Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc emerged quickest on a chaotic day of Friday Practice for 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix.
Leclerc finished quickest in a FP1 session curtailed after just eight minutes due to major safety issues concerning drainage covers across the track, before he then showed further pace to top FP2 which was extended due to the short early session.
Carlos Sainz rebounded from a major incident in FP1 to finish second in FP2 to provide Ferrari with huge belief to take into the remainder of the weekend.
Now here is a roundup of all the action across Friday Practice for 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix.
Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll was first out on track and once several drivers had set their opening lap times, it was Leclerc who set the pace with 1m 44.019 ahead of Max Verstappen.
The session however came to an early finish in the ninth minute as Sainz stopped on track following a collision with a loose drain cover on the run towards Turn 14, which caused severe damage to his Ferrari and necessitated emergency track repairs.
Sainz subsequently received a ten-place grid penalty after he exceeded his power unit component allowance, due to his battery being damaged beyond repair.
Alpine’s Esteban Ocon meanwhile was left in need of a chassis change whilst Guanyu Zhou also suffered damage due to the loose drain cover, which was soon revealed to have been caused by a water valve cover failure according to the Grand Prix organisers on X.
— F1 Las Vegas (@F1LasVegas) November 17, 2023
FIA however had earlier released a statement stating that the failure was concerning the “concrete frame around a manhole cover…” rather than water valve.
Stewards consequently red flagged the session and ten minutes late waved the checkered flag, owing to the serious nature of the track repairs which wouldn’t of been quickly resolved within the remainder of FP1.
Leclerc eventually finished fastest at the time of the red flag with 1m 40.909 after improving on his second flying lap, ahead of Haas’ Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen who rounded out the top three.
Several drivers set their quickest lap times on the soft tyre whilst Verstappen, Esteban Ocon, Yuki Tsunoda, Sergio Perez, Pierre Gasly, Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris set their times on the medium tyres.
Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas and Zhou set their fastest lap times on the hard tyre, but Lance Stroll, Oscar Piastri, Alex Albon, Fernando Alonso and Logan Sargeant failed to set a lap time.
|1||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||1m 40.909|
|2||Nico Hulkenberg||Haas||+ 2.537|
|3||Kevin Magnussen||Haas||+ 3.352|
|4||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+ 3.488|
|5||Esteban Ocon||Alpine||+ 4.456|
|6||George Russell||Mercedes||+ 4.588|
|7||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari||+ 4.915|
|8||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri||+ 4.999|
|9||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||+ 5.884|
|10||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo||+ 6.238|
|11||Piere Gasly||Alpine||+ 7.344|
|12||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||+ 7.604|
|13||Daniel Ricciardo||AlphaTauri||+ 7.741|
|14||Guanyu Zhou||Alfa Romeo||+ 7.913|
|15||Lando Norris||McLaren||+ 8.038|
|16||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||No Time|
|17||Oscar Piastri||McLaren||No Time|
|18||Alex Albon||Williams||No Time|
|19||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin||No Time|
|20||Logan Sargeant||Williams||No Time|
Due to extensive track repairs, FP2 was delayed two-and-a-half hours and took place without spectators present, due to logistical issues preventing the fan areas being kept open.
McLaren’s Norris was first out on track ahead of teammate, Piastri but a software fault forced him to pit whilst Piastri set the benchmark time of 1m 43.832, although it surprisingly was Sainz who set the pace with 1m 39.891 once the majority of the field had set their first lap times.
Leclerc then Hamilton lowered the benchmark time briefly on soft tyres but Verstappen in the 13th minute set 1m 38.625 on the medium tyre to go quickest, only for Leclerc to go 0.300 seconds quicker a minute later.
Verstappen responded in the 16th minute with 1m 38.209 to go quickest but Perez, Sainz and Leclerc soon displaced him and come the halfway mark of the session, Leclerc set the pace with 1m 36.660 ahead of Hamilton and Albon.
Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso meanwhile enjoyed a largely quiet opening half but suddenly showed his soft tyre pace with 1m 36.657 to go top from Leclerc and Hamilton, with the trio split by 0.006s at that point.
Sainz however displaced his Spanish compatriot four minutes later with 1m 36.354 and times further tumbled across the final 35 minutes, as Leclerc topped the session with 1m 35.265 set in the 65th minute ahead of Sainz and Alonso.
|1||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||1m 35.265|
|2||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari||+ 0.517|
|3||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin||+ 0.528|
|4||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||+ 0.820|
|5||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo||+ 0.864|
|6||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+ 0.918|
|7||Nico Hulkenberg||Haas||+ 1.224|
|8||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||+ 1.231|
|9||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||+ 1.398|
|10||Alex Albon||Williams||+ 1.423|
|11||Lando Norris||McLaren||+ 1.599|
|12||George Russell||Mercedes||+ 1.625|
|13||Kevin Magnussen||Haas||+ 1.652|
|14||Oscar Piastri||McLaren||+ 1.722|
|15||Pierre Gasly||Alpine||+ 1869|
|16||Esteban Ocon||Alpine||+ 1.976|
|17||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri||+ 2.147|
|18||Guanyu Zhou||Alfa Romeo||+ 2.391|
|19||Daniel Ricciardo||AlphaTauri||+ 2.415|
|20||Logan Sargeant||Williams||+ 2.875|