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Ferrari leads the way in FP2

NEWS STORY
22/07/2022

Ahead of today's second free practice session the air temperature is 30.8 degrees C, while the track temperature is 55 degrees.

McLaren and AlphaTauri have brought the most upgrades this weekend, but it is far too early to say whether they are working or not.

McLaren has a new rear wing endplate, sidepods, engine cover, cooling louvres, floor & diffuser and rear brake ducts, while the Faenza outfit has a new floor (fences, edge, diffuser), and a new engine cover.

Elsewhere, Mercedes has a new floor edge and front brake ducts, Red Bull new floor fences and rear brake winglets and Ferrari new floor (front/mid & diffuser).

Alpine has a new floor (strakes & fences), while Aston Martin has a new floor edge, Williams a new floor (forward mounting) and Alfa Romeo a new rear brake deflector.

Leclerc set the pace earlier, but there was little separating him from Verstappen. Indeed, but for a mistake in Turn 11 the Dutchman might have been quickest.

There were no incidents of note, just a spin from Perez and a few running wide, the abrasive run-offs doing their tyres no favours in the process.

Having handed their cars over to Nyck de Vries and Robert Kubica respectively, Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas are back in the saddle this afternoon.

The lights go green and the Alfa pair lead the way, followed by Vettel, Schumacher and Ocon.

Russell complains that Ocon is very slow on his out lap.

Though he might be slow on his out lap, Ocon subsequently goes quickest with a 35.600, as Gasly goes second, ahead of Russell, Magnussen and Schumacher.

However, a 35.531 sees Alonso go top.

In the Ferrari garage, a new floor is being fitted to Sainz' car - the Spaniard having received a 10-place grid penalty after taking on a new control electronics.

Most are on mediums, though Ricciardo, Stroll and Latifi are on hards as their teams split their strategies.

After 10 minutes the Bulls and Ferraris have yet to appear, while Russell is fifth and Hamilton 11th.

A 35.386 sees Magnussen go quickest, as Leclerc and Perez finally head out.

Moments later, Russell lights up the screens with purples all the way as he raises the bar with a 34.810.

A huge lock-up is followed by a spin for Schumacher at Turn 11.

Leclerc's first flying lap sees the youngster go quickest with a 34.182, while Perez goes fifth with a 35.298.

Albon improves to fourth with a 35.107 as Verstappen begins his flying lap of the afternoon.

The world champion immediately goes quickest, crossing the line at 34.172.

"Who the f*** is that idiot," enquires Gasly, "is that the first day he is racing, or what?" "Keep pushing," the irate Frenchman is told.

Quickest in all three sectors, and on softs, Sainz crosses the line at 33.322, 0.850s quicker than Verstappen's best.

Tsunoda goes ninth with a 35.347. The Japanese driver didn't have the full upgrade package for FP1 - unlike his teammate - but now he does.

On the softs, the Aston Martin pair go fourth (Vettel) and fifth.

Ocon improves to sixth with a 34.660, as Leclerc ups the ante with a 33.136, the Monegasque quickest is the opening and final sectors.

However, teammate Sainz responds with a 32.527, a full 0.6s quicker.

As we await Verstappen's response, Magnussen goes third (33.928) and Ricciardo fifth (33.984), while a 34.264 sees Bottas go 8th.

No purples, but PBs in all three sectors see Verstappen go second, albeit 0.550s down on Sainz, while Hamilton goes fourth with a 33.517.

As Verstappen complains of a lot of understeer in S1, Hamilton improves to fourth (33.517).

A big wobble for Latifi in Turn 2, the Canadian somehow holding it all together.

A 33.291 sees Russell go fourth, thereby leapfrogging his Mercedes teammate.

Verstappen wants another run on fresh softs but he is told to focus on ha high fuel run. "I don't want to start (the race) in P3 or P4," he argues. He heads out on fresh softs.

Perez can only improve to tenth, the Mexican stopping the clock at 34.060, and that's with the benefit of a tow from his teammate.

Despite having the full upgrade package at last, Latifi doesn't appear to be putting it to good use, the Canadian currently 20th.

With 10 minutes remaining it's pretty much business as usual, with Ferrari, Verstappen and now Mercedes leading the way. Quite what's happened to Perez, who is still down in 10th, we don't know.

All 20 drivers are on track with five minutes remaining. All are on mediums bar Ricciardo (softs), Stroll (hards) and Schumacher (softs).

Russell is advised that Leclerc is suffering "quite high deg" on his mediums.

"Couldn't get back to the bollard," admits Russell as he goes off at Turn 3 and fails to obey the correct protocol in terms of navigating his way back on to the track.

The session ends. Sainz is quickest, ahead of Leclerc, Verstappen, Russell, Hamilton, Norris, Gasly, Magnussen, Ricciardo and Perez.

Alonso is eleventh, ahead of Bottas, Vettel, Tsunoda, Stroll, Albon, Zhou, Ocon, Schumacher and Latifi.

Check out our Friday gallery from Le Castellet here.

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