Ferrari sets pace for free training for French Grand Prix

(Reuters) – Ferrari got off to a strong start on Friday at the French Grand Prix weekend, as they will seek their third win in a row, with Carlos Sainz setting the fastest time of the day in free practice at Le Castellet. , by his colleague Charles Leclerc.

The Italian team is seeking its third win in a row, and was the fastest in both sessions, with Leclerc in the first and Sainz in the second. The Spaniard will lose at least 10 places in the grid for Sunday’s race for overtaking the allocation of his power unit components.

Monaco, the former race winner in Austria, set a best time of 1 minute 33.930 seconds on soft tires in first practice, ahead of championship leader Max Verstappen. Meanwhile, Sainz set 1:32.527 PM.

Verstappen said the team has been testing a few things with the car and hasn’t gotten the balance right yet. “We will look at everything for tomorrow and of course we will try to be closer than it is today,” the Dutchman said.

Ferrari won the previous race in Austria with Leclerc, after Sainz won in the UK. Verstappen is 38 points ahead of Leclerc after 11 of 22 races.

George Russell finished fourth for Mercedes in both sessions and fellow seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton sat out of the opening session for the first time to make way for reserve driver and Formula E champion Nick de Vries. In the afternoon it was the fifth.

Under the new regulations, all teams are obligated to have drivers with little F1 experience in the two free Friday practice sessions this season. De Vries finished the session with the ninth fastest time.

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French Pierre Gasly came in fifth and seventh, respectively. While McLaren’s Lando Norris finished seventh and sixth.

Red Bull’s Mexican Sergio Perez, who spins in Turn 3 but manages to keep his car out of the barriers, finished sixth in the morning and 10 in the afternoon.

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