FP1: Perez led in the first practice session at Brazil GP 2022


Perez led in the first practice session at Brazil GP 2022

Sergio Perez narrowly set the pace during Friday’s first practice session for the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, ahead of Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc and Red Bull team mate Max Verstappen, as the third and final F1 Sprint weekend of the season got under way.

Given the Sprint format, FP1 took on greater importance than the usual Friday programme, with only 60 minutes available for teams to understand and fine-tune their cars ahead of qualifying at the technical Interlagos circuit.

After drivers spent the early stages gathering data on the hard and medium tyre compounds – Verstappen leading with a hard-shod time of 1m 13.575s – the first sets of softs appeared close to the halfway mark, leading to a flurry of improvements.

Perez triggered the move to the red-marked rubber, working his way down to a 1m 11.853s, with Verstappen initially slotting into P2, 0.008s back, as the reigning double world champion reported over the radio that his RB18 “doesn’t turn”.

Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez

In the closing minutes of the session, Leclerc would pip the struggling Verstappen by 0.004s to split the Red Bulls, after Ferrari made a late switch to the soft tyres – Carlos Sainz taking fourth, just under two-tenths back.

Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell were both within a whisker of Sainz in P5 and P6 respectively, despite Hamilton stating that it “feels like the rear is just floating around” and locking up at the start of his soft tyre run.

Sebastian Vettel put his Aston Martin seventh as his F1 retirement draws ever closer, as Haas driver Mick Schumacher, the Alfa Romeo of Valtteri Bottas and AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly rounded out the top 10 positions.

Alpine pair Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon made a low-key start to the weekend in respective P11 and P13 spots – neither Alpine nor rivals McLaren running soft tyres in the session – sandwiching Williams man Alex Albon, with the other Aston Martin of Lance Stroll 14th after reporting technical issues.

Having been unwell on Thursday, Lando Norris made it out on track to lead McLaren’s charge in P15, followed by the remaining Haas and Williams machines of Kevin Magnussen and Nicholas Latifi.

Zhou Guanyu (Alfa Romeo), Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) and Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) completed the field, which was covered by 1.5 seconds around the 4.309km venue.

In an otherwise quiet session, a slow-moving Norris at the exit of the Senna Esses drew the ire of Sainz, with Stroll frustrating Leclerc in another traffic-related incident on the run down to Juncao.


1 11 Sergio Perez RED BULL RACING RBPT 1:11.853 29
2 16 Charles Leclerc FERRARI 1:11.857 +0.004s 31
3 1 Max Verstappen RED BULL RACING RBPT 1:11.861 +0.008s 28
4 55 Carlos Sainz FERRARI 1:12.039 +0.186s 30
5 44 Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES 1:12.040 +0.187s 25
6 63 George Russell MERCEDES 1:12.055 +0.202s 24
7 5 Sebastian Vettel ASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES 1:12.157 +0.304s 30
8 47 Mick Schumacher HAAS FERRARI 1:12.314 +0.461s 27
9 77 Valtteri Bottas ALFA ROMEO FERRARI 1:12.466 +0.613s 31
10 10 Pierre Gasly ALPHATAURI RBPT 1:12.467 +0.614s 32
11 14 Fernando Alonso ALPINE RENAULT 1:12.554 +0.701s 25
12 23 Alexander Albon WILLIAMS MERCEDES 1:12.633 +0.780s 29
13 31 Esteban Ocon ALPINE RENAULT 1:12.705 +0.852s 30
14 18 Lance Stroll ASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES 1:12.759 +0.906s 26
15 4 Lando Norris MCLAREN MERCEDES 1:12.955 +1.102s 28
16 20 Kevin Magnussen HAAS FERRARI 1:12.997 +1.144s 25
17 6 Nicholas Latifi WILLIAMS MERCEDES 1:13.019 +1.166s 32
18 24 Zhou Guanyu ALFA ROMEO FERRARI 1:13.115 +1.262s 30
19 22 Yuki Tsunoda ALPHATAURI RBPT 1:13.347 +1.494s 32
20 3 Daniel Ricciardo MCLAREN MERCEDES 1:13.359 +1.506s 28

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