Charles Leclerc led a largely unrepresentative second practice session at the United States Grand Prix as Pirelli tested next year’s tyre compounds.
The session was 30 minutes longer than usual with every driver running at least one of the test compounds in Austin.
For testing purposes, it was a blind test so the drivers and teams didn’t know which compound of 2023 tyre they were running.
Formula 1
Formula 1 cancels 2023 Chinese Grand Prix
02/12/2022 AT 12:21
However, Leclerc was able to set his fastest time on this year’s medium tyre early in the session because he didn’t run in FP1 as he gave his seat to Ferrari test driver Robert Shwartzman.
Valtteri Bottas and Daniel Ricciardo were in the same position as Leclerc, so ended up second and third quickest by using the normal soft tyres.
Carlos Sainz, who was fastest in the opening practice session, was fourth, ahead of Haas’ Mick Schumacher and the McLaren of Lando Norris.
Max Verstappen was seventh, with Lewis Hamilton in eighth and Pierre Gasly in ninth which underlined the strange nature of the session with times all over the place.
Sergio Perez was 10th after confirmation earlier in the day that he will take a five-grid place penalty for a new internal combustion engine, as will Zhou Guanyu. More drivers could take grid penalties for excessive use of power unit elements.
Before the final practice session and qualifying on Saturday, all eyes and ears will be on the team bosses’ press conference which will feature Christian Horner and Zak Brown.
Brown wrote a letter to the FIA which stated a team that breaches the budget cap “constitutes cheating”, after Red Bull were found to have broken the financial regulations in 2021.
Horner is expected to answer several questions on the topic after being seen holding talks with FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem.
Formula 1
Binotto resigns as Ferrari boss - 'It is right to take this step at this time'
29/11/2022 AT 09:31
Formula 1
Red Bull confirm return of Ricciardo for 2023 as third driver
23/11/2022 AT 14:42