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Max Verstappen: “We didn’t get the opportunity to fight for pole”

Max Verstappen will start the Spanish Grand Prix from second on the grid, but the Dutchman was disappointed not to attack on his final lap as an issue with his DRS left him down on pace.

The Oracle Red Bull Racing driver had been fastest after the first runs in Q3 but found himself shuffled down to second after a stunning final lap by Scuderia Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

“We are starting second tomorrow which we can be happy about but it was a bit of a shame with the last run,” said Verstappen. “The DRS didn’t open so I backed out and aborted the lap as I was losing a lot of time, three or four tenths.

“That meant we didn’t get the opportunity to fight for pole, nevertheless, we will give it a good go tomorrow.”

Verstappen says Ferrari look ‘pretty strong’ again this weekend, but he is confident he can overhaul Leclerc to secure a third consecutive victory on Sunday afternoon at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

Leclerc takes pole position with last gasp effort at the Spanish Grand Prix

Charles Leclerc clinched pole position at the 2022 Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain. Max Verstappen was in second position, 0.323 seconds slower than Leclerc. Carlos Sainz was in third position at his home race.

George Russell and Sergio Pérez rounded off the top five positions in the qualification session. Leclerc had just one lap in the dying minutes of the session and easily overhauled Verstappen’s lap time.

The qualifying session started under hot conditions with air temperatures at 34 degrees C and track temperatures at 46 degrees C at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

The Pirelli tyre choice at this race is the white-striped hard compound tyres (C1), yellow-striped medium compound tyres (C2), and red-striped soft compound tyres (C3), the hardest range of compounds in the Pirelli tyre range.

Q1: Alonso knocked out

Zhou Guanyo set the early pace with a lap time of 1m21.065s. The Oracle Red Bull Racing drivers, Verstappen and Pérez, went to the top of the time charts.

Red Bull Claims ‘Very Wide of the Mark’ over Aston Martin’s Spain Updates – Andrew Green

Andrew Green, the Chief Technical Officer at the Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team, has dismissed concerns over the legality of the updates brought to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya this weekend, particularly surrounding the similarities compared to Oracle Red Bull Racing’s RB18.

Red Bull has questioned how the AMR22 is so similar to their own car following the updates brought to the car for the Spanish Grand Prix weekend, with Christian Horner commenting that it could have been possible that their intellectual property had been used following the arrival at Aston Martin of several former Red Bull employees.

But Green says the car has been months in the making, with designs going back well before the likes of Dan Fallows arrived at Aston Martin, and the FIA were happy with the way the updates came about.

“I don’t know what these accusations are that Red Bull are talking about,” Green is quoted as saying by “All I can say is that at no stage did we ever receive any data from any team or anyone.

“The FIA came in and did a thorough investigation, examined all the data leading up in the history of this car, they interviewed all the people involved and concluded that it was completely independent development.

Red Bull Raises Questions over Legality of Aston Martin’s Spanish Grand Prix Updates

Questions have been raised at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya over the legality of the upgrades brought to the track this weekend by the Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team, with many similarities to Oracle Red Bull Racing’s RB18 being noted.

And the similarities have been noted by Red Bull’s Team Principal Christian Horner, who has said that the changes to the AMR22 cannot be coincidental since the arrival at Aston Martin of some former Red Bull employees, including their former head of aerodynamics Dan Fallows.

Red Bull say the transfer of its intellectual property would be a ‘serious breach’ of the sporting regulations, and Horner has said they were given a heads-up about the similarities by the FIA as they checked over the cars ahead of this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.

“Imitation is the biggest form of flattery, at the end of the day,” Horner said to Sky Sports F1.  “It’s no coincidence that we’ve had a few individuals that have transferred from Red Bull to Aston Martin over the winter and the early part of this season.

“It was brought to our attention by the FIA earlier in the week, when they said ‘we’ve got a car that looks remarkably like yours, can we have a list of your leavers to see where they went?’ So that immediately raises alarm bells.

Leclerc leads Verstappen and Russell in third practice at the Spanish Grand Prix

Charles Leclerc led the third and final free practice session of the 2022 Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain.

Max Verstappen  finished in second position, just 0.072 seconds slower than the Scuderia Ferrari driver. George Russell finished in third position at the end of the session

The third free practice session of the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya started in baking hot conditions with air temperatures at 31 degrees C and track temperatures at 43 degrees C.

The hardest tyres in the Pirelli range of tyres has been designated for this race – white-striped hard compound tyres (C1), yellow-striped medium compound tyres (C2), red-striped soft compound tyres (C3).

Lando Norris was the first driver out on the track. The young Briton had just 6 laps in second practice because he suffered damage to his chassis. Norris has a new chassis and set the first timed lap of 1m23.641s on the medium compound tyres.

TRANSCRIPT: TCF Interview with Willie Freshour

On 13 May, The Checkered Flag sat down with Willie Freshour, president of the Short-course Off-road Drivers Association (SODA), about a wide array of topics. Subjects of discussion included the 2022 season opener at Slinger Speedway a week prior, the upcoming round at Gravity Park USA, and SODA’s place in the Midwestern off-road racing scene.

