The Monegasque Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), winner two Sundays ago in Austria, dominated this Friday the first free for the French Grand Prix, the twelfth of the Formula One World Championship, which takes place at the Paul Ricard circuit in Le Castellet; where the spanish Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) and Fernando Alonso (Alpine) marked the third and the fifteenth time; and the Mexican Sergio Pérez (Red Bull), the sixth.
In the best of his 23 laps, Leclerc covered the 5,842 meters of the French track in one minute, 33 seconds and 390 thousandths, 91 less than the Dutch Max Verstappen (Red Bull), leader of the World Cup, with 208 points, 38 more than him; and that it repeated 18 times the layout of Le Castellet.
Sainz, fourth in the championship -75 points behind Verstappen- he did 20 laps of the circuit and was third in the time table, 338 thousandths of his Monegasque partner, in a session that ended with 29 degrees Celsius in the environment and 59 on the asphalt; and in which everyone set their best time with the soft compound tire.
The Spanish mounted a new control unit in the engine of his Ferraris; and, waiting for new modifications that will surely lead to even more penalties and start from the bottom of the grid, for now will lose ten positions in it.
The ‘Scuderia’ has not yet made an official communication in this regard -referring to this Saturday-, but everything indicates that the talented driver from Madrid, who at the beginning of the month achieved his first victory in F1 by winning the Grand Prix of Britain, will start on Sunday from the bottom of the starting formation.
‘Checo’, third in the World Championship, with 151 points -which, like Sainz, he abandoned in the last race, in Austria- marked the sixth time of the session. The brave pilot from Guadalajara, protagonist of one of the spins of a session that passed without major incidents, turned 20 times; and in the best of them he was one second and 244 thousandths behind his Dutch partner.
Alonso marked the fifteenth time of the session. The double Asturian world champion stayed, in the best of his 21 laps, one second and nine tenths from ‘Mad Max’.
In the first rehearsal for the twelfth race of the year, the Dutchman Nyck de Vries took part, who got into the Mercedes of the seven-time English world champion Lewis Hamilton. De Vries marked the ninth time of training, a second and a half behind Verstappen.
Pole Robert Kubica also rode in the first free practice, taking the wheel of the Alfa Romeo from Finn Valtteri Bottas. Kubica set the nineteenth timetwo seconds and four tenths behind the leader of the World Cup.