F1 United States GP: Ferrari's Leclerc tops FP2 in 2023 tyre test

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc topped second practice for Formula 1’s 2022 US Grand Prix, where the times were essentially meaningless due to the session being dedicated to 2023 Pirelli tyre testing.

F1 United States GP: Ferrari's Leclerc tops FP2 in 2023 tyre test

Leclerc was one of three drivers to run two of the 2022 Pirelli compounds – along with Valtteri Bottas and Daniel Ricciardo – because he sat out FP1 with Robert Shwartzman driving his F1-75 as part of the rookie practice running mandated in the 2022 rules.

As the rest of the field completed set run plans dictated by Pirelli on two of its prototype compounds for next year – given to the teams in ‘blind’ allocation, with the drivers required to run both types but unaware which was which during their running – that trio duly set the session’s fastest times.

They were allowed 35 minutes to get up to speed for the first time around the Austin track in 2022, before then joining their colleagues on the unmarked rubber.

This is from the harder end of Pirelli’s 2023 range, with the soft compounds being trialled in the FP2 session for next weekend’s Mexican GP after that testing had to be dropped at the wet event in Japan last time out.

Bottas led the pack out of the pits for the start of the extended 90-minute session, with Ricciardo trailing behind – the pair having been replaced by Theo Pourchaire and Alex Palou at Alfa Romeo and McLaren respectively in FP1.

Running the 2022 medium tyres, Bottas established the benchmark at 1m40.655s before Ricciardo nipped ahead on a 1m40.474s also using the yellow-walled tyres.

After five minutes, Leclerc beat both with his first run – using the 2022 softs – to go top on a 1m38.856s.

He was briefly deposed by team-mate Carlos Sainz, who was running prototypes from the off as he had topped FP1, before Leclerc re-established his place at the top of times with a 1m37.614s to close out his softs-shod run.

Fernando Alonso, Alpine A522, Lando Norris, McLaren MCL36

Fernando Alonso, Alpine A522, Lando Norris, McLaren MCL36

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

After a quick trip to the pits to switch to the mediums, Leclerc set the quickest time of FP2 just before the 15-minute mark – a 1m36.810s.

He pitted immediately afterwards and after a near 10-minute stint in the Ferrari garage, he completed his permitted time on the 2022 tyres completing a high-fuel run, with his times coming in around five seconds slower than his personal best.

This replicates a typical FP2 session, but with this session starting three hours later than the 2pm race start time on Sunday, conditions were not completely comparable.

As Leclerc was doing this, Bottas and Ricciardo had finished their 2022 tyre running on a contra-run plan – moving from the mediums to the softs.

Ricciardo moved ahead of Sainz to run second 0.817s adrift of Leclerc with 23 minutes on the board, followed a few seconds later by Bottas, who put in a time just 0.029s slower on his first softs flier.

Five minutes later at the one-third distance mark, Bottas put in another flying lap to pip Ricciardo and take second behind Leclerc – 0.715s slower than the Ferrari.

Sainz headed the drivers that only ran the new prototype compounds, which included Kevin Magnussen and Nicholas Latifi despite this pair also sitting out FP1, with Haas and Williams opting to stick to a 2023-tyre-only run plan.

This was dictated by Pirelli and was compromised of four runs – two ‘performance’ tests at 20kg fuel load and two long-run stints with the cars starting with 100kg of fuel.

The quickest times of the performance runs – five laps in total, with three push laps required either side of out- and in-laps – came in the first stint, with Sainz’s 1m38.763s that briefly put him quickest then beaten by his 1m38.232s.

Alex Albon, Williams FW44

Alex Albon, Williams FW44

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Sainz was followed by Mick Schumacher, Lando Norris and Max Verstappen, with Lewis Hamilton, Pierre Gasly and Sergio Perez rounding out the top 10.

After the two five-lap performance runs had been completed, the drivers were then required to complete two stints of 8-laps on the higher fuel level.

The times on this fuel level came in around 4-5s slower than those set on the lower level.

Another part of the test included the lower tyre blanket temperatures that will be mandated for 2023 – 50°C, down from the current level of 70°C, and ahead of a planned ban on tyre warmers planned to come in for 2024.

This could well have been a factor in the high number of mistakes witnessed during FP2 on Friday, with several drivers having lurid slides exiting corners on the tweaked tyres for next year, which are understood to have subtle design changes rather than any wholesale adjustment from Pirelli.

These tweaks include making sure the 2023 tyres do not have the understeer characteristic through slow-speed that the drivers have not enjoyed on the current variety.

Fernando Alonso had a big snap out of Turn 1 – the uphill left-hand hairpin at the start of the Austin lap – and Turn 11 running on to the back straight.

Hamilton and Norris slide off with dramatic slides coming through the fast, downhill left that forms the penultimate corner – with the latter also sliding wildly coming into the pits during the early stages.

At one point, Sainz described his running on the prototype tyres as “Tokyo drift”.

The 17 drivers running just the prototypes had their running capped at 26 laps after the four runs required by Pirelli, while Leclerc (37), Bottas (37) and Ricciardo (40) racked up more.

