Site logo

Piastri quickest in incident filled final practice


Ahead of today's sole practice session the air temperature is 23 degrees C, while the track temperature is 42 degrees. It remains bright and sunny and, thankfully, a little less windy than yesterday though still quite 'fresh' and - to add to the fun and games - blowing in an entirely different direction.

After yesterday's issues we're pretty sure that Red Bull will have been burning the midnight oil but thus far there is no news that anyone broke the curfew.

However, no doubt the team's simulator was put to good use overnight.

No such issues for Ferrari, McLaren or Mercedes, who, on yesterday's evidence, are all looking strong and clearly benefitting from their various upgrades.

One lost count of the number of times Carlos Sainz referred to Imola as "old school" on Thursday, but he really does have a point, this track is one of the classics, and other than having history and being picturesque it remains challenging. How Domenicali and his pals at F1 Towers could even think such monstrosities as Vegas and Jeddah belong on the same calendar one can hardly begin to imagine.

Other than the aforementioned, Tsunoda is looking good this weekend, as is Hulkenberg, while Sargeant really needs to pull his finger out... or else.

The lights go green and Norris leads the way, followed by Stroll, Piastri, Alonso and Perez.

As more drivers head out mediums and hards are the order of the day, though Leclerc has opted for softs.

Perez gets things underway with a 17.682, with teammate Verstappen crossing the line at 17.696.

Clearly struggling, Leclerc goes third with a 17.808 as teammate Sainz heads out, also on softs.

The Spaniard goes quickest with a 17.444, however, on his next flying lap Leclerc goes quickest in all three sectors, stopping the clock at 16.281.

Ten minutes in and Ocon is the first driver to post a time, the Frenchman going fifth (appropriately) with an 18.898.

Verstappen improves with a 16.471 to go second as Gasly goes fifth (18.100).

"The only problem I have is that in 5/6 I feel I have a lot of front end," reports Verstappen.

A 17.828 sees Stroll go fifth as teammate Alonso finally heads out.

Seemingly MIA yesterday, Alonso goes eighth with an 18.394 as Bottas heads out of softs.

Slight improvements from Verstappen (16.366) and Leclerc (16.087), who has a major wobble in the final corner, as Sainz admits to a mistake in Turn 6.

No mistakes next time around as Sainz goes top by 0.020s.

Bottas goes fifth (17.272) and Hulkenberg tenth (17.878), as Hamilton finally heads out.

Almost twenty minutes in and only 13 drivers have posted times, among them Hamilton, whose 18.069 puts him 11th.

As Russell goes sixth with a 17.319, Hamilton asks where he's losing two seconds to pace-setter Sainz, "0.8s is on the straight," he is told.

Ricciardo goes thirteenth with a 17.957 as teammate Tsunoda heads out.

Norris goes fourth with a 16.410 on the mediums... remember, the Ferraris are on softs.

Albon goes ninth with a 17.363, but moments later the session is red-flagged when Alonso goes off and into the barriers at the second Rivazza.

It's a big crash, the Aston Martin running slightly wide on the exit of the first Rivazza only to get away from him as he turns into the second part of the complex. Heading backwards into the barrier there is a lot of damage to the rear of the car.

"All good," he tells his team.

The session resumes with 28 minutes remaining, Ocon leads the way, followed by Ricciardo, Gasly, Piastri and Verstappen.

"This was on the limit from Williams... unsafe release," reports Sainz.

In the pitlane, the Medical Car leads the Ferrari of Leclerc.

As more drivers head out, most are on softs... albeit used.

Ricciardo improves to sixth and Magnussen seventh, however both are demoted when Piastri goes third with a 16.257 having gone quickest of all in S3.

Tsunoda finally gets on the board, the RB driver posting a 17.464 to go 15th.

Norris goes fifth (16.395) and Hamilton ninth (17.079).

"The car is riding high," reports the seven-time world champion.

Despite going quickest in S1, Piastri fails to improve having made a mistake in the final sector and taking a trip through the gravel.

Tsunoda goes seventh with a 16.668 as Hamilton improves to within 0.12s of his Mercedes teammate.

"Check the bottoming down the straight into 1," asks Russell.

With 14 minutes remaining, Bottas and Sargeant are the first to make the switch to new softs.

The American goes ninth (16.794), while the Finn stops the clock at 16.695 to demote the Williams driver.

Zhou, who has the new floor that wasn't available to him yesterday, is next out, followed by Stroll.

The Chinese driver fails to improve on twentieth (17.891), while a 16.543 sees Stroll go seventh.

At which point the big guns begin to head out, with just under eight minutes remaining.

Russell goes third (16.095) and Ocon eighth (16.481), however both are demoted when Piastri bangs in a 15.529 having gone quickest in all three sectors.

However, it's another red flag as Perez is off and in the barrier at the Variante Villeneuve, having hit the inside kerb too hard.

With less than four minutes remaining it is unlikely the session will resume, however Race Control has other ideas and announces that the session will resume at 13:28, enough time for one flying lap.

Understandably, there is a queue in the pitlane even though many of those in the queue are unlikely to complete their out lap in time.

The Ferraris are side-by-side, Leclerc passing Sainz through Tamburello.

All are on track bar Alonso and Perez.

Lots of silliness going on as Leclerc tangles with Gasly, almost hitting Piastri in the process, while Verstappen fails to make it to the line in time.

Elsewhere, Hulkenberg somehow managed to miss Ricciardo as the Australian battled with his RB teammate for position on the run to Turn 16. That was close!

Norris goes second (15.829) having gone quickest in S3, while traffic means there are no other significant improvements.

The stewards are - quite correctly - going to investigate the incidents involving Piastri, Leclerc and Gasly and Hulkenberg and the RB pair.

Piastri is quickest, ahead of Norris, Sainz, Leclerc, Russell, Verstappen, Albon, Ocon, Stroll and Hulkenberg.

Ricciardo is eleventh, ahead of Perez, Tsunoda, Bottas, Sargeant, Magnussen, Hamilton, Alonso, Gasly and Zhou.

Lots of work over the break for the Alonso and Perez crews but both cars look repairable.

That said, based on the numerous near-misses we've just witnessed - and the aforesaid crashes involving Alonso and Perez - Q1 could be a bit of a nightmare.

Check out our Saturday gallery from Imola here.


more news >



galleries >

  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images


or Register for a Pitpass ID to have your say

Please note that all posts are reactively moderated and must adhere to the site's posting rules and etiquette.

Post your comment



No comments posted as yet, would you like to be the first to have your say?

Share this page


Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2024. All rights reserved.

about us  |  advertise  |  contact  |  privacy & security  |  rss  |  terms