Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc picked up where he left off in Bahrain as he set the pace in first practice for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.
Bahrain Grand Prix winner Leclerc, who didn’t break cover until halfway through the session, clocked a 1m 30.772s on the closing stages on the soft compound tyres.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who failed to score in Bahrain because of a fuel pressure issue that struck both Red Bull drivers, was second quickest.
Valtteri Bottas was a very impressive third for Alfa Romeo, ahead of the second Ferrari of Carlos Sainz, the top four separated by just over three tenths of a second.
FORMULA 1 STC SAUDI ARABIAN GRAND PRIX 2022
Practice 1 results
|1 Charles LECLERC Ferrari||1:30.772|
|2 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull Racing||+0.116s|
|3 Valtteri BOTTAS Alfa Romeo||+0.312s|
|4 Carlos SAINZ Ferrari||+0.367s|
|5 Pierre GASLY AlphaTauri||+0.545s|
AlphaTauri duo Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda were an encouraging fifth and sixth respectively ahead of Red Bull’s Sergio Perez (P7).
Esteban Ocon was the leading Alpine in eighth, with Lewis Hamilton – who hit the wall late in the session on the approach to Turn 1 – was the best-placed Mercedes-powered car in ninth, 1.6s off the pace.
Fernando Alonso, whose Alpine team changed his internal combustion engine as a precaution after finding a suspected sealing issue, closed out the top 10.
McLaren showed more promise, having had a miserable time in Bahrain with Daniel Ricciardo 11th and Lando Norris – running a visor cam this weekend – 13th, the duo sandwiching the Aston Martin of Lance Stroll.