Leclerc tops extended practice session in Austin as drivers test 2023 Pirelli tyres


 Charles Leclerc has led an unusual second practice session of the United States GP F1 2022. While almost the entire grid used only Pirelli's experimental tyres, the Monegasque set the fastest time on average.

 After a first free practice session dominated by Carlos Sainz and including Alex Palou's debut, the second started with more 'rubberized' asphalt and at a temperature of 37ºC.

 Despite the fact that there was an hour and a half to go to test Pirelli's experimental tires for 2023, many drivers were quick to take to the track.

 The first time of the session was 1'40''655 by Valtteri Bottas on medium tyres, but Daniel Ricciardo, also on medium tyres, dropped first to 1'40''474; Shortly after, Charles Leclerc appeared on soft and scored a 1'38''856.

 Among the pilots with experimental tires there was a lot of variety at the start: although Pierre Gasly was in a high 1'40'' at the beginning, Fernando Alonso started with a 1'44'' and Nicholas Latifi with a 1'48''.

 Carlos Sainz was the first to dare to go down to 1'38'' with the experimental tire and took first place, although Leclerc soon returned to that position with a 1'37''614.

 After a very short first stint, almost all the drivers who were on the experimental tire returned to the Pit-Lane.

 Leclerc, however, having to make up ground after missing Free Practice 1, quickly fitted a set of medium tires and dropped to 1'36''810.

 Daniel Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas were quick to mount the soft tyre, but they lagged at times of 1'37''627 and 1'37''656 respectively.

 After a little over half an hour, the three drivers who were still running on this year's tires have stopped doing so and all those who were on the track were on the experimental ones.

 The activity was then quite high, but the times were not very competitive. The best of them was Carlos Sainz, with a 1'38''232, but many riders were in times of 1'39'', 1'40'' or even 1'41''.

 The teams' programs have at that time focused on long runs, so the time table has changed little.

 With the time already up, Leclerc finished the session at the top of the table, followed by Bottas, Ricciardo and Sainz who was the fastest on the experimental tyre. Fernando Alonso, meanwhile, was seventeenth.

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