Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2022

Leclerc quickest on Friday but ends practice early after brushing the wall

2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix second practice

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Charles Leclerc was quickest in the second practice session for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, but ended his running early after brushing the barriers.

Both Leclerc and Ferrari team mate Carlos Sainz Jnr, who was third fastest, were forced to finish their sessions before the chequered flag after both hit the barriers around the Jeddah Corniche Circuit. Max Verstappen split the pair in his Red Bull, with team mate Sergio Perez fourth.

The start of the session was delayed by 15 minutes to allow team principals and drivers to meet with F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali for an update about the security of the event, following an attack against a nearby oil plant that left a large fire billowing dark smoke over the city of Jeddah throughout the evening. They were told the event will continue as planned.

When the session got underway, many teams opted to run on the medium compound to get data on how the tyre performed under the lights. Second practice is the only session prior to qualifying which is held under the same evening conditions that the race will take place in.

Leclerc went quickest of all with a 1’30.216 on the medium tyres, until Verstappen went just two-thousandths of a second faster to replace the Ferrari at the top of the time sheets.

After getting a reprimand from the stewards for impeding through the first second, Alex Albon appeared to hold up George Russell’s Mercedes in a similar fashion. Later, Albon himself had to avoid a slow Mercedes – that of Lewis Hamilton – on the exit of turn 11.

Gallery: 2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix practice in pictures
Around the halfway point of the session, Leclerc took to the track with the soft tyre. On his first flying lap, he was able to improve his best time and go fastest of all – but only by a tenth over Verstappen. The Red Bull driver followed suit, but a mistake at turn one on his flying lap saw him abandon the run.

After failing to set a lap time in the first practice session, Kevin Magnussen tried to make up for lost time at a circuit he has never driven before. His weekend was made even more difficult when he pulled off the circuit at turn 14 with a suspected power unit problem, ending his day after a total of just 15 laps.

Leclerc brushed the barrier at turn four, before driving slowly back to the pits after reporting an engine problem. He was able to successfully recover to the pitlane, but did not take any further part in the session. His team mate Sainz also had to bring his Ferrari back to the pitlane having hit the wall on the exit of the long hairpin of turn 13, sidelining him from the rest of the session also.

With teams concentrating on race simulation runs, no one improved on their lap times in the top ten, leaving Leclerc to end the second session as the fastest despite missing over 20 minutes of running.

Verstappen ended the day second for Red Bull, 0.14s away from Leclerc’s best and a tenth ahead of Sainz and Perez.

The two Mercedes of Hamilton and Russell were fifth and sixth, around half a second off Leclerc’s best, with Lando Norris an encouraging seventh fastest for McLaren. Esteban Ocon, Valtteri Bottas and Yuki Tsunoda rounded out the top ten runners.

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2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix second practice result

Pos. No. Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1’30.074 15
2 1 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1’30.214 0.140 23
3 55 Carlos Sainz Jnr Ferrari 1’30.320 0.246 12
4 11 Sergio Perez Red Bull-Honda 1’30.360 0.286 24
5 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’30.513 0.439 24
6 63 George Russell Mercedes 1’30.664 0.590 29
7 4 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes 1’30.735 0.661 26
8 31 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault 1’30.760 0.686 26
9 77 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1’30.832 0.758 14
10 22 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Honda 1’30.886 0.812 26
11 14 Fernando Alonso Alpine-Renault 1’30.944 0.870 27
12 10 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 1’30.963 0.889 29
13 47 Mick Schumacher Haas-Ferrari 1’31.169 1.095 27
14 18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes 1’31.372 1.298 28
15 3 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren-Mercedes 1’31.527 1.453 23
16 27 Nico Hulkenberg Aston Martin-Mercedes 1’31.615 1.541 30
17 27 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1’31.615 1.541 30
18 6 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 1’31.814 1.740 26
19 23 Alexander Albon Williams-Mercedes 1’31.866 1.792 29
20 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1’32.344 2.270 13

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2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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17 comments on “Leclerc quickest on Friday but ends practice early after brushing the wall”

  1. Why does conflict always need to be solved through violence? Let’s not have a weekend ruined on modern day Suzuka. We have not raced at something like Suzuka for 2 years…

    1. @krichelle How do today’s events necessarily relate to Suzuka? I don’t quite get what you mean.
      I agree with you on the violence part, though.

