Charles Leclerc repeated his timesheet-topping efforts of FP1 by setting the fastest lap of the second practice session for this weekend’s FIA Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, beating world champion Max Verstappen by a little over a tenth of a second. However, the Ferrari driver did not take part in the latter stages of the session following a brush with the walls at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.
The start of FP2 was delayed following an emergency meeting of organisers, teams and drivers as a result of an earlier explosion at an Aramco oil facility close to the circuit for which Yemeni rebel group Houthi alter claimed responsibility. Formula 1 later confirmed that the session and the event would go ahead, saying: “F1 has been in close contact with the relevant authorities following the situation that took place today. The authorities have confirmed the event can continue as planned and we will remain in close contact with them and all the teams and closely monitor the situation.”
The start of FP2 was delayed by 15 minutes and when the lights went green Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas and team-mate Zhou Guanyu were first on track. Bottas set the early benchmark at 1:31.802 on C3 medium tyres before Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz used medium tyres to claim top spot with a lap of 1:31.382. Leclerc the bumped his team-mate to P2 with a lap of 1:30.216.
Red Bull then joined the action and though it took him some time to reach the top, Verstappen eventually deposed Leclerc with a lap just two thousandths quicker than the Ferrari man.
The field then made the switch to C4 soft tyres and Leclerc jumped back to first place with a lap of 1:30.074. The left him ahead of Verstappen, Sainz and the second Red Bull of Sergio Pérez.
Mercedes Lewis Hamilton took fifth, ahead of his Mercedes counterpart George Russell. Hamilton posted a lap of 1:30.513. Haas’ Kevin Magnussen then ground to a halt, stopping with a power unit issue halfway round the lap.
Leclerc’s brush with the wall came after his soft tyre efforts and occurred when he clipped the inside wall in Turn 4. He damaged the front-left track rod of his F1-75 but was able to limp back to the pit lane for repairs. Sainz also scraped the barriers Turn 13 late on.
Lando Norris took seventh place for McLaren ahead of Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, Bottas , while Yuki Tsunoda rounded out the top ten for AlphaTauri.
2022 FIA Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix – Free Practice 2
1 Charles Leclerc Ferrari F1-75 Ferrari 15 1:30.074
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull RB18 Red Bull 23 1:30.214 0.140
3 Carlos Sainz Ferrari F1-75 Ferrari 12 1:30.320 0.246
4 Sergio Perez Red Bull RB18 Red Bull 24 1:30.360 0.286
5 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W13 Mercedes 24 1:30.513 0.439
6 George Russell Mercedes W13 Mercedes 29 1:30.664 0.590
7 Lando Norris McLaren MCL36 McLaren 26 1:30.735 0.661
8 Esteban Ocon Alpine A522 Alpine 26 1:30.760 0.686
9 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo C42 Alfa Romeo 14 1:30.832 0.758
10 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri AT03 AlphaTauri 26 1:30.886 0.812
11 Fernando Alonso Alpine A522 Alpine 27 1:30.944 0.870
12 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri AT03 AlphaTauri 29 1:30.963 0.889
13 Mick Schumacher Haas VF-22 Haas 27 1:31.169 1.095
14 Lance Stroll Aston Martin AMR22 Aston Martin 28 1:31.372 1.298
15 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren MCL36 McLaren 23 1:31.527 1.453
16 Nico Hulkenberg Aston Martin AMR22 Aston Martin 30 1:31.615 1.541
17 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo C42 Alfa Romeo 27 1:31.615 1.541
18 Nicholas Latifi Williams FW44 Williams 26 1:31.814 1.740
19 Alex Albon Williams FW44 Williams 29 1:31.866 1.792
20 Kevin Magnussen Haas VF-22 Haas 13 1:32.344 2.270