Ferrari duo Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz were fastest at first practice at the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona on Friday.
Sainz began the weekend by suggesting that a debate was needed on the effects of Formula One racing, particularly in light of the new bumpier ride that the summer rule changes have brought with them.
The Spaniard clocked up the second fastest time in the opening practice session of 1:19:07, behind only championship leader Leclerc, who alternated between hard and soft tyres like his team-mate and put down a time of 1:19.828.
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The race at Barcelona was a chance for Sainz and the rest of the Spanish F1 contingent to perform at their home countries, with Fernando Alonso - in hot water for recent criticism of the FIA - also present along with Esteban Ocon, who boasts Spanish heritage on his father’s side.
Current champion Max Verstappen was a touch slower than the Ferraris at 1:20.164 in third.
Mercedes brought with them another slew of upgrades that had led Lewis Hamilton to declare himself ‘optimistic’ ahead of the weekend, and the seven-time champion was sixth quickest, with team-mate George Russell fourth.
The team’s alterations appeared to have heavily reduced the amount of porpoising that has blighted their season so far.
Elsewhere, Red Bull’s Juri Vips took to the track instead of Sergio Perez, and he was comfortably off the pace as the slowest driver on 1:24.138.
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