Leclerc beats Verstappen to record FP1 Time (amidst racing in a heat wave)

It has been an exciting weekend for Formula One racing. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc has exceeded expectations and beaten the FP1 record at Circuit Paul Ricard, much to the chagrin of his rival Max Verstappen.

If you’re not in the seats of these riveting race cars but still want a piece of the action, why not bet on Formula One racing at Lottoland? We’re going to break this race down in terms of who was driving, what they did to their vehicles, and how Europe’s heat wave affects motorsport. 

The Hot Rods Beat the Heat 

Red Bull. Credit: sportskeeda.com

It’s important to note that the FP1 was a testing run for the Grand Prix. This race might be “just practice,” but it is also a way of checking that the cars and drivers are ready for the race ahead. Along with the other drivers, there will be another, more pervasive obstacle: the current heat wave. 

Driving in intense heat can be dangerous for both the driver and their vehicle. It can reach up to 50 degrees Celsius inside a car, even when there isn’t a heat wave. If you’ve ever been in a car after it’s been in a sunny parking lot for a while, you know the feeling. Imagine that in this sizzling summer heat. 

But there are extra considerations for the cars themselves. Specifically, the drivers in this race were worried about tyres. According to WindsorNissan.com, tyres are particularly concerning in the summertime because they can only take so much heat. In the worst-case scenario, the pressure in one’s tyres can expand so much that the tires will explode. Three different tyre types were pushed to their absolute limits in this FP1; the track hit a scorching 58 degrees Celsius! 

The Top Three

Without a doubt, Charles Leclerc stole the FP1 show. His time of 1:33.90 was the fastest in an opening practice race. Over the three total practice sessions, Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), Max Verstappen (Red Bull Racing), and Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) bounced between first, second, and third. 

Leclerc and Verstappen will be of particular interest to many long-time viewers. The two have a rivalry that is about to unfold in one of the grandest races Europe has to offer—even if the track is also hot enough to fry an egg. 

Bait and Switch 

But there are other interesting things about the drivers and vehicles in the Grand Prix. It is common practice, for example, for younger drivers to take the wheels of their mentors in an FP1 session. For Lewis Hamilton, this meant having Nyck de Vries drive his car instead. It is the first time the seven-time Grand Prix Champion has let someone else drive his car for an FP1. Another Mercedes driver, George Russell is also a rising star; over 4.2 million followers watched him place 4th

Many of the vehicles also had new or replaced parts for the Grand Prix. Pierre Gasly (5th) and Yuki Tsunoda of AlphaTauri have both been begging for upgrades. Lando Norris of McLaren Mercedes also recently received upgrades but tested them before racing. Ferrari has even opted to change Leclerc’s vehicle before the big event! This deprives them of pole position and may, as per FlowRacer’s excellent explanation, lead to a more substantial grid penalty on top of that. 

Conclusion

This weekend is set to be a scorching Grand Prix due to both the burning rubber from the cars and the outside temperature. Even if you’re watching the action from your (relatively) cool home, you can feel the excitement radiating from the race. If you’re betting on the races with your friends, now is the time to get fired up. 

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