Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2022

Leclerc sets the morning pace for Ferrari as pre-season testing begins in Barcelona

2022 F1 season

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Formula 1’s radical new era officially began at Barcelona this morning, as the first day of pre-season testing for the 2022 season began at the Circuit de Catalunya.

All 10 teams completed at least some running with their new cars for 2022 during the morning session, with Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull and Williams all covering a race distance.

It was a morning free from major problems or red flag interruptions, allowing teams to commence their testing programmes without any disruptions.

Charles Leclerc went quickest of all the 10 drivers in the new Ferrari F1-75, recording a best time of a 1’20.165. Lando Norris was second fastest, three tenths slower in the McLaren MCL36.

New Mercedes driver George Russell was third quickest in the Mercedes W13, six tenths from Leclerc’s pace. Sebastian Vettel was just over a second slower than Leclerc with the fourth fastest time of the session, with Yuki Tsunoda recording the fifth-fastest time in the AlphaTauri.

World champion Max Verstappen was sixth-quickest in the new RB18, but logged the most laps of any of the ten drivers to partake in the morning session, with 80 laps completed.

Lewis Hamilton will take over the Mercedes for the afternoon session, while Lance Stroll will replace Vettel in the Aston Martin. Alex Albon will step into the Williams taking over from Latifi, while Valtteri Bottas will get a turn in the Alfa Romeo. Mick Schumacher will also get his first turn out in the VF-22 this afternoon.

2022 pre-season test day one – morning times:

Pos.Car numberDriverTeamModelBest timeGapLaps
116Charles LeclercFerrariF1-751’20.16578
24Lando NorrisMcLarenMCL361’20.4740.30950
363George RussellMercedesW131’20.7840.61976
45Sebastian VettelAston MartinAMR221’21.2761.11151
522Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauriAT031’21.6381.47342
61Max VerstappenRed BullRB181’22.2462.08180
714Fernando AlonsoAlpineA5221’23.3173.15254
86Nicholas LatifiWilliamsFW441’23.3793.21466
99Nikita MazepinHaasVF-221’24.5054.34018
1088Robert KubicaAlfa RomeoC421’25.9095.7449

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2022 F1 season

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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48 comments on “Leclerc sets the morning pace for Ferrari as pre-season testing begins in Barcelona”

  1. So far reliability looks good, I read that Alfa Romeo’s low mileage was due to a broken part that needed replacement and nothing major.

    I’m a bit worried for Alpine, I know we shouldn’t read too much into those times but we don’t get to see Haas topping the times either. Time will tell.

    Also pretty gutted the test hasn’t been made available through F1TV … At a time where F1 talks about “Show and tell” sessions, this is obviously a missed opportunity.

    1. Alpine had problems with the DRS, so Alonso wasn’t allowed to open it on the straights. So I wouldn’t read too much into his times.
      As for Haas, they missed a lot of running due to a problem with their fuel pump.

      1. @srga91 I never read too much into testing times, but a DRS failure doesn’t cost any car 3 seconds.

        1. @warheart
          You do realize there are other variables like fuel loads, engine maps and how much a driver is pushing the limit?

          1. @srga91 you do realize the absolute first thing I said was “I never read too much into testing times”? It was your post that only mentioned his DRS problems and not anything else.

    2. @spoutnik You missed part of the title, it’s “Show and tell… for bucks”. Rumors have that Abu Dhabi payed extra to have the exclusivity of showing the cars live hence the limited access for Barcelona. It was covered here

      1. Bahrain not Abu Dhabi… come on get it right at least.

  2. Well I think we can officially declare the 2022 championship over. Three tenths is massive in F1 so it is very clear Charles Leclerc and Ferrari are going to have it all their own way this season, will win every race, and the championship is going to be extremely boring. There is no point in watching any of the races now. What a complete and utter failure the new regulations are.

    1. How can you possibly say this?! Are you mad? Testing times are not representative! Sandbagging is real! Abu Dhabi was a fix!

      Oh wait, was it sarcasm?

    2. @f1frog very good. I’m trying to recall which year it was when Ferrari were quickest and people were genuinely saying similar things. Obviously Merc walked it.

      1. Well, looks like someone else further down this page seems to have fallen for it…

      2. @frood19 It was 2019 I believe. I think (although I can’t find any record of it now, so I may be imagining things) Binotto admitted at the end of that season that they honestly believed they had half a second on the rest of the field that year.

        And you’re completely right, Merc won the first 8 races that year, and the first team other than Merc was RB, who had won twice by the time Ferrari finally got a win after the summer break in round 13 Belgium.

        So yeah never read too much into testing times

    3. This is fun)))

    4. @f1frog
      That’s normal for the casual fans though. Just wait till you see Toto’s statement and the Mercedes PR machine parroting his narrative about Ferrari being a real threat just for them to divert the attention and quietly prepare for the start of the season.

    5. I am a Ferrari fan, but come on, 4 seconds above pole lap 2021… these times don’t matter at all!
      and do you remember 2019 tests?
      Keep calm!

    6. Thanks for clearing it up ;)
      In a way its a relief, since the broadcast rights were bought by some Scandinavian gang. Saves me getting yet another subscription and decoder.

