Championship leader Charles Leclerc took top spot in a first practice session that saw teams experimenting and evaluating their cars ahead of the 2022 Spanish Grand Prix – with Ferrari team mate Carlos Sainz and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen completing the top three.
Eagle eyes were trained closely on the cars in FP1 to spot any new upgrades, the likes of Williams, Aston Martin, McLaren, Mercedes and Ferrari having brought significant packages to their respective cars. As a result, flow-vis paint and aero rakes emerged on the machinery early on this sweltering Barcelona afternoon.
Times tumbled after Verstappen set the early benchmark on hard tyres, the field emerging on softs around the halfway mark for Leclerc to set the fastest lap of 1m 19.828s – 0.079s faster than Sainz. The Scuderia’s package included a new rear wing for Spain.
With Ferrari shooting to the top, Verstappen improved to third on softs for Red Bull – 0.336s off the pace – having had a new nose fitted to his car early on.
FORMULA 1 PIRELLI GRAN PREMIO DE ESPAÑA 2022
Practice 1 results
|1 Charles LECLERC Ferrari||1:19.828|
|2 Carlos SAINZ Ferrari||+0.079s|
|3 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull Racing||+0.336s|
|4 George RUSSELL Mercedes||+0.762s|
|5 Fernando ALONSO Alpine||+0.940s|
Mercedes fitted new engines to both of their drivers’ cars – both donning brand-new parts surrounding the floor area – Lewis Hamilton also having taken a new gearbox this weekend (no penalty applied). George Russell finished fourth while Hamilton was sixth, the last driver within a second of Leclerc.
Between the Silver Arrows was Fernando Alonso, the Alpine driver rounding out the top five at home.
McLaren’s Lando Norris – also testing out a suite of parts – was seventh and two-tenths ahead of eighth-place AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly. AlphaTauri stripped paint off their liveries in an apparent weight-saving exercise, also bringing new rear wings to Spain.
Gasly’s team mate Yuki Tsunoda rounded out the top 10, behind ninth-place McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo. Esteban Ocon previously dubbed Spain his “half” home race, given his father and extended family live here, and finished 11th in FP1 for Alpine.