F1: Ferrari dominate 2nd Practice for French GP

Carlos Sainz Jr, and Charles Leclerc dominated the 2nd practice session for the French GP at Paul Ricard as Ferrari clean sweep Friday running.

Sainz Jr. turned a lap of 1m32.527s on Pirelli soft tires to beat his Ferrari teammate by 0.010s.  However, if Sainz does win the pole on Saturday, will start no better than 11th as he has a 10-place grid penalty coming for engine component changes.

With overtaking possible here, this is a better race to start at the back from say, Hungary…

Max Verstappen got closest to the Ferrari, 0.550s behind in his Red Bull.

Verstappen isn’t too far away, really, especially since he didn’t seem overly happy with his set-up today. Nail that, and those few tenths should materialize.

Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing looks dumbfounded by the Ferrari speed during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of France at Circuit Paul Ricard on July 22, 2022 in Le Castellet, France. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

But Perez was more of a concern in FP2, with a lengthy stay in the garage and just one flying lap on the softs.

Adrian Newey, the Chief Technical Officer of Red Bull Racing looks worried from the pitwall during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of France at Circuit Paul Ricard on July 22, 2022 in Le Castellet, France. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

George Russell and Lewis Hamilton rounded out the top-5, 0.764s and 0.990s behind respectively.  Russell that told that his team is seeing “quite high deg on Leclerc,” which is interesting, the Monegasque driver’s medium tires are only 11 laps old at that point.

As for Mercedes, they were up there albeit a few tenths off. Can they find that missing speed overnight or are they going to have to settle for being comfortably ahead of the midfield but well behind the front two in qualifying?

Lando Norris, running McLaren’s sizeable update, was sixth – one second off the pace – with his teammate Daniel Ricciardo half a second back in ninth. Between them was the heavily updated AlphaTauri of home favorite Pierre Gasly and the Haas of Kevin Magnussen, who made a big step in form from FP1 to FP2.

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez left it late to do his soft tire run, but it wasn’t spectacular, the Mexican slotting into 10th, a second behind his teammate Verstappen.

Fernando Alonso was the leading Alpine in 11th, his teammate Esteban Ocon competing in his home grand prix down in 18th, with Valtteri Bottas getting his first running of the day after Robert Kubica used his Alfa Romeo in FP1. The Finn was 12th.

Sebastian Vettel was the lead Aston Martin in 13th, ahead of Yuki Tsunoda – who was given the AlphaTauri update for the second session after initial data gathering on Gasly’s car in FP1 was deemed a success.

Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll was 15th, ahead of Williams’ Alex Albon and Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu.

There were no major incidents in the session but Mick Schumacher flat-spotted a set of medium tires when he ran wide at Turn 11 on the mediums and was 19th overall, as Nicholas Latifi running the updated Williams package for the first time, two races after Albon got it, propping up the timesheets.

There is one practice session still to come – that’s tomorrow. Then qualifying reverts to its normal Saturday afternoon slot, with pole looking like a straight fight between the two championship contenders – unless Mercedes manage to get involved.

Practice 2 Times

1 Carlos Sainz Jr. ESP Scuderia Ferrari 1m32.527s +0.000
2 Charles Leclerc MON Scuderia Ferrari 1m32.628s +0.101
3 Max Verstappen NED Oracle Red Bull Racing 1m33.077s +0.550
4 George Russell GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas 1m33.291s +0.764
5 Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas 1m33.517s +0.990
6 Lando Norris GBR McLaren F1 Team 1m33.607s +1.080
7 Pierre Gasly FRA Scuderia AlphaTauri 1m33.906s +1.379
8 Kevin Magnussen DEN Haas F1 Team 1m33.928s +1.401
9 Daniel Ricciardo AUS McLaren F1 Team 1m33.984s +1.457
10 Sergio Perez MEX Oracle Red Bull Racing 1m34.060s +1.533
11 Fernando Alonso ESP BWT Alpine F1 Team 1m34.259s +1.732
12 Valtteri Bottas FIN Alfa Romeo F1 Team Orlen 1m34.264s +1.737
13 Sebastian Vettel GER Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant 1m34.420s +1.893
14 Yuki Tsunoda JPN Scuderia AlphaTauri 1m34.540s +2.013
15 Lance Stroll CAN Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant 1m34.595s +2.068
16 Alexander Albon THA Williams Racing 1m34.653s +2.126
17 Guanyu Zhou CHN Alfa Romeo F1 Team Orlen 1m34.654s +2.127
18 Esteban Ocon FRA BWT Alpine F1 Team 1m34.660s +2.133
19 Mick Schumacher GER Haas F1 Team 1m35.195s +2.668
20 Nicholas Latifi CAN Williams Racing 1m35.412s +2.885


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