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Leclerc tops shuffled FP2 order amid tyre testing session

Charles Leclerc beat Valtteri Bottas and Daniel Ricciardo to FP2 honours in an unrepresentative practice session at the Circuit of the Americas.

Charles Leclerc emerged as the quickest driver from second practice at the Circuit of the Americas, but the session centred around the testing of Pirelli's development tyres. Second practice for the US GP had been allocated as Pirelli tyre test session, following the wet conditions of the Japanese GP practice sessions. Each driver was given two sets of the development tyres to use, allocated with set amounts of fuel and were unable to make setup changes. The only drivers who spent any time on this season's tyres were three of the drivers who missed out on FP1 running to rookie drivers; Leclerc, Valtteri Bottas and Daniel Ricciardo. It was these three drivers who topped the session, with Leclerc's lap time of 1:36.810 being several tenths of a second faster than Alfa Romeo's Bottas and McLaren's Daniel Ricciardo, who set their best times on Soft tyres. The Ferrari drivers' session-topping time was less than half-a-second faster than teammate Carlos Sainz's best lap from FP1, equipped with medium tyres. All three drivers switched to development tyre testing partway through the session.

Sainz fastest of the development-tyre runners

The rest of the field were committed to the Pirelli tyre testing throughout the one-off, 90-minute session. Drivers were given a set number of laps to run depending on whether they opted for short or long runs, and teams were given a specific temperature to keep their tyre blankets at. The compounds and fuel loads used by each of the drivers are undisclosed, therefore there will be little knowledge to be gained from the field, apart from getting a feel for the projected 2023 tyres. Of those runners, Sainz set the benchmark which was still 1.4s away from Leclerc's pace, but over one second ahead of Haas' Mick Schumacher and McLaren's Lando Norris. Recently-crowned champion Max Verstappen finished the session in seventh place, ahead of Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton, AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly and teammate Sergio Perez.

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