The leader of the general classification ends the first day of testing of the sixth world championship undefeated.
The updates brought by Ferrari to Barcelona work: Charles Leclerc reiterates in the free practice session in the late afternoon the best time at lunchtime but between the Monegasque and his teammate Carlos Sainz (fourth at 320 thousandths) the Mercedes of George Russell (+0.117) and Lewis Hamilton (+0.204), which turned out to be more performing than the Reds on race pace. Only fifth Max Verstappen (+0.336) ahead of Fernando Alonso, Sergio Perez and Sebastian Vettel.
Ferrari favorite in the hunt for pole position in Barcelona but something to be recorded for the Reds on the race pace, with a deterioration of the tires from … red alert or almost in the heat wave that oppresses the Vallès basin, at the bottom of which the circuit de Catalunya lies. This is the verdict of the free practice session that closed the first day of practice of the Spanish Grand Prix.
The World Championship leader excelled in both rounds but – compared to the red double of FP1, in the late afternoon between Charles and Carlos (Sainz) they got into the Mercedes by George Russell and Lewis Hamilton, while Red Bull seems to have hidden a bit: fifth time for Max Verstappenseventh for Sergio Perez, preceded by a Fernando Alonso for whom the home factor seems to count a lot and above all to give him a couple of extra-boost laps.
If for Ferrari the double Catalan exploit is a good omen in the chase for pole (the first upgrade of the F1-75 did its duty), it is up to Saturday to possibly give further substance to the step forward that the Silver Arrows seem to have moved on the track that has seen them unbeaten (also in the “total black” version) since 2017 and seven times first at the finish line in the last eight years. Without forgetting that even on Friday in Miami the “starry” couple had deluded, only to rejoin the ranks.
To close the top ten are Esteban Ocon (who takes a step forward but does not yet come to cross paths with Alonso) e Mick Schumacher which gains several positions despite the Haas VF22 being one of the very few single-seaters without particular updates of the entire pit lane in Barcelona. Performance, that of the German, among other things confirmed by the twelfth time of his teammate Kevin Magnussen, behind Pierre Gasly’s Alpha Tauri (fourteenth Tsunoda).
Thirteenth time for Lance Stroll at the wheel of one Aston Martin revolutionized and clearly … inspired by the Red Bull RB18 (the FIA carried out an investigation into this and finally approved). Clearly a successful job, given that Sebastian Vettel is – as mentioned – eighth, one second and 33 thousandths from Leclerc. If Aston Martin takes a hit compared to the disastrous season debut (signs of recovery, however, had already been seen in Imola and Miami), the first day of the weekend in Barcelona offers only long faces at McLaren: Ricciardo only fifteenth, Norris in the rear, due to the bottom of the car damaged by a passage in the gravel of turn nine at the beginning of the session.
Day behind the line also for Alfa Romeo Sauber: Bottas and Zhou sixteenth and seventeenth, with the Finn on foot at the start of practice (this is not new, unfortunately for him). Also the Williams, which does not go beyond the eighteenth time of Albon and the nineteenth of Latifi, put in reverse compared to Miami.
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