FROM THE SENT TO LOSAIL. New track, same results. On the Losail track, in Qatar, used up to now by MotoGP, Formula 1 inaugurates the 74th circuit in its history. The first free practice session sees World Championship leader Max Verstappen (Red Bull) in the lead, thus setting the provisional record of 1’23”723 ahead of Pierre Gasly with the AlphaTauri (0”437 trailing). Followed by Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes, 0”471), Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes, 0”786), Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri, 0 ” 925,) Sixth and seventh time respectively for Carlos Sainz’s Ferraris (0 ” 990) and Charles Leclerc (1”067), who preceded Sergio Perez’s Red Bull (1”192).
Few episodes of the reliefs, because the riders thought above all to study the circuit and to clean up, step by step, the track from the sand brought from the desert. In particular, entering the pit lane raises clouds of dirt.
The Mercedes, which have so far raced with aerodynamically heavily loaded set-ups, at the cost of sacrificing top speed, are in apparent difficulty. Hamilton and Bottas also used old engines, reserving newer ones for qualifying sessions and the race.
On the sidelines of the activity on the track, the decision of the race marshals in Brazil has not yet arrived, who had to judge the admissibility of the Mercedes appeal against Verstappen, and possibly then evaluate a sanction, while Red Bull has a counter-dossier ready. on suspected engine irregularities of rivals.