Esteban Ocon was fastest in FP2 but polesitter Kevin Magnussen also put in a strong performance ahead of the sprint race later today, while Logan Sargeant hit an important milestone as he chases an F1 drive.
Ocon was ahead of Sergio Perez and George Russell, race favourite Max Verstappen was fifth and the Ferraris finished outside the top ten after a disappointing qualifying.
While most teams prioritised the soft and medium tyres ahead of the sprint races, Red Bull devoted more than half the session to the hard tyre and completed over 30 laps running it with an eye on tomorrow’s grand prix before switching to the softer rubber.
Fifth place for Fernando Alonso capped off a strong session for Alpine who start the sprint race sixth and seventh led by Ocon, though the team did run mostly the soft tyres.
Lewis Hamilton, who needs a strong sprint race as he starts eighth, was sixth in practice. Pierre Gasly, Mick Schumacher, Magnussen and Lando Norris completed the top ten.
Sargeant one step closer to F1 drive
Logan Sargeant took part in FP2 in place of Alex Albon, and reached the all-important 100km mark meaning he may only need to finish sixth in the F2 championship to fulfill his 2023 F1 Williams seat.
Williams announced they’d signed the American in October provided he earns his FIA Super Licence at the F2 season finale in Abu Dhabi.
Sargeant‘s currently on 27 points, and if things stay that way he’d need to finish fifth or higher to earn the seat.
However, Article 13 of Appendix L to the FIA International Sporting Code says a driver can earn two more points for completing an FIA championship without earning any penalty points and Sargeant‘s kept it squeaky clean so far.
Drivers can also earn a point for completing 100km in a free practice session, so if Sargeant can stay incident-free in Abu Dhabi he’d only need sixth place in the championship to secure the drive for 2023.
At Interlagos he was slowest of anyone, but had a smooth session compared to Nicholas Latifi who ran off at the final corner early on.
Home F2 champion Felipe Drugovich watched on in his new role as Aston Martin test driver, and fellow Brazilian Pietro Fittipaldi was also in attendance for Haas.