Sainz heads Ferrari one-two in F1 practice

Carlos Sainz

Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc left Ferrari atop of the timesheets in Free Practice 2 for the Formula 1 French Grand Prix.

The first to complete a qualifying simulation run mid-session, Sainz proved just over 0.1s quicker than team-mate Leclerc at the end of Friday’s running.

Championship leader Max Verstappen was third best, though more than 0.5s away from the outright pace.

Conditions had remained largely stable from Free Practice 1, with the air temperature having risen a single degree while the track remained largely unchanged.

There was, however, a different approach from teams, with medium and hard tyres the early preference versus the softs as was seen earlier.

It also wasn’t the stampede out of the lane that had been seen in Free Practice 1, with the likes of Red Bull and Ferrari remaining in the garage initially, as did Yuki Tsunoda and Alex Albon.

Sainz’s entry into the session was delayed as Ferrari worked on his car, which stood on stands as a new floor was fitted to the F1-75.

On track, Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon were setting the early pace.

The Alpine pairing had the medium tyres fitted, Alonso fastest with a 1:35.531s in the opening 10 minutes.

His time at the top was brief, with George Russell soon going faster with 1:34.810s.

Mick Schumacher had a spin at De Beausset, the German lucky to keep the Haas out of the barrier but destroyed a set of tyres in the process while also compromising an early long run.

After 15 minutes, all bar Sainz had been out, with Leclerc going fastest in the sister Ferrari on a 1:34.182s.

That stood until Verstappen went 0.010s faster with 41 minutes remaining.

As the Dutchman completed his lap, Sainz was heading out of the pit lane on a set of soft tyres.

He delivered a 1:33.322s to go fastest by 0.850s, the first driver to have completed a qualifying simulation.

In the minutes that followed, the field began to progressively switch over to the red-walled rubber for their own single lap runs.

On his first qualifying simulation, Leclerc went fastest with a 1:33.136s, an improvement of just over a second versus the medium tyres he had fitted earlier.

Sainz returned to the top of the timesheets soon after, logging a 1:32.527s on the same tyres he’d used for his previous effort.

Having been into the pits, Leclerc headed back out to record a 1:32.628s on his second flying lap out of the pits, leaving him second fastest to his team-mate.

Meanwhile, Verstappen was complaining of understeer through the first sector, the Red Bull driver third best and half a second slower than Sainz.

Attentions soon turned back to long run pace, with the Ferraris switching back to the medium tyres for the final third of the session.

The same was true of Verstappen, while Daniel Ricciardo had the hard compound tyres on his McLaren.

The Australian sat ninth fastest, his best a 1:33.928s versus team-mate Lando Norris’ 1:33.607 which left him sixth best.

With the focus back on Sunday’s race, Sainz ended the session fastest from team-mate Leclerc and Verstappen.

Next best was Russell, following by Lewis Hamilton who’d reclaimed his car after sitting out Free Practice 1 in favour of Nyck de Vries.

It was then Norris, Pierre Gasly, Kevin Magnussen, Ricciardo, and Daniel Ricciardo.

A final 60-minue practice session remains, getting underway at 21:00 AEST.

Results: Formula 1 French Grand Prix, Free Practice 2

Pos Num Driver Team Laps Time Diff
1 55 Carlos Sainz Scuderia Ferrari 22 1:32.527
2 16 Charles Leclerc Scuderia Ferrari 22 1:32.628 +0.101s
3 1 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 17 1:33.077 +0.550s
4 63 George Russell Mercedes-AMG F1 Team 20 1:33.291 +0.764s
5 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes-AMG F1 Team 23 1:33.517 +0.990s
6 4 Lando Norris McLaren F1 Team 21 1:33.607 +1.080s
7 10 Pierre Gasly Scuderia AlphaTauri 24 1:33.906 +1.379s
8 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas F1 Team 24 1:33.928 +1.401s
9 3 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren F1 Team 23 1:33.984 +1.457s
10 11 Sergio Perez Red Bull Racing 16 1:34.060 +1.533s
11 14 Fernando Alonso Alpine F1 Team 24 1:34.259 +1.732s
12 77 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo F1 Team 27 1:34.264 +1.737s
13 5 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin F1 Team 27 1:34.420 +1.893s
14 22 Yuki Tsunoda Scuderia AlphaTauri 24 1:34.540 +2.013s
15 18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin F1 Team 26 1:34.595 +2.068s
16 23 Alex Albon Williams Racing 23 1:34.653 +2.126s
17 24 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo F1 Team 26 1:34.654 +2.127s
18 31 Esteban Ocon Alpine F1 Team 26 1:34.660 +2.133s
19 47 Mick Schumacher Haas F1 Team 22 1:35.195 +2.668s
20 6 Nicholas Latifi Williams Racing 26 1:35.412 +2.885s

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