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McLaren lead Ferrari, Red Bull sidelined in the pits

McLaren remained on top midway through Thursday's track action in Barcelona, leading the way from Ferrari, as Red Bull failed to add to their mileage.

McLaren and Ferrari have continued as the early pace-setters of the 2022 Formula 1 pre-season, holding first and second on the timing screens midway through Thursday afternoon's session in Barcelona. With no improvements to the leading times, Daniel Ricciardo still holds top spot thanks to his morning benchmark of 1:20.355, a couple of tenths clear of Carlos Sainz, with both drivers using the Medium C3 tyre. Ricciardo is at the wheel of the MCL36 for the full day, while Sainz handed over the F1-75 to teammate Charles Leclerc for the afternoon session – McLaren and Ferrari racking up laps at the Spanish Grand Prix venue with relative ease. But it has not been such a smooth day for Red Bull, with Sergio Perez stuck in the pits for the first couple of hours in the afternoon after stopping on track just before the lunch break with a gearbox issue. No further update has been issued by Red Bull and Perez remains on just 38 laps for the day, far behind most teams.

Another stoppage, but it hasn't stopped productivity

Following Perez's morning stoppage, a second red flag was waved in the afternoon as Nikita Mazepin ground to a halt in his Haas due to a damaged fuel pump, having completed just nine laps after replacing teammate Mick Schumacher. It comes during a day of off-track distractions for Haas, after Russia launched a major military assault on neighbouring Ukraine – given that the team are backed by Russian corporation Uralkali, while also fielding Russian racer Mazepin. But the stoppage did not prevent certain drivers from reaching significant lap tallies as the afternoon session wore on, with Alpine's Esteban Ocon hitting 100 laps, followed closely by AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly and Aston Martin's Sebastian Vettel. There was also a maiden run for new Alfa Romeo signing Guanyu Zhou, as the Chinese youngster - who makes the step up from Formula 2 - got his first taste of the C42, after the team worked through some early teething issues.

Another quiet session for Mercedes

As per the morning, Mercedes had a low-key start to the afternoon session, with Lewis Hamilton jumping out for new teammate George Russell. Russell added around 25 more laps to the 40-lap total Hamilton managed in the morning, meaning Mercedes are yet to hit a race distance for the day. Only Red Bull and Alfa Romeo have completed fewer laps. You can stay up to date with all the action from Barcelona in the dedicated RacingNews365.com live blog .

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