Carlos Sainz Jr and Charles Leclerc dominated Friday practice in their Ferraris for Sunday’s French Grand Prix at the Paul Ricard Circuit, with the British Grand Prix winner posting a 1:32:527 fastest time. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was third.
Despite his Success, Sainz Jr will have to serve a ten-place penalty no matter what his result will be on Saturday qualifying, with the reason being over the limit on replacing his car’s power unit, which failed him at the last round in Austria.
With the weather at nearly 50 degrees Celsius on the circuit, it was a very quiet session all day long, with only a couple of spins by Mercedes George Russell in the morning, followed by Haas F1’s Mick Schumacher in the second session, just missing the wall. Verstappen had his mechanics work on the floorboard that cracked in the opening session, when he ran wide and struck a curb. The team had it ready when the afternoon period was set to be run.
Russell ended up fourth overall, despite his earlier spin, with his teammate Lewis Hamilton in fifth. McLaren’s Lando Norris had a slow start until late in the afternoon, when the Briton posted a good lap enough to take sixth for the day. Frenchman Pierre Gasly gave his home crowd something to cheer about by placing seventh in his AlphaTauri while Haas F1 kept their hopes going with Kevin Magnussen taking eighth. Daniel Ricciardo in his McLaren and Red Bull’s Sergio Perez in a disappointing performance, rounded out the top ten.
Leclerc was successful in the morning, just edging out Verstappen by 0.091 seconds, with Sainz Jr in third. Nyck de Vries, the Mercedes reserve driver, filled in the opening session for Hamilton and was impressive, with a ninth-place finish, just behind Williams Alex Albon, who had a personal best finish of eighth.