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Emilia Romagna Grand Prix: Practice team notes - Pirelli

NEWS STORY
17/05/2024

Leclerc and Ferrari stamped their authority on the first day of track action for the Gran Premio del Made in Italy e dell'Emilia-Romagna.

The Monegasque was quickest in both free practice sessions with a 1'16"990 in the first and a 1'15"906 in the second. Unusually, there's no sign of a Red Bull driver in the top three on either time sheet. Second in FP1 was George Russell (Mercedes, 1'17"094) with Ferrari's Carlos Sainz third (1'17"120), while in FP2 second and third went to Oscar Piastri (McLaren, 1'16"088) and Yuki Tsunoda (1'16"286).

After the last two rounds were run to the Sprint format, Imola marks a return to the classic scenario with Friday given over to two hours of free practice. The work the teams need to do in relation to the tyres is therefore based on a rather standard programme, especially in the second session where all the drivers began by finishing off their set-up work on the Medium or Hard tyres, before switching to the Softs for a qualifying simulation. They then ended with some long runs on full fuel loads, using mainly the Medium and the Hard. The C4 saw the most use (271 laps) while there was an equal split of the remaining laps between the C3 (149) and C5 (151).

Simone Berra - Chief Engineer: "With five minutes of track time lost through the only red flag of the day, that left 115 action packed minutes at Imola on one of the truly classic tracks on the calendar. We brought our three softest compounds here, based on an assessment of what we saw in the race in 2022, when the C2 was hardly used, because we believe this choice could give the teams a wider range of strategy options, even if this race usually entails just a single pit stop.

Predictably, especially after yesterday's heavy rain, in the first session, the track was still quite "green" and the grip level from the asphalt rapidly increased as the cars did more and more laps. This rapid track evolution continued in the second session, although less so. The wind caused some disturbance, especially in FP1 with temperatures remaining reasonably stable around 27/28 C for the ambient, while the track went from an average of 50 C in the first session to 39 C in the second, conditions which we could see in Sunday's race.

The Medium and Hard tyres proved very competitive in terms of performance over a long run, while the Soft, especially in very high temperatures, could turn out to be quite tricky to manage over a large number of laps. The performance difference over a lap between each of the compounds is around half a second. From what we could see, some teams have not yet found the best way to get the most out of the C5 on a flying lap, while the C4 suffered with a very small amount of graining on the right side, especially the front tyre."

Check out our Friday gallery from Imola here.

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