Lewis Hamilton watched Nyck de Vries take to the Circuit Paul Ricard in his W13, as part of the mandated track time given to reserve and young drivers this season.
Buildup towards FP1
Formula 1 comes to France after a two-week break following the 2022 Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, that saw Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc win the race in a “not-so-straightforward” manner after suffering throttle pedal issues towards the end of the race as teammate Carlos Sainz retired with w burning power unit.
Red Bull suffered from excessive tyre degradation in Austria, so it would interesting to see how they fare in France, a place where Ferrari suffered with tyres in previous years, albeit in the previous generation of F1 cars.
Ferrari won in Silverstone with Sainz, and followed that up with Leclerc’s win at the Red Bull Ring, as Mattie Binotto claimed that a new rear wing has helped the F1-75 catch up with Red Bull’s RB18 on the straights.
Binotto told Sky Sports F1: “We had a disadvantage compared to the Red Bull, no doubt, in terms of straight line speed, especially in DRS zones.
“We worked a lot on it. We introduced a new rear wing, only on one car to start [for Leclerc in Canada] and then on both cars since the UK. And with that new rear wing, I think we simply reduced the gap.
“We have closed the gap we had in terms of speed. I think they still have got a slight advantage, but very little or negligible.
“In the power limited [corners], we are very close,” he added. “Then it’s only about the grip limited corners where we can make the difference.”
So the winning momentum is with Ferrari, and it will be up to Red Bull to find a way to stop that, keeping in mind that Max Verstappen win the race in 2021.
Mercedes continued their slow improvement, as Lewis Hamilton took third in Austria, his second consecutive podium after another third at his home race in Silverstone. Sainz retiring as as well as Sergio Perez being out of the picture helped the Briton’s race but there is now doubt Mercedes is improving.
Hamilton will contest his 300th grand prix this weekend and said he would be gunning for the win, so let’s see if that would be realistic, keeping in mind that he will be missing FP1 as Nyck de Vries, the team’s reserve driver will be at the wheel of the W13.
Early into the session, Pierre Gasly reported an engine problem and dived into the pits for repair work, but was soon back on track testing his updated car.
Lando Norris who was on “foot-cam” duty as well in France reported early on in the session that he had a “weird” felling from his throttle pedal.
“The feeling of the throttle pedal is not right,” Norris said. “I think it’s OK it’s just a bit of a weird feeling.”
Leclerc also reported: “The turbo is a bit inconsistent. I don’t know if it’s normal or not,” during the session. At least it’s practice and not during the race.
Sergio Perez seemed to be exploring the limits quite early as he lost his RB18 at Turn 4, but keeps it out of the barriers, but destroyed his tyres with a massive flat spot, going back to the pits for a new set.