After the strong performance in Brazil, Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russel are once again at the top of the time sheets. This time, it is Hamilton on top.
You know that this may not be the pecking order on Saturday or Sunday. That’s because FP1 offers completely different conditions. Due to the earlier hour (or the late hour of the race itself), the track temperature is much higher.
What happened in FP1
Anyways, the Mercedes duo got on top of everybody else after its soft tire runs. This happened with 15 minutes to go, and the top time was 1:26.633 from the 7-time World Champion. That’s about 1.6 seconds slower than last year’s FP1 time topper by Verstappen.
Further down the order, we have Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez. The challengers for second in the championship were battling for first before Hamilton and Russel completed their qualifying simulations. Then comes one of the eight development drivers – Liam Lawson.
Apparently, Red Bull allowed its young hotshot to push, because his best time was not too far from Checo’s. Another young driver to impress is Ferrari’s Robert Schwartzman, who finished in 7th, just 0.796 seconds behind leader Hamilton.
Vettel completed his last FP1 session in sixth, while Ricciardo was eight. Keep in mind that the Australian will start the race three places down when he finishes on Saturday. That’s due to the penalty he accumulated for taking himself and Kevin Magnussen out of the Brazillian Grand Prix.
The next positions are occupied by regulars Bottas and Albon, while soon-to-be-team-mates Gasly and Ocon finished 11th and 12th respectively. Then, there is Yuki Tsunoda, and another “youngster” – Robert Kubica.
The guy poised to take Latifi’s place in 2023, Logan Sargeant, placed his Williams on 15th, only 0.25 seconds behind Alex Albon. However, the American had a scare in Turn 1, where he spun, and narrowly missed the barrier.
Haas pair Magnussen and Fittipaldi ended the session 16th and 17th with little between them, while the positions onwards were completed by Pato O’Ward, Jack Doohan, and 2022 F2 Champion Felipe Drugovich.