F1: Leclerc stays on top in Practice 2 on Soft Pirellis

Before he clipped the wall and broke his left front suspension, Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc turned the fastest lap in practice 2 for the Saudi Arabian GP in Jeddah.

After the fast laps were set, the drivers focussed on long run race setups for Sunday’s event.

Like he did in Practice 1, Leclerc set his fastest lap of 1m30.074s on soft Pirelli while Max Verstappen set his time on medium tires 0.140s behind in his Red Bull.

Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB18 on track during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit on March 25, 2022 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

3rd and 4th were the #55Ferrari of Carlos Sainz Jr. and the #11 Red Bull of Sergio Perez, 0.246s and 0.285s back respectively. Both were on medium tires and Sainz also scrapped the wall and had to end his session early.

Ferrari drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr.

Lewis Hamilton was 5th 0.439s behind for Mercedes, on the soft Pirellis ahead of his teammate Russell, 0.590s behind on the soft tires.

Red Bull have had the seemingly smoothest ride so far here, but the latest on board shot from Verstappen’s car shows the RB18 is porpoising slightly. Not as extreme as the Mercedes though, that’s for sure.

Kevin Magnussen’s Haas broke down again, and again he never set a fast time in Practice 2

Select Quotes

Charles Leclerc
It was an unfortunate end to an otherwise good day. In FP2 it was a small mistake, but not one that makes me lose confidence. I expected the front to slide around more and I clipped the inside wall at turn 4. Focusing on tomorrow, I think the pace is there. It’s a bit of a shame we couldn’t get the high fuel laps done, but we should be in the mix for tomorrow.

Carlos Sainz
As expected these cars are behaving differently here in Jeddah compared to Bahrain, and we keep learning more about how to set up the car for different conditions and corners. Porpoising was a bit of an issue at a certain point, but I’m not concerned. As last year, understanding which is the best tire for the race is important for the strategy. Unfortunately, we didn’t do the long run at the end of FP2 after I brushed the wall, and we had to stay in the garage. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

Max Verstappen
“The sessions ran quite smoothly today, we completed our program and tried out lots of different tire sets. It seems like Ferrari were quite competitive again, we still have a little bit of work to do to catch up with them and there’s plenty of room for improvement. The track feels pretty much the same as last year, the barriers have moved slightly and in terms of visibility, it hasn’t made a noticeable impact. Looking ahead to qualifying, we still need to look at some data, we’ll see how it all goes tomorrow.”

Sergio Perez
“We ran both cars on different programs and I think we got the data we needed, so now we have some work to do tonight. It was difficult to get the lap in I needed to see exactly how we will perform over one lap here because I had a lot of traffic out there. I think it could be another straight shootout with Ferrari on Saturday, but at the moment we are focusing on ourselves and hopefully tomorrow we are able to make the steps we’d like with the car. It will be important in qualifying to make sure we get the space for a clean lap because traffic can be a bit difficult around here, so we need to make sure we are on it.”

Lewis Hamilton
It’s been an OK day, we still have many of the same problems we had in the last race, but we’re working through them. It’s definitely a little bit harder here with the high-speed corners, but the grip is really good on the track, and we just need to find some speed on the straights. We’ll be heads down tonight, understanding the data from today and putting ourselves in the best position for qualifying tomorrow.

George Russell
It’s great to be back on the Jeddah circuit, extremely high-speed and exhilarating for the drivers, but we are still experiencing the same issues we faced last weekend in Bahrain. We know we still have a lot of work to do to close the gap on Red Bull and Ferrari. We’ll be fighting to maximize our opportunities for points this weekend and giving it our all tomorrow in qualifying. Anything can happen around here, so it’s important we’re in touching distance to capture as many points as possible.

Andrew Shovlin – Mercedes Trackside Engineer
We tried a few more experiments to understand the bouncing issue here, some which made it worse, some which helped, but we don’t yet have a solution to make the problem go away. We can reduce this slightly for tomorrow as it’s affecting the drivers in a few of the corners and costing time. Compared to Bahrain, the car balance is in a better place and in terms of degradation we’re quite happy with what we have seen today. Our single lap still needs a bit of work but we’ve got the session tomorrow to do that. Overall though, a reasonable day but clearly we still have a bit of work to do before we’ll be troubling Red Bull or Ferrari.

Pierre Gasly
“It’s been a good two practice sessions today. We sustained some damage in FP2 on the floor, so we haven’t shown our true pace yet, but we believe that we’re in the mix of the top 10 and I expect a very intense battle tomorrow amongst all the midfield teams. We know we’ve got some work to do, but we’ll focus on improving the car for tomorrow and I think it could be quite an exciting race based on what we’ve seen today.”

Yuki Tsunoda
“Until the last few moments in FP2, the car had felt okay today. There are still lots of things to work on at the moment, but we’ve been able to gather a lot of crucial data across both cars, which is still hugely important so that we can learn more about them and find a clearer direction to go with this car. Hopefully we can understand the issue we’ve had tonight and get it fixed for tomorrow’s FP3, so we can then put it altogether when it comes to Quali.”

Jonathan Eddolls (AlphaTauri Chief Race Engineer)
“Up until the end of the FP2 we were having a good Friday practice. We spent the day carrying out test items, following the post event analysis from the Bahrain weekend. We started both cars with a slightly different aero configuration and went in different directions to obtain the balance they required. Bouncing was not an issue, even though we felt there could have been some signs of it here. In any case, we had a stable platform to complete a number of test items, including trying to optimize the performance of the 18″ tires – this being the first time we have used the C4 tire at a race weekend. With the operating conditions under the 2022 regulations, the tires were given quite a hard time, so we need to review how to give them some breathing space on Sunday. Then unfortunately at the end of the session we had an issue with the driveline on Yuki’s car, so had to stop on track. We will review the vitals when it’s back in the garage and understand what is needed to turn it around for tomorrow.”

Practice 2 Results

1 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:30.074 +0.000s 15
2 1 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing RBPT 1:30.214 +0.140s 23
3 55 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:30.320 +0.246s 12
4 11 Sergio Perez Red Bull Racing RBPT 1:30.360 +0.286s 24
5 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:30.513 +0.439s 24
6 63 George Russell Mercedes 1:30.664 +0.590s 29
7 4 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes 1:30.735 +0.661s 26
8 31 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault 1:30.760 +0.686s 26
9 77 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo Ferrari 1:30.832 +0.758s 14
10 22 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri RBPT 1:30.886 +0.812s 26
11 14 Fernando Alonso Alpine Renault 1:30.944 +0.870s 27
12 10 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri RBPT 1:30.963 +0.889s 29
13 47 Mick Schumacher Haas Ferrari 1:31.169 +1.095s 27
14 18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes 1:31.372 +1.298s 28
15 3 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren Mercedes 1:31.527 +1.453s 23
16 27 Nico Hulkenberg Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes 1:31.615 +1.541s 30
17 24 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo Ferrari 1:31.615 +1.541s 27
18 6 Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes 1:31.814 +1.740s 26
19 23 Alexander Albon Williams Mercedes 1:31.866 +1.792s 29
20 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1:32.344 +2.270s 13


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