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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Lando Norris quickest in F1 testing as big guns enjoy comfortable first day

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T

he first day of pre-season testing for the 2022 Formula One season passed by without a hitch for the majority of the title hopefuls.

Lando Norris strolled into first place on the timesheet late in the day at Barcelona, to round off a session that was remarkably devoid of a red flag.

Although testing typically sees drivers exercising restraint in fully unloading the might of their new cars, one or two escapades to the barrier cannot be avoided – apart from throughout Wednesday’s eight hours of clean running.

McLaren and Norris had the honour of producing the fastest lap, albeit on the quicker C4 tyre, yet every top team will have a right to be happy with their day’s work.

Max Verstappen, ninth in terms of speed but on a slower tyre, racked up a whopping 147 laps in his championship-defending Red Bull across both the morning and afternoon runs. Fernando Alonso and Yuki Tsunoda joined him in the century club, along with Norris who stopped briefly in the morning with a minor power unit issue.

Lewis Hamilton put in 50 laps to finish up fifth, a place behind George Russell after his new teammate piloted the Mercedes in the morning. Between the Mercs and Norris were the Ferraris of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc, who combined for 153 laps.

How relevant the day’s work will prove to the actual title battle is limited, with last season’s day one led by Verstappen, Norris, Esteban Ocon and Lance Stroll. But serious time behind the wheel and a shedload of data learning will be a boon to each team.

Or, those teams who could get it, at least. Robert Kubica only ran for nine laps in the Alfa Romeo before Valtteri Bottas mustered just 23 as reliability issues hit the minnows. Last season’s backmarkers, Haas, racked up only 43 laps in total.

Final day one timesheet

1) Lando Norris, McLaren, 1m19.568, C4 tyre

2) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, 1m20.165, C3

3) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari, 1m20.416 C3

4) George Russell, Mercedes, 1m20.784, C3

5) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1m20.929 C3

6) Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin, 1m21.276, C3

7) Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri, 1m21.638, C3

8) Fernando Alonso, Alpine, 1m21.746, C2

9) Max Verstappen, Red Bull, 1m22.246, C2

10) Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo, 1m22.572 C3

11) Alex Albon, Williams, 1m22.760 C3

12) Mick Schumacher, Haas, 1m22.962 C3

13) Lance Stroll, Aston Martin, 1m23.327 C2

14) Nicholas Latifi, Williams, 1m23.379, C3

15) Nikita Mazepin, Haas, 1m24.505, C2

16) Robert Kubica, Alfa Romeo, 1m25.909, C3

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