Ferrari Fastest, But Both Drivers Hit Wall In FP2

Esteban Ocon
Esteban Ocon

It was a case of mixed fortunes on Friday for Scuderia Ferrari at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. Charles Leclerc was quickest in both free practice sessions, with Carlos Sainz fourth fastest in the first hour, before moving up to third in the second session, the more representative one, as it took place at the same time (20 local, 18 CET) as tomorrow’s qualifying. However, both drivers’ sessions ended early, as they hit the barriers in their F1-75s. Therefore, the evening will be more complicated than expected for the Scuderia mechanics.

FP1. The two cars stayed in the garage for the first few minutes of the first session, waiting for other cars to clear away a lot of sand that had been blown onto the track by strong winds in recent days. Just as Charles and Carlos were ready to leave the pits, the red flag came out because of debris on track at turn 1. They, therefore, went out on track, around 20 minutes into the session. Leclerc and Sainz started off on Hard tyres, before switching to the Soft compound for the final quarter of an hour. With this compound, they set their best times – 1’30”772 for the Monegasque to top the timesheet and 1’31”139 for the Spaniard. Leclerc did 17 laps in total, Sainz 14.

When the green light signalled the start of the second session, Charles and Carlos were the first out on track, starting off on Medium tyres, continuing to work on fine-tuning the cars, as well as trying the third compound Pirelli has brought to Jeddah. The Monegasque immediately did a 1’30”216 and the Spaniard began with a 1’31”382 before getting down to a 1’30”961 and finally a 1’30”320. In the middle of the session, they both switched to the Soft compound. Charles did a 1’30”074, while Carlos was unable to improve and on his second flying lap, he brushed the barriers with the left side of the car. Not long after, Charles kissed the wall with his left front wheel and had to pit. Neither car was badly damaged, but there was not enough time to affect the repairs before the end of the session. Until that point, Charles had completed 15 laps and Carlos 12.

Charles Leclerc

‘It was an unfortunate end to an otherwise good day. In FP2 it was a small mistake, but not one that makes me lose confidence. I expected the front to slide around more and I clipped the inside wall at turn 4. Focusing on tomorrow, I think the pace is there. It’s a bit of a shame we couldn’t get the high fuel laps done, but we should be in the mix for tomorrow.’

Carlos Sainz

‘As expected these cars are behaving differently here in Jeddah compared to Bahrain and we keep learning more about how to set up the car for different conditions and corners. Porpoising was a bit of an issue at a certain point but I’m not concerned. As last year, understanding which is the best tyre for the race is important for the strategy. Unfortunately, we didn’t do the long run at the end of FP2 after I brushed the wall and we had to stay in the garage. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.’

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ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 20: <> prior to the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina Circuit on November 20, 2022 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

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