Formula One bosses have said Sunday’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix will go ahead despite an attack on a nearby fuel depot during practice. Black smoke billowed across the Jeddah circuit as seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton and his fellow drivers took part in the first action of the weekend.
World champion Max Verstappen reported to his Red Bull team over the radio that he could detect the smoke. “I smell a bit of a burning feeling,” he said. “I am not sure if it is my car, or another car.”
The al-Masirah satellite news channel run by Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed they had attacked an Aramco facility in Jeddah. The same fuel depot, 12 miles to the east of the track, was attacked on Sunday. Shortly after the summit, race organisers said the grand prix - only the second to be staged in Saudi Arabia - will go ahead as scheduled.
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was quickest across Friday’s practice ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, while Mercedes appeared to struggle for pace throughout the day.
Follow all the F1 news and updates from practice ahead of the Saudi GP below:
Mercedes reveal ‘million-dollar question’ in search of fix to catch Formula 1 rivals
Mercedes chief technical officer James Allison concedes their car was not up to standard for the Bahrain Grand Prix and they are still asking the “million-dollar question” as to why.
The car wasn’t fast for practice or qualifying with issues particularly for Lewis Hamilton’s as his DRS failed. The drivers did manage to qualify fifth and seventh and during the race they climbed spots to end third and fourth.
Despite the good finish both Hamilton and George Russell complained about the difficulty of driving that car and Allison has given insight into how the team are trying to fix it.
“You might ask: Why were we running the biggest wing and if we were running the biggest wing, why didn’t we have the performance in our car that we might have hoped for? Well, that, of course, is the million-dollar question,” he said, per GP Fans.
The team’s car has not been on the same level as some of their rivals’ early this season
More to come from these teams in FP2?
What will FP2 look like in an hour and a half’s time. It’s quite dusty out on the track and the wind is picking up, blowing in from the sea.
Will there be improvements from the likes of Mercedes, McLaren and Haas?
FP1 full times and result
- Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)1:30.772
- Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +0.116
- Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo) +0.312
- Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) +0.367
- Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) +0.545
- Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) +0.733
- Sergio Perez (Red Bull) +0.791
- Esteban Ocon (Alpine) +1.254
- Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +1.592
- Fernando Alonso (Alpine) +1.609
- Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) +1.734
- Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) +1.810
- Lando Norris (McLaren) +1.822
- Guanyu Zhou (Alf Romeo) +1.836
- George Russell (Mercedes) +2.067
- Nico Hulkenberg (Aston Martin) +2.262
- Alexander Albon (Williams) +2.315
- Nicholas Latifi (Williams)+2.757
- Mick Schumacher (Haas) +3.657
- Kevin Magnussen (Haas) No time
Lewis Hamilton calls on Mercedes to improve 2022 car ‘as soon as possible’
Mercedes lasted the entire race, leading to Hamilton taking a surprise podium position, but both he and George Russell admitted afterwards that the car was difficult to drive.
“I don’t currently feel too stressed but I want to get in the fight as soon as possible,” Hamilton told RaceFans ahead of this weekend’s Saudi-Arabian Grand Prix.
Hamilton was third in Bahrain after experiencing issues with his Mercedes car
Leclerc fastest in FP1
Mercedes and McLaren continue to struggle
Red Bull were arguably the pick of the session thanks to Max Verstappen setting his time on the hard compound tyre but Ferrari took that session easy,they headed out late and still came in with the fastest lap time from Charles Leclerc on soft tyres.
Mercedes encountered more ‘porpoising’ problems with Lewis Hamilton managing to sneak into the top 10. McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris finished P11 and P13 so there’s room for improvement in the second session later today.
Leclerc leads the way after FP1
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc tops the leaderboard after the first practice session in Jeddah with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen just behind him.
Lewis Hamilton sneaks into the top 10 for Mercedes but Haas’ Kevin Magnussen wasn’t able to set a lap time after issues with his car’s hydraulics.
Here are the top 10 lap times:
1) Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 1:30.772
2) Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +0.116
3) Valterri Bottas (Alfa Romeo) +0.312
4) Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) +0.367
5) Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) +0.545
6) Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) +0.733
7) Sergio Perez (Red Bull) +0.791
8) Esteban Ocon (Alpine_ +1.254
9) Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +1.592
10) Fernando Alonso (Alpine) +1.609
Leclerc faster than Verstappen
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc has moved to the top of the leaderboard with a quickest lap of 1:30.772 beating the previous best from Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
Leclerc’s going a lot quicker on the soft tyres. He’s got one lap left before the session comes to a close.
Sainz struggling with bouncing
Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz has just complained about his car bouncing around on the radio. He’s up to P6 as it stands, while teammate Charles Leclerc improves to second on his first soft tyre-shod lap.
Saudi Arabia GP free practice 1
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