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F1 – Leclerc tops first free practice session for Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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Ferrari's Charles Leclerc beat Max Verstappen to go quickest in the opening free practice session for the 2022 FIA Formula 1 Saudia Arabian Grand Prix in Jeddah.

World champion Max Verstappen was quickest in the early running, with the field split across hard and medium tyres, with the Red Bull driver posting a lap of 1:30.888 as the opening 15-minutes ended.

The session was then red-flagged when the 50m brake marker board for the first corner came loose. It was clipped by McLaren’s Lando Norris and with debris strewn across the street track race control halted running.

After a 10-minute delay the action began again and for the first time in the session Ferrari sent it’s drivers our on track with both championship leader Charles Leclerc and team-mate Carlos Sainz on hard compound Pirelli tyres. Leclerc ground out a series of personal best times across a long opening run on the most drurable compound and with 20 minutes left in the session he was 0.582s donw on Verstappen’s early benchmark.

Verstappen then moved to soft tyres, but he abandoned his run after he cut across Turn 10 having lost the rear of his RB18. He retreated to the Red Bull garage but emerged once again for another attempt on softs but he did not improve on his lap on hard tyres.

The Ferraris took to the track on softs for the final five minutes and Leclerc jumped tyo the top of the order with a lap of 1:30.772.

With Verstappen second, third place went to Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas. Sainz ended up fourth, 0.367s behind his Leclerc, while AlphaTauri pair Gasly and Tsunoda finished fifth and sixth respectively.

Sergio Pérez was seventh for Red Bull ahead of Alpine’s Estebvan Ocon, with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton ninth ahead of the second Alpine of Fernando Alonso.

2022 FIA Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix – Free Practice 1
1 Charles Leclerc Ferrari F1-75 Ferrari 17 1:30.772
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull RB18 Red Bull 24 1:30.888 0.116
3 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo C42 Alfa Romeo 22 1:31.084 0.312
4 Carlos Sainz Ferrari F1-75 Ferrari 14 1:31.139 0.367
5 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri AT03 AlphaTauri 28 1:31.317 0.545
6 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri AT03 AlphaTauri 26 1:31.505 0.733
7 Sergio Perez Red Bull RB18 Red Bull 25 1:31.563 0.791
8 Esteban Ocon Alpine A522 Alpine 26 1:32.026 1.254
9 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W13 Mercedes 20 1:32.364 1.592
10 Fernando Alonso Alpine A522 Alpine 23 1:32.381 1.609
11 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren MCL36 McLaren 24 1:32.506 1.734
12 Lance Stroll Aston Martin AMR22 Aston Martin 23 1:32.582 1.810
13 Lando Norris McLaren MCL36 McLaren 24 1:32.594 1.822
14 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo C42 Alfa Romeo 26 1:32.608 1.836
15 George Russell Mercedes W13 Mercedes 19 1:32.839 2.067
16 Nico Hulkenberg Aston Martin AMR22 Aston Martin 23 1:33.034 2.262
17 Alex Albon Williams FW44 Williams 25 1:33.087 2.315
18 Nicholas Latifi Williams FW44 Williams 26 1:33.529 2.757
19 Mick Schumacher Haas VF-22 Haas 22 1:34.429 3.657
20 Kevin Magnussen Haas VF-22 Haas 2