They closed out the session as the only drivers circulating, with Leclerc’s first flying lap on the prototypes coming in 0.1s slower than Sainz’s personal best in fourth overall.

F1 United States Grand Prix - FP2 results

Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap Interval
1 Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari 37 1'36.810    
2 Finland Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo 37 1'37.525 0.715 0.715
3 Australia Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 40 1'37.627 0.817 0.102
4 Spain Carlos Sainz Ferrari 26 1'38.232 1.422 0.605
5 Germany Mick Schumacher Haas 26 1'39.507 2.697 1.275
6 United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren 26 1'39.547 2.737 0.040
7 Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull 26 1'39.575 2.765 0.028
8 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 26 1'39.698 2.888 0.123
9 France Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 26 1'39.840 3.030 0.142
10 Mexico Sergio Perez Red Bull 26 1'39.852 3.042 0.012
11 Denmark Kevin Magnussen Haas 24 1'40.084 3.274 0.232
12 Japan Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 26 1'40.178 3.368 0.094
13 United Kingdom George Russell Mercedes 26 1'40.562 3.752 0.384
14 China Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo 26 1'40.664 3.854 0.102
15 Canada Lance Stroll Aston Martin 26 1'40.806 3.996 0.142
16 France Esteban Ocon Alpine 26 1'41.310 4.500 0.504
17 Spain Fernando Alonso Alpine 26 1'41.334 4.524 0.024
18 Thailand Alex Albon Williams 26 1'41.853 5.043 0.519
19 Germany Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 26 1'41.857 5.047 0.004
20 Canada Nicholas Latifi Williams 26 1'42.317 5.507 0.460
shares
comments
F1 to launch female-only series for younger drivers
Previous article

F1 to launch female-only series for younger drivers

Next article

The breakthrough Ferrari must find in the "meaningless" Austin Pirelli tyre test times

The breakthrough Ferrari must find in the "meaningless" Austin Pirelli tyre test times
The pioneering F1 car that preceded Lotus’s terminal decline Plus

The pioneering F1 car that preceded Lotus’s terminal decline

In the hands of Ayrton Senna the actively suspended 99T would be the last F1 race-winning Lotus but, as STUART CODLING reveals, it was a complicated machine that caused more problems than it solved

Formula 1
Feb 5, 2023
How Tyrrell became a racing Rubik’s cube as it faded out of F1 Plus

How Tyrrell became a racing Rubik’s cube as it faded out of F1

Formula 1’s transformation into a global sport meant the gradual extinction for a small team determined to stay true to its low-budget roots. But Tyrrell would eventually be reborn as a world-beating outfit again, explains MAURICE HAMILTON, albeit in different colours…

Formula 1
Feb 4, 2023
Assessing Hamilton's remarkable decade as a Mercedes F1 driver Plus

Assessing Hamilton's remarkable decade as a Mercedes F1 driver

Many doubted Lewis Hamilton’s move from McLaren to Mercedes for the 2013 Formula 1 season. But the journey he’s been on since has taken the Briton to new heights - and to a further six world championship titles

Formula 1
Feb 2, 2023
Why new look Haas is a litmus test for Formula 1’s new era Plus

Why new look Haas is a litmus test for Formula 1’s new era

OPINION: With teams outside the top three having struggled in Formula 1 in recent seasons, the rules changes introduced in 2022 should have more of an impact this season. How well Haas does, as the poster child for the kind of team that F1 wanted to be able to challenge at the front, is crucial

Formula 1
Feb 2, 2023
The Mercedes F1 pressure changes under 10 years of Toto Wolff Plus

The Mercedes F1 pressure changes under 10 years of Toto Wolff

OPINION: Although the central building blocks for Mercedes’ recent, long-lasting Formula 1 success were installed before he joined the team, Toto Wolff has been instrumental in ensuring it maximised its finally-realised potential after years of underachievement. The 10-year anniversary of Wolff joining Mercedes marks the perfect time to assess his work

Formula 1
Feb 1, 2023
The all-French F1 partnership that Ocon and Gasly hope to emulate Plus

The all-French F1 partnership that Ocon and Gasly hope to emulate

Alpine’s signing of Pierre Gasly alongside Esteban Ocon revives memories of a famous all-French line-up, albeit in the red of Ferrari, for BEN EDWARDS. Can the former AlphaTauri man's arrival help the French team on its path back to winning ways in a tribute act to the Prancing Horse's title-winning 1983?

Formula 1
Jan 31, 2023
How do the best races of F1 2022 stack up to 2021? Plus

How do the best races of F1 2022 stack up to 2021?

OPINION: A system to score all the grands prix from the past two seasons produces some interesting results and sets a standard that 2023 should surely exceed

Formula 1
Jan 31, 2023
Who were the fastest drivers in F1 2022? Plus

Who were the fastest drivers in F1 2022?

Who was the fastest driver in 2022? Everyone has an opinion, but what does the stopwatch say? Obviously, differing car performance has an effect on ultimate laptime – but it’s the relative speed of each car/driver package that’s fascinating and enlightening says ALEX KALINAUCKAS

Formula 1
Jan 30, 2023