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Leclerc gives the tifosi hope at Imola


Ahead of today's second practice session the air temperature is 24 degrees C, while the track temperature is 38 degrees. It remains warm, bright and sunny but still quite windy.

All but RB have upgrades this weekend, though many are circuit specific. Red Bull has brought a new Front Wing, Floor Edge, Rear Corner, Floor Body and Nose, while Mercedes has new Floor Fences, Floor Body, Rear Wing, Beam Wing and Front Corner, and Ferrari has a new Front Wing, Rear Wing, Sidepod Inlet, Coke/Engine Cover, Floor Edge, Diffuser and Rear Suspension.

At McLaren there's a new Rear Wing and Beam Wing, while Aston Martin has a new Front Wing, Nose, Floor Body, Floor Fences, Floor Edge, Diffuser, Coke/Engine Cover, Rear Suspension and Rear Corner.

Alpine has a new Floor Edge, while Williams has a new Floor Body, Stake new Floor Fences and Haas has a new Front Wing, Rear Suspension and Rear Corner. RB has brought no updates to its home race.

This morning's session was not without incident, for while Alex Albon caused the only red flag when stopped on track with a technical issue, a number of drivers had moments including Tsunoda, Ricciardo, Sainz, Hamilton and Verstappen who had a nightmare session, particularly in S2 at Acqua Minerale.

Indeed, the entire break was spent by Verstappen's crew running tests on the car and changing the set-up.

Other than the bumpy surface and the wind, the driver had to contend with the various upgrades as the teams sought to gather as much data as possible.

The lights go green and Russell leads the way, followed by Ocon, Hulkenberg, Magnussen and Alonso.

Soon all bar Sargeant, Albon and Piastri are on track, with mediums and hards being the order of the day.

Russell posts an 18.102 but this soon beaten by Tsunoda (17.672), who looked particularly good earlier.

A 17.560 sees Sainz go top but his teammate immediately responds with a 17.019 and then Norris with a 16.980.

At which point Verstappen bangs in a 16.930.

"We'll box at the end of this lap," Hulkenberg is told, something "not right" with his car.

Unlike the opening phase of FP1, there are no aero rakes in use but still plenty of flo-vis.

As Verstappen reports that his car is "feeling better", Gasly spins at Acqua Minerale.

Tsunoda retakes the top spot with a 16.895, as Hamilton goes sixth, ahead of Russell, Perez, Alonso and Ricciardo.

In the Williams garage, both cars are up on their stands with no floors. Albon suffered an electrics issue in opening practice after hitting a kerb.

Verstappen posts a 16.734.

"Hamilton thinks he is the only car on this track," complains Alonso. "It's the second lap he does it, Turn 12 and now Turn 7."

Sainz posts a 16.680 and his teammate a 16.677, much to the crowd's delight.

"Fourth gear is probably limiting us... on the straight," claims Ocon.

"Can you check the power steering," asks Leclerc after a wobble in Acqua Minerale.

Twenty minutes into the session the track falls silent as all the drivers head back to their garages. After a few moments of silence Russell breaks the deadlock... the Mercedes driver heading out on softs.

A couple of minutes later Albon finally appears as Norris, Hamilton, Alonso and Ricciardo head out on softs.

On the red-banded rubber Russell improves to fourth with a 16.820, as Norris goes quickest in S1.

Alonso improve to sixth, while Norris, who was quickest in S2 also, pits after making a mistake in the final corner.

Leclerc raises the bar with a 15.969 while his teammate can only manage a 16.423.

Tsunoda goes fourth with a 16.698.

Verstappen goes quickest in S1 but loses time at the chicane behind an Aston Martin, finally crossing the line at 16.447 to go fourth.

Piastri goes second (16.098).

"Thanks for that Mercedes in Turn 9," says a sarcastic Zhou of Hamilton who has gone third (16.297).

However, Tsunoda responds with a 16.286, his softs clearly good for two flying laps.

A mistake by Sainz at the Variante Alta as his teammate consolidates his top spot with a 15.906.

Unhappy once again with his car, Verstappen's mood isn't helped when he encounters a slow Hamilton on the racing line. The Dutchman gesticulates his displeasure.

Attention now switches to Sunday afternoon as the drivers begin their high fuel runs, almost all on softs. That said, Piastri and Magnussen are on hards, while Tsunoda, Ricciardo and Norris are on mediums.

Tsunoda is to be investigated after the session for a practice start infringement.

In the Red Bull garage the mechanics are swarming over Verstappen's car like worker bees.

"What's wrong with this Ferrari," asks Perez after an encounter with Leclerc. "Let him do his thing, we'll do our thing," he is told.

Leclerc is lapping at 20.6, Piastri 20.7, Russell at 20.7, Sainz 20.9 and Verstappen at 21.3.

Verstappen runs wide at the first Rivazza. Next time around he is far more cautious.

"That's so intelligent, incredible," sighs Piastri of an Alpine driver.

Clearly there are a lot of frustrated drivers out there... which doesn't bode well for Q1 tomorrow.

The Perez/Leclerc incident will be investigated after the session.

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

Ricciardo is eleventh, ahead of Norris, Stroll, Ocon, Gasly, Bottas, Magnussen, Albon, Zhou and Sargeant.

In the moments after the session in the Red Bull garage the post-mortem is already underway, with Christian Horner looking particularly concerned.

At Ferrari, on the other hand, the team, particularly on Leclerc's side of the garage, will go into the night feeling quietly confident as will McLaren, Mercedes and Tsunoda.

Two interesting sessions which suggests that the midnight oil is going to be well and truly burned tonight.

Check out our Friday gallery from Imola here.


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