      1. I think it has to do with the flowing nature of the circuit (albeit with walls).

      2. I think the “Suzuka with walls” angle

      3. This track’s modern day Suzuka. We have not raced at Suzuka for two years and this is the closest track in terms of characteristics to it.

    2. This track is absolutely nothing like Suzuka. Where are the Esses? How about Spoon? The Chicane? Degner? Massive elevation changes? Literally all non-existent in Jeddah.

  2. Apparently the FIA have cancelled all media events for the day.

  3. Time for Alonso to retire. I don’t see the hunger from him this year and Ocon is just beating him a bit too easily. Good time for Piastri to come on board.

    1. We’ve had 2 competitive sessions this year in which one went to Alonso and one to Ocon.

      Conclusion: let’s go totally overboard and jump to conclusions!

      1. Alpine has to know more than we do. They know when and how big are the updates they are planning and they now have had almost 4 months of work for next years car. It looks like Alonso won’t take the 3rd title this year so maybe they are already focusing on 2023 which might just be the last year Alonso has a chance to win.

    2. @david-beau Way too early for such talk. FA outqualified EO last weekend and then finished 3 seconds behind him in the race. Today FA was less than 2/10ths slower and it’s practice and if they were smart like all teams they should have been trying different things between their teammates. These cars are so so new to them.

      For me, it will be one thing to see what kind of car evolves for them this season, but to suggest he isn’t hungry I think has no basis in fact. And you are ignoring the vast experience he brings to the team…a Championship mentality if you will. FA’s contribution to the team is not just on the track. For all we know, and I think it is likely, FA is helping EO do as well as he is. There is a good chance Alpine would already be less well off if FA wasn’t there. An example that supports the gist of what I am saying is the comments Mick has made about how much better he feels with the experienced K-Mag beside him.

    3. @david-beau Alonso finishes less than 0.2s from Ocon in a free practice session and you think he needs to retire? Ricciardo was 0.8s off his teammate, why are you not calling for him to retire? Perhaps Sergio Perez should retire too, Vettel should as well.

  4. That’s better from McLaren let’s hope it improves or maintains into qualifying.

  5. The Mercs are closing the gap. HAM could snatch 3rd on the grid behind LEC and VER**.

    1. I doubt it. Hamilton might’ve put in a decent lap in FP2, but we haven’t seen clean laps from neither RB or Ferrari. Mercedes were further off the pace on the mediums as well.
      There aren’t that many corners to get it wrong for Sainz and Pérez, so I don’t expect them to drop the ball in quali. The Silver Arrows should be able to lock out the 3rd row though.

  6. While the crashes of both Ferraris were sort of unnecessary, it’s still better to crash now than tomorrow in qualifying. The bigger issue was them missing the long runs, than damaging the car. Then again, the strategy seems to be pretty straight forward for the race: either a 2-stop with medium-hard-medium or a 1-stop with medium-hard
    It’s gonna be a Ferrari vs. RB fight at the front again in quali tomorrow and in the race on Sunday. Despite Ferrari’s lack of long run data (they might do some laps with higher fuel FP3), I’d still put them a little ahead of RB, as I think they have more to come in terms of engine modes for quali.
    Mercedes looked solid at times on their long runs, but are having similar problems to Bahrain – massive tyre degredation. After about 10 laps their tyres are falling off the cliff and never coming back. Definitely not podium contenders, if Ferrari & RB don’t retire on Sunday.
    The midfield is even harder to predict than in Bahrain. Alpha Tauri and Alpine looked fairly competitive on longer runs, not far off Mercedes. The rest looks very closely matched and too close to call.

  7. Well, these laptimes make more sense than the ones of fp1, knowing what we know about the cars.

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