FP2 report: Charles Leclerc heads Ferrari 1-2, Red Bull out of sorts

Henry Valantine
Charles Leclerc in FP2 at the Dutch GP. Zandvoort September 2022.

Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz sat top of the standings in FP2 for the Dutch Grand Prix, with the top four drivers separated by just one tenth of a second.

Mercedes backed up their pace from the morning as Lewis Hamilton went third fastest, narrowly ahead of the high-performing McLaren of Lando Norris, with George Russell rounding out the top five.

Red Bull were uncharacteristically slow on one-lap pace in the session though, with home hero Max Verstappen ranking eighth and his team-mate Sergio Perez down in P12.

The session was interrupted by a red flag after Yuki Tsunoda ran off into the gravel, with plenty more running to be done in FP3 before qualifying on Saturday.

The session was delayed by 15 minutes after red flags interrupted Formula 2 qualifying, but the practice session was seemingly very much secondary in people’s minds as it was announced Oscar Piastri will join McLaren from next season after they won their case against Alpine with Formula 1’s Contract Recognition Board.

But back to the present, it was Mercedes who had topped the timesheet in FP1 earlier in the day, with home hero Verstappen having managed only seven laps in the session due to a gearbox issue.

And after the first flying runs throughout, the two Ferrari drivers were the ones to beat – with Sainz and Leclerc separated by a few hundredths ahead of Verstappen.

But it was the second soft-tyre runs that often saw the lap times begin to tumble, with Sainz’s 1:12.349 putting him almost seven tenths clear at the top at that moment.

Leclerc eventually pipped him by just 0.004s, but Hamilton and Norris behind were both just about within a tenth of the Ferrari pair, while Red Bull could not quite activate their pace in the same way and their quickest laps lagged behind the leaders in a way which has seldom been seen all season.

Pierre Gasly and Daniel Ricciardo both suffered issues during the session that hindered their running, leaving them in the garage as long-run simulations began for the final 25 minutes or so of FP2 – Ricciardo suffering an oil leak in his McLaren’s radiator that ended his session early.

But everyone’s session was limited as Tsunoda’s AlphaTauri slid off into the gravel at Turn 10 while on a lap, which brought out the red flags while his stricken car was lifted out by a crane.

FP2 was able to restart with four minutes to go, with a queue of cars at the end of the pit lane looking to make as much use of the track as possible for the remainder of Friday’s running.

But it was Ferrari who ended the session happiest, with Leclerc and Sainz leading the way and both Red Bull cars out of sorts.

FP2 classification

1 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:12.345 27 laps
2 Carlos Sainz Ferrari + 0.004 30 laps
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes + 0.072 21 laps
4 Lando Norris McLaren + 0.103 24 laps
5 George Russell Mercedes + 0.310 27 laps
6 Lance Stroll Aston Martin + 0.401 28 laps
7 Fernando Alonso Alpine + 0.503 25 laps
8 Max Verstappen Red Bull + 0.697 22 laps
9 Esteban Ocon Alpine + 0.960 27 laps
10 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren + 1.017 10 laps
11 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri + 1.074 19 laps
12 Sergio Perez Red Bull + 1.148 23 laps
13 Mick Schumacher Haas + 1.259 27 laps
14 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin + 1.266 27 laps
15 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo Racing + 1.279 25 laps
16 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri + 1.321 16 laps
17 Alex Albon Williams + 1.492 26 laps
18 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo Racing + 1.822 27 laps
19 Kevin Magnussen Haas + 1.937 25 laps
20 Nicholas Latifi Williams + 2.452 24 laps