    7. :))))))) good one!

    8. To be fair, in 2009 this happened! Brawn dominated the pre-season but people were like “no way this is representative”.

      1. True, that’s an interesting case.

    9. Haha very clever post ;-)

  3. A solid start for RB, Mercedes and Ferrari. All of them clocking in a decent amount of laps. Apart from Alfa and Haas, nobody seemed to suffer from major technical problems (except maybe Alpine with their DRS problems).
    Of course it’s useless to take a look at the timing screen, even more so than in previous years. The only interesting comparison are the 2017 testing times, because it was the last major rules change. Leclerc is already pretty close to the best testing time of Bottas that year (1st test), who set a 1:19.7.

  4. Hi @willwood

    Any chance we can have a column for the tyre each team achieved their fastest lap on?

  5. It’s good to see the teams out with raceable cars looking reliable at the first test. It’s remarkable when you consider this is a new formula with new parts, new cooling packaging, etc. And they did this while contesting a championship last year. AND, the cars are not all the same. They didn’t just crank out tweaked versions of a standard car–there’s a ton of real engineering and novel thinking represented on the track.

  6. Toto’s statement : “Ferrari have the fastest car, we have a very difficult season and we will not be challenging for the championship at this rate”.
    Hamilton after locking the front with Russell half a second clear of the rest “The guys did an amazing job and they have developed the car overnight but Ferrari are still a real threat…”

    1. People like you can never be satisfied you always find a reason to complain. Be it Merc, RB or any other team, what do you expect them to say?

      Reporter: Hi team principle X where do you think you stand in the pecking order?
      Team principle X: We are going to smash the grid, we have a massive pace advantage over the others. See ya losers?

      I think not.

      1. “I think we’ll be competitive, like always”, from a team that brought the best car since 2014 I’d expect nothing less, anything less than that is lying.

      2. That would actually be cool to hear :)

      3. IPBA,
        When was I complaining ?

        Be it Merc, RB or any other team, what do you expect them to say?

        The truth.

        1. Yeah

          That is not how sport works, especially testing in formula 1

      4. “We have been preparing well, hopefully we get a great result, nothing is guaranteed of course so we’ll try and do our best”
        Wolf Crier and Lewhine “WHAAAAA! The other teams will dominate us Whaaaa!

    2. Man…. you’ve absolutely nailed it!

    3. Is this necessary? Is there nothing positive you can post for once – for instance, about your team which completed a pretty solid session?

      1. I mean, it’s unnecessary lies from wolff and the likes, if you check horner’s interviews last year, a very competitive year for red bull, he had opinions before the races that were much closer to reality than wolff’s are.

        1. I’ve done a quick check of the stories on this site from March last year and I don’t see much difference between the two principals statements. The problem with bias is that it only lets you see/hear particular words or snippets out of a whole lot of text/speech.

  7. Hellll Yeaaa Brother.

  8. Is it just me being incompetent or is there no coverage of testing on F1TV? I can’t find it. If not, then what?! I’ve been paying subscription for two months with nothing of substance, given it’s Formula One down time, but come on, at least now show the testing!

    1. @david-br – There’s nothing because Bahrain paid to have the “first test” so this is considered as a “shakedown test” and therefore has no coverage.

      1. Well this site has called it a “test.” I hope they don’t receive a nasty c&d from the Bahrain promoters’ outside counsel lol.

        I hope F1 doesn’t become like another well known open wheel series where everything down to driver prerace bathroom breaks get a title sponsor.

    2. No coverage as mentioned several times before here.
      Only Bahrain testing will be open.
      They bought the rights to broadcast the cars first.
      Money always works.

    3. I guess we might get a “tech talk” featuring some images later on this week @david-br, but otherwise, we will have to wait for the Bahrain testing (I guess it is Pay to view hardcore, right)

  9. The big question? Can the cars follow each other? That’s the question? Can they? Can they bud?

  10. How about we talk about the fashion murder, that just happened in the pitlane?

    Lewis dressed as a.. Well there are no words to describe that outfit.. Spying on RedBull.

    Now I know why drivers are mandated to wear mas.. I mean racing overalls in the car.

    I hope Lewis is now in to Vodoo, or something, that will make him channel his inner GOAT, because he will need it to cover up for his fashion crimes.

    1. Lewis took a look every where even visit Max’s box so he saw a lot.

  11. I’m not going to reference any one post in particular…

    What is it with people being rude to each other on this site? We’re all F1 fans. Let’s have a little more respect for each other, even when opinions differ greatly.

  12. Yes! Yes! Yes! After 2 years of hibernation, suddenly Ferrari is back on top of the winter test, trying to regain back the winter test champion crown. Joke aside, when Ferrari led the winter test, it would be competitive for race podium or at least occasional wins, which is good for 2022 championship season with more competition.

  13. How do these times compare to race pace/qualifying from last year?

    1. @dmeehan About 3.5 seconds off last year’s pole time, just over 2 seconds off what they lapped in FP1 last year.

      And about 3 seconds off day 1 of 2020, the last test held at Barcelona.

Comments are closed.