Free analysis GP de France F1 2022: the traction rules at Paul Ricard

Verstappen is half a second behind a lap

Middle zone led by Norris and with Perez blurred

Two stops on the run using medium and hard

We arrive in the middle of the season with a certain margin of advantage for Verstappen over Leclerc and Red Bull over Ferrari. In Austria, degradation was key, as despite Verstappen being a lap quicker, both Ferraris had better pace on Sunday and had it not been for Sainz’s retirement, they could have completed a double. In France, this situation seems to have changed, the Ferraris were ahead by a lap but Verstappen seems to be the strongest in terms of pace.


Charles Leclerc started dominating the French Grand Prix. The Ferrari driver set the fastest time in free practice 1: 1’33.930 and is less than a tenth ahead of Max Verstappen’s Red Bull. For his part, Carlos Sainz is third and Fernando Alonso fifteenth.

You can read the full chronicle of the session here.

This is the work that the teams have done.



Carlos Sainz set the fastest time in the second free practice session of the 2022 F1 French GP. The Madrid native led a Ferrari one-two at Paul Ricard, with Max Verstappen more than half a second behind. Fernando Alonso, eleventh.

You can read the chronicle of the session here.

The classification simulation reflected the following results:


And combined by teams, here are the results.


Ferrari were the most competitive team in one lap, managing to drop both drivers by 1’33” and leaving Verstappen half a second behind thanks to the red car’s extra mechanical grip as it turns easier in slow corners and can give gas sooner by having extra traction.In the central sector, this is where Verstappen managed to slightly overtake the Ferraris thanks to the extra top speed by having less drag and overtaking thus 330 km / h at the end of the Mistral straight, which the Ferraris did not achieve in this session.The Mercedes appear less than a second with Russell ahead of Hamilton by just over 2 tenths of a second thanks to George’s T8, T12, T14 and T15 starting better in Lewis traction, but both were worse than the Red Bull and Ferrari in each of the areas that took them out of the fight.

The middle zone was more than a second off the best time of the session, with Norris the quickest of that group thanks to the extra steering he maintained in the third sector, being able to turn faster and outlining the McLaren earlier to give gas soon .the curves of the final sector. At 3 tenths Gasly remained, who suffered more drag on the straight and had, but mechanical grip, at 4 tenths Magnussen and Ricciardo appear, losing most of the time in the final straight and already half a second behind are Perez and Bottas who, in addition to having problems in the third sector due to the direction and in the second due to the drag, show a traction problem in each of the Paul Ricard sectors. With bigger problems appearing in the second half of the Alonso board and the Aston Martin less than 2 seconds off Sainz’s time, Fernando placed a setup with a higher load on the rear wing to maximize traction, but this didn’t have a big effect and increased drag and understeer which kept it out of contention for the top 10.

The slowest laps were the Williams, Tsunoda, Zhou, Ocon and Schumacher, in the British team they continue to have problems achieving high aero efficiency and do not fall from Aston Martin, but they do gradually moving away from the middle zone towards a tower On the other hand, Tsunoda, Zhou and Schumacher all failed to feel comfortable with the car as they were far behind their teammates’ times and Ocon also fell behind Alonso, losing 0.4 sec to the Spanish rider being almost all the time in the third sector, but showing that the Alpine, despite the improvements made this weekend, is lagging behind for now .

When it comes to long runs, these are the results.




The filming of the race phase was carried out almost entirely with the medium tire, since this is the option with which the race will start, especially after seeing what has happened in recent years. With this option, Red Bull and Ferrari were in front, practically on the pace. Verstappen managed to take two tenths from Sainz in the first half, but almost let it go in the second half, while PĂ©rez pulled away to around four tenths, two ahead of Leclerc, who suffered something more in the last part of the round. Despite everything, it seems clear that Red Bull and Ferrari will be very close again and that the key to the race will be a question of management and strategic development. The two teams were ahead of Mercedes, very far behind them, almost in the rhythm, and quite far in the chicane and in the final zone, in which they started almost all the time.