Provided below is the full transcript of the interview. Some text has been altered from the original dialogue to improve readability and remove verbal pauses. An audio version will be released soon.

An article summarising the interview can be read here.


TCF: Where did the idea to race at Slinger come from?

WF: A mutual friend of the owner of Slinger and myself that races off-road trucks and he always had the idea to do it. Me and the owner of Slinger kind of were hesitant. We thought it was a dumb idea at first. Even the SODA organisation, we talked about it in a meeting, and one of our board members was like, ‘Have you ever been to SODA?’ It’s a concrete bowl with walls on it, like how are you supposed to have an off-road race? But we figured it out, obviously.

Vidales and Campos win at home in FIA F3 Sprint Race

David Vidales won the FIA Formula 3 Championship Sprint Race from pole in at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, to give himself and Campos Racing a home win, and his first in the category.

He started from pole after Zane Maloney was penalised for missing the weighbridge in Qualifying, ahead of Juan Manuel Correa and Jak Crawford.

The Spanish driver moved straight across to the right to cover Correa into Turn 1, with the 30-car field making it through the first sector cleanly.

Alexander Smolyar battled away with Oliver Bearman through Sector 3, eventually getting the better of the Prema Racing man in time to lead into the final chicane.

Vidales was beginning to build a slight gap at the front, while Hunter Yeany began to slip back down the order and pitted for a new front wing.

Stewart Friesen breaks dry spell with Texas triumph

It had been two years, six months, and thirteen days since Stewart Friesen won a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race. On Friday night, he finally ended the drought as he led sixty laps and held off Christian Eckes to win at Texas Motor Speedway.

Friesen and Eckes, both Toyota drivers, dominated the race as they combined for 100 of 149 laps led. However, Ryan Preece—who led the third most with twenty-seven—was in the right place at the right time as he won the first two stages.

Preece and Friesen battled throughout the race, but the latter struggled to utilise the resin laid on the track. After the race, Friesen described this as “mistake number one. Then mistake number two was when we got with the lapped cars and Preece got by me again. Then I was like, this thing is good. Needs to be a little tighter and change the balance a little bit.”

Carson Hocevar entered the picture as the race crossed triple-digit laps. Hocevar traded the lead with Friesen and Eckes multiple times before Friesen, who received pushes from Preece on following restarts, found the advantage. A wreck involving Eckes’ ThorSport Racing team-mate Ben Rhodes resulted in overtime, where Friesen once again had a strong restart to keep Eckes at bay.

“When the #17 (Preece) lined up with me, I was like, ‘Okay, I’ve got a real racer in my back pocket,'” said Friesen, “and he shoved the heck out of me. I’m terrible on restarts and that was probably the best one on old tyres. Just didn’t spin the tires and got a jump then threw a slider in one and two and it stuck.”

Stanek on F3 Feature Race pole in Barcelona

Roman Stanek will start the FIA Formula 3 Feature Race on pole at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Sunday, while David Vidales will start on Sprint Race pole on Saturday morning after a penalty for Zane Maloney.

Vidales started the Sprint Race from third at the season opener in Bahrain in March, eventually finishing tenth.

Maloney will start both races from the pits after missing the weighbridge when he pitted mid-session, with the Trident team working on the car immediately afterwards. That penalty means he forfeits pole position for Saturday’s shorter race.

The temperatures had continued to rise after Free Practice; that didn’t deter too much of the field though, as they looked to set representative times early.

Kaylen Frederick‘s early benchmark was usurped by Caio Collet inside the first ten minutes, with Franco Colapinto going second and Practice-topping Victor Martins third.

Jüri Vips, Nyck de Vries Reflect on Maiden Practice Outings in Barcelona

The opening free practice session of the Spanish Grand Prix weekend saw two new faces join the FIA Formula 1 World Championship fray, with Jüri Vips and Nyck de Vries getting their maiden outings on Friday.

FIA Formula 2 frontrunner Vips was running with Oracle Red Bull Racing in place of regular driver Sergio Pérez, and although he finished at the bottom of the timing screens, it was clear that he was not looking for outright pace and was consolidating and checking his simulator work correlated with what was seen on track.

The Estonian felt the whole experience of running in an official practice session on a Grand Prix weekend was amazing, and although it was a busy session of running, he was pleased with the job he did and the knowledge he learned.

“My experience today was amazing,” said Vips. “Just to drive on the Grand Prix weekend is an incredible moment. When it first got announced I just kept thinking about when I first started karting and it was just a hobby and now I am going to get in the car.

“It was a busy session, we did lots of aero mapping so we never planned to do any push laps. I can see why F1 is so hard because these sessions are very hectic!

Max Verstappen: “The long runs look positive so we can be happy with that”

Max Verstappen believes his Oracle Red Bull Racing team can be happy with their Friday at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, despite the Dutchman ending only fifth fastest overall.

Verstappen, the winner of the past two Grand Prix in Emilia Romagna and Miami, says the long run pace of the RB18 appears to be good at this stage of the Spanish Grand Prix weekend, but they are still lacking pace over a single lap, which will be all-important when it comes to Saturday’s Qualifying session.

