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Russell tops timesheets in final practice


Following yesterday's inclement conditions it's almost like we are in a different location as bright Spring sunshine bathes the Imola circuit.

However, while there is no rain anticipated until tonight, we are expecting more downfalls tomorrow, which should certainly keep the engineers and drivers on their toes.

With little dry running, this morning's practice session should allow the drivers to prepare for this afternoon's Sprint, even if tomorrow appears to be in the lap of the weather gods.

As we saw yesterday, Red Bull and Ferrari continue to set the pace, though, due to the conditions, it is difficult to call the rest of the field.

Alonso looks good, as ever, as do Norris and Magnussen, but again, one has to wonder how much the conditions masked the true pecking order.

Hopefully, over the next hour we should get a better idea.

Air temperature is 19 degrees C, while the track temperature is 31 degrees.

The lights go green and Stroll is first out, followed by Schumacher and Zhou, all three on mediums.

As more drivers head out, most are also on mediums, though Alonso opts for hards and Norris, Gasly and the Bulls go for softs.

Zhou posts the first time of the day, the Chinese driver stopping the clock at 24.826.

McLaren is investigating an issue on Ricciardo's car - believed to be power unit related - which will delay his start to FP2. They hope to resolve the issue and get the car out before the end of the session.

Hamilton reports a drop in power.

A 23.821 sees Norris (soft) go top only for Hamilton (medium) to post a 21.880 moments later.

Gasly posts a 21.602 on the softs but Perez responds with a 20.447. A 21.078 sees Verstappen go second.

Tsunoda goes third (21.016) but is demoted when Albon splits the Bulls with a 2.591.

Perez consolidates his top spot with a 19.815 as Hamilton goes sixth (21.691). The Briton subsequently gets it wrong at the Variante Alta.

Verstappen retakes the second spot with a 20.548, as Leclerc goes seventh, ahead of Russell, Zhou, Alonso and Norris.

A 21.731 sees Sainz go 8th, ahead of his teammate, however the Spaniard is on softs while his teammate is on mediums.

Hamilton improves to second with a 20.023, just 0.208s down on pace-setter Perez.

With seven of the top eight on softs, the odd-one-out is Tsunoda who is on mediums. Leclerc and Vettel, who are ninth and tenth, are both on the yellow-banded rubber.

Other than Ricciardo, the other driver yet to appear is Bottas, the Finn seemingly suffering the same issue that affected him in qualifying. With his car stripped down it is unlikely that we will see him in this session either.

A 19.956 sees Russell go second as Tsunoda switches to the hards.

Ricciardo isn't the only McLaren driver with issues, Norris is out of his car having completed just 3 laps due to a brake-related issue.

As Russell improves to 19.457, Verstappen switches to mediums.

The Haas pair are currently 16th and 17th, a far cry from yesterday's pace.

Latifi goes ninth with a 21.263... on mediums!

Leclerc goes second with a 19.740, just 0.283s off Russell's best.

Hamilton reports that his rear tyres are overheating "quite a bit".

On the mediums, Perez leapfrogs Leclerc with a 19.595.

Magnussen improves to 12th and Schumacher 13th, the Dane on softs whilst his teammate is on mediums.

Leclerc goes quickest in the first sector, however he loses pace in S2 and again in S3.

Alonso goes quickest in S1, however he too then begins to lose pace. At the line its 20.174, which sees him remain fifth.

Camera pick up on Schumacher flying through the air as he rides the kerbs at the Variante Alta.

Sainz improves to sixth with a 20.258, while teammate Leclerc remains third.

For the last ten minutes Norris has had his helmet on in the McLaren garage, but still no sign of him heading out.

Looking ahead to tomorrow, Vettel persists with the hards.

In the dying moments Norris heads out for one single flying lap... however, he finds himself behind Hamilton and has to abort.

The session ends. Russell is quickest, ahead of Perez, Leclerc, Hamilton, Alonso, Sainz, Verstappen, Tsunoda, Gasly and Zhou.

Albon is eleventh, ahead of Magnussen, Schumacher, Stroll, Vettel, Ocon, Latifi, Norris, Ricciardo, Bottas.

Check out our Sprint gallery from Imola, here.


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1. Posted by kenji, 23/04/2022 13:26

"From purely a spectator perspective this session is largely irrelevant due to 'parc ferme' conditions and the fact that the sprint grid is already formed. Of course dry running can be advantageous to teams for strategy reasons but that means zip to the watching fans.


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