In the lone practice session held prior to qualifying for the 2022 FIA Formula 1 Sao Paulo Grand Prix, Red Bull Racing’s Sergio Pérez set the fastest lap time and finished atop the scoreboard. This event kicked off the last Sprint weekend of the season for Formula One.
Free Practice 1 at Interlagos was a race to the finish as Pérez came out on top
Beating Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc to the top spot by only four thousandths of a second. 2022 World Champion Max Verstappen finished in third place, 0.008s behind Pérez.
Pérez moved up to the first position early in the morning and set the fastest lap time with a time of 1:14.477 using hard tires. This time was achieved in the first five minutes of the session. However, Verstappen quickly surpassed it by clocking a time of 1:14.104 seconds. Then, Bottas of Alfa Romeo took the lead, but the Dutchman swiftly regained control of the situation by driving a lap in a time of 1:13.646, which he later improved to a time of 1:13.575 as the session approached the quarter-hour mark.
After that, there was a little lull as the competitors got ready for their qualifying simulations. After 25 minutes, Pérez was the first driver to complete a lap on soft tires, which sent him back to the top of the standings.
The Mexican driver ended the race in first place with a time of 1:11.853, and Verstappen finished second with a time of 1:11.861, 0.008 seconds behind the winner. Verstappen complained that his car didn’t want to turn in, and he finished 0.008 seconds behind.
Leclerc started the race on medium tires and finished third, 0.5 seconds behind the leader. His Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz, who will take a five-place grid penalty on Sunday for using a sixth engine of the season in Brazil, moved ahead to take P3, almost three tenths off of Pérez’s time despite using the medium tyres. Sainz’s penalty will be for using the sixth engine of the season in Brazil. George Russell, who drives for Mercedes, had his first run on the soft tires as the session’s final quarter was drawing near. As a result, he moved up to fourth place. However, the Briton was more than three tenths behind Pérez’s speed throughout the race.
Russell’s teammate Lewis Hamilton proceeded for his first run on the soft tires while the other Red Bull drivers progressed to longer runs, but he had to abort it after running slightly wide on exit in Turn 7 and then locking up into Turn 8. After that, Russell gave it another shot, and this time he came much closer, finishing 0.202 seconds behind Pérez. After that, he was overtaken by Hamilton, who came within two tenths of the Mexican leader and ultimately finished 0.187 points behind him.
When there were only five minutes left in the session, the Ferrari drivers switched to soft tires, and Sainz was the first to depart. Leclerc then appeared to beat both of them with a lap time of 1:11.857, which was just 0.001 seconds faster than Hamilton’s previous best time.
Due to the performance of the Ferrari driver, Verstappen came in third place, placing him ahead of Sainz and the Mercedes drivers. Sebastian Vettel and Mick Schumacher came in second and third, respectively, while Bottas and Pierre Gasly completed out the top 10.
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