He also said that the Pirelli tyres are finding it tough around the Barcelona track, and it will be important for Red Bull to find a solution to minimise their issues across the rest of the weekend.

“Overall it’s been a good day, the long runs look positive so we can be happy with that,” said Verstappen.  “It has been a bit tricky to find the right balance with the heat and we still have a lot of work to do over one lap.

“It’s tough on the tyres around here, we are not on top of that just yet but at least we know the weather will be consistent tomorrow. I’m looking forward to pushing hard as a Team come qualifying tomorrow.

Russell, Hamilton Pleased with Mercedes Upgrades after Strong Friday Pace in Barcelona

George Russell was happy with the progress the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team has made with their W13 since the Miami Grand Prix, with the Briton ending second fastest in the afternoon session at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Friday.

Russell placed fourth in the morning session before ending just behind Scuderia Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in the second session, with the car handling much better than it has at any point of the season to date in Spain.

The dreaded porpoising that has been hindering Mercedes since the start of the year has been significantly reduced, meaning Russell was able to have more confidence behind the wheel, which in turn meant a strong day when it came to competitiveness.

“In Miami we were quickest on Friday, here we’re second but the car is definitely reacting differently,” said Russell.  “We don’t have the porpoising on the straights which is great but we’re still experiencing it here and there through the corners which ultimately we need to dial out.”

Russell believes the Oracle Red Bull Racing and Ferrari teams are still likely to be ahead of them when it comes to the rest of the weekend, but he feels it was a good start to the weekend.

‘Work to Do’ on Long Runs for Leclerc and Ferrari Despite Topping Friday Practice Sessions

Charles Leclerc ended both free practice sessions at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Friday with the quickest time, with the Monegasque racer aiming to return to winning ways this weekend.

The Scuderia Ferrari driver has seen main title rival Max Verstappen triumph in the past two Grand Prix to reduce his advantage at the top of the Drivers’ Championship to just nineteen points, but he started the weekend in Spain in the right way.

Leclerc says his short runs looked promising on Friday, but they have work to do on their long runs, something he hopes they can address.

“Our qualifying runs don’t look bad, but we have some work to do, in particular on our race pace and on tyre management,” said Leclerc.  “The stints we did on the Soft compound felt better than those on the Mediums. 

“Tonight, we will analyse our latest data to find where we can improve on this track, as the conditions are very different to the last time we were here during winter testing.”

Doohan Blazes His Way to Pole Position in Barcelona

Virtuosi Racing’s Jack Doohan took his second pole position of the 2022 FIA Formula 2 season after setting a ferocious lap on a scorching day at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

The Australian driver will start ahead of Hitech Grand Prix’s Jüri Vips on the front-row of Sunday’s Feature Race grid after beating him to pole by just two-hundredths of a second with the Estonian setting a late lap which looked like it would topple the Alpine junior’s effort.

Frederick Vesti rounded out the top three qualifiers, with the third place grid start being his best starting grid position in the second-tier to date. He was two tenths off Doohan’s pace-setting time but it was enough to bump PREMA Racing’s Jehan Daruvala down into fourth position.

After two red flags in the morning Free Practice session, Qualifying was completely incident free. The biggest challenge that the drivers faced was getting their soft-compound Pirelli tyres into the optimum operating temperature and keeping them there with track temperatures soaring above thirty-nine degrees celsius.

Credit: Formula Motorsport Limited

Many of the drivers seemed to set very competitive times in the first two sectors, but it was the final sector where some struggled to keep the tyres within their said working range which saw them fall short of where they wanted to be.

Leclerc Ends Friday on Top as Mercedes Finish Close Behind

Charles Leclerc ended Free Practice 2 the same way he ended the morning session, on top. The championship leader demonstrated strong pace at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, in what were scorching conditions.

The Monegasque driver ended the day with just over a tenth of an advantage, from none other than both Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team drivers. George Russell occupied second whilst Lewis Hamilton delivered in third. Both Scuderia Ferrari and Mercedes have brought a large upgrades package to the Spanish Grand Prix, which so far seems to be working for them both.

Mercedes’ drivers found themselves in a Ferrari sandwich at the end of the opening day, as Carlos Sainz Jr finished the first day at his home Grand Prix in fourth. Oracle Red Bull Racing appear to have some work to do, and certainly some pace to find, Max Verstappen ended day one in fifth whilst Sergio Pérez was down in seventh spot.

In Verstappen’s defence, the Dutchman was top following the drivers medium tyre runs, before slipping down the order when everyone fitted the soft compound. The more experienced Spaniard on the grid, Fernando Alonso, kept his Spanish compatriot in good company after ending Friday in sixth-place, just two tenths behind Sainz.

Pérez did well Friday afternoon to get up to speed quickly, the Mexican didn’t feature in the morning session as Formula 2 driver Juri Vips got an opportunity to drive the RB18. The biggest talking point of the weekend so far is the new green Red Bull, the Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team introduced some substantial upgrades on the first day of running in Spain, with the car now having a very similar design to Austrian side.