1481Oscar PiastriMcLaren-MercedesMCL601’36.9871.72235
1510Pierre GaslyAlpine-RenaultA5231’37.1341.86933
1631Esteban OconAlpine-RenaultA5231’37.2411.97637
1722Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda RBPTAT041’37.4122.14741
1824Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo-FerrariC431’37.6562.39136
193Daniel RicciardoAlphaTauri-Honda RBPTAT041’37.6802.41540
202Logan SargeantWilliams-MercedesFW451’38.1402.87542

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2023 Las Vegas 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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10 comments on “Leclerc heads Ferrari one-two after extended Las Vegas practice”

  1. Sargeant is so far off the pace here.

    1. Only practice

      1. Thanks for clarifying.

  2. Oscar has to qualify as many miles away from Ocon Tsunoda Magnusson Gasly Russell as he possibly can.

  3. At least proper track action.

    1. It’s not a proper track.

    2. practice is practice. you are the only one hyping up this race track of fans in comments.

      1. kpcart Which one of us you mean? I only referred to proper track action versus FP1 with almost nothing.

  4. Had a feeling Bottas would excel. He excelled at the similarly soulless Sochi. But, it’s really just extremely fast and simple tracks he excels at. Sochi, Austria and Monza have always been his strongest tracks.

    1. thats a weird analogy, kind of sounds like you dont like the driver and will use any excuse when he is high up the grid, even in free practice sessions. none of those 3 tracks you mentioned are simple, and there are simpler tracks he has excelled at better.

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