Scuderia Ferrari drivers were fastest in both free practice session for the United States Grand Prix at Austin’s Circuit Of The Americas. With three drivers taking part, they racked up a good number of laps. Carlos Sainz was quickest in the first session and Charles Leclerc in the second one, with the quickest time of the whole day. In addition, as per the 2022 rule regarding young drivers, the team also ran its test driver, Robert Shwartzman in the opening session of the weekend. He used the Monegasque’s F1-75 in what was his very first official Formula 1 session. Robert, like Leclerc a product of the Ferrari Driver Academy, will also replace Sainz in the first session for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Today, he was quickest of the four young drivers on track and did a good job of gathering data for the team on what was a different Friday to usual.
In the second session, the five drivers who had not run earlier in the day – Charles, Daniel Ricciardo, Nicholas Latifi, Valtteri Bottas and Kevin Magnussen, whose car had been entrusted to Antonio Giovinazzi – were able to run the tyres to be used for the rest of the weekend for the first 35 minutes. The rest of the field ran the extended 90 minute session on Pirelli’s experimental tyres for 2023. It was a “blind test” so they did not know which compound they had been given and simply followed the sport’s sole tyre supplier’s running instructions.
FP1. Carlos and Robert were among the first to go out on track, setting times on their first flying laps of 1’41”381 and 1’45”732 respectively, before the session was red flagged after Antonio Giovinazzi ended up in the barriers in the Haas. After it restarted, Carlos got down to 1’38”287 and Robert did a 1’42”363, before improving to 1’40”541. Towards the end of the session, the Spaniard went out on a set of new Soft tyres, setting the best time of the session in 1’36”857. Shwartzman continued to improve his times, ending up with a 1’38”951, which put him 16th. He could have gone even quicker, but on his final quick lap when he was improving by almost half a second, he encountered traffic in the shape of Max Verstappen in the final sector. Carlos completed 19 laps, Robert 21.
FP2. In the second session, Charles was first out on track to get a feel for his F1-75 on the set of used Softs that Schwartzman had run at the end of the first session. Carlos immediately got down to testing the 2023 tyres. Leclerc pitted for new Mediums, getting down to 1’36”810, the fastest time of the day, before running with a heavier fuel load to try the car in race trim. At the 35 minute mark, Leclerc pitted as planned to start his turn running the 2023 prototype tyres. Carlos was in fact quickest of those on these tyres in 1’38”232. Leclerc did 37 laps and Sainz did just the 26 as requested by Pirelli.
FP3. Tomorrow’s third free practice session will see all the teams reverting to fine-tuning their cars, both for qualifying and for Sunday’s Grand Prix. The cars take to the track at 14 local (21 CEST), before qualifying at 17 (24 CEST).
‘This was probably the busiest FP2 I’ve done so far, but it was fun. We completed a lot of laps, which is good because I didn’t drive in FP1, and tested the prototype tyres for next year. It was a positive day overall, the feeling in the car was good from the start and I look forward to seeing what we can do tomorrow.’
‘It was a different Friday here in Austin. In FP1 we managed to complete our programme, but FP2 was dedicated to the Pirelli test, so it was one and a half hours of trying next year’s tyres without changing the set-up of the car. This also means tomorrow’s FP3 will be even more important than usual ahead of qualifying. However, overall we have been relatively competitive today so we are confident going into tomorrow.’
‘My first free practice in the F1-75 felt amazing today. We completed everything we had planned for the session and the team was satisfied with the work we did. The track was challenging, bumpy and windy, which took some getting used to. As a driver you always want to push more and you want to go for the performance, but my goal today was to improve progressively without taking any risks while driving a completely new car. I am happy to have achieved that. I’m looking forward to driving again in Abu Dhabi for my second free practice. I think that with my knowledge of the track there and the experience gained today, I can do even better. Thank you to Scuderia Ferrari for their trust and this opportunity.’