The middle zone seemed to be led by Aston Martin, who was able to give a good level, especially thanks to his speed on the straight, the central zone of the lap, in which he took Norris a tenth and Alonso more than two, who recovered in the last part of the round. Unknown to be able to see if Aston Martin can once again maintain its level, Alpine and McLaren will fight to be the benchmark. Alpha Tauri remained a tenth behind them, fast on the straight, but with many problems in the fast corner at the end of the lap, their biggest problem of the season, especially with the passage through T11-T12 as critical zones. With them came the lower zone, which was very close to Albon, at the pace of Alpha Tauri, Alfa Romeo, who allowed himself a little more time in the low-speed parts, especially T3-T6 and Haas , slower at high fuel. load.

With the other tires, two runs were done on soft, of which only Schumacher was valid on soft, exceeding the minimum of five laps, and very discreet times, which clearly indicated that it was not a competitive option , and with the tough Stroll , Latifi and Ricciardo himself downed. More representative rounds in which Stroll and Aston Martin showed a high level in this phase, superior in all three areas, and Latifi kept pace with Ricciardo, confirming Williams’ progress.

Regarding the comparative tire tests that were carried out during the session, we have the following.


Three teams did a long-term tire comparison, as was the case with McLaren and Williams between medium and hard, and Haas between soft and medium, although in their case it was because Schumacher had no medium tire alive after its spin. in T11, which completely destroyed them. In these tests, we could see that the medium was the best tire. Compared to the hard, he was three tenths quicker per sector, finishing eight tenths ahead at McLaren and also at Williams, while the soft wasn’t fast at all and left a lot, especially in the latter part of the lap, due of the low lateral capacity it offers.


For this weekend we find C2, C3 and C4, in a circuit where several types of curves combine since we find a succession of slow curves with support curves such as T1-T2, T6 or T11 which fact that Pirelli chooses to bring tires not so much focused on mechanical grip due to the lateral loads that occur at Paul Ricard.

This was the performance offered by the one-trick tire options.


After one lap, the soft was seen to be the best option, being able to offer between one and two fast laps, and beating the middle by more than a second, especially in the latter part of the lap, in which it gave up half a second, but also in the first two, which were three tenths slower. The hard, meanwhile, was even a second slower than the medium, replicating what had been seen between medium and soft.

It was the evolution of long distance tires.


In the race phase, the medium was the best tire, both in terms of performance, regularity and stability. He was able to beat the hard by eight tenths, which lost four tenths in S2 and three in S3, and the soft, which toed the hard line, but suffered a quick loss in performance.

First of all, tire management for the rest of the weekend is very obvious. For a lap, the best option, and almost the only one, is the soft, which offers a significant boost of speed over the medium, especially in the final part of the lap, which is when time is up. For the race, on the other hand, this extra speed is not tenable and is lost very quickly, which means that it will evolve between medium and hard, with the question of knowing whether to make one or two stops between the medium and hard series available by each team and tire temperature and degradation.

This is the use that the teams have made of the tyres.


And these are the tires available for the qualifying day.


Tire management that day was somewhat different from other races. Todos los teams usaron dos sets de blandos y uno de medios, pero el gran cambio fue el cuarto set, que fue de blandos en Ferrari, Red Bull, Alpine y Magnussen, de duros en Ricciardo, Latifi y los Aston Martin y de medios en the rest. Something that will have consequences not only on Saturday, but also on Sunday. The big doubt is going to be the starting tire for FP3, especially in those who have two sets of mediums available, because placing the medium will make them gear their strategy towards the hard, and go out with the soft and use two of the soft ones that they may have more dedication to the medium. The strategy and the race will therefore begin at the start of FP3, and many will soon reveal their intentions.

These are the main keys left to us by the French GP practice session. Red Bull holds in the race, Ferrari advances by one lap and the strategy will be present between the two, which will mark the final positions. There is still a lot to see in the classification, and even in Free Practice 3, to see who gets the last dance at Le Castellet.

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