Emilia Romagna GP: Hamilton leads Verstappen in practice

Luke Smith
·4-min read

As part of the revised two-day race weekend format at Imola, drivers were handed a single 90-minute practice session on Saturday morning to dial their cars in ahead of qualifying later today.

In the first official on-track running for F1 at Imola since 2006, Hamilton was able to take top spot ahead of Verstappen and Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas.

Verstappen set the initial pace in practice on the hard compound tyre before Bottas was able to jump ahead on the timesheets on mediums as Red Bull and Mercedes opted for different run plans.

Verstappen and Bottas traded fastest times after making the switch to soft tyres and completing their qualifying simulations, with the Red Bull driver setting the faster time.

Hamilton initially split his rivals on the timesheets, lapping close to two-tenths of a second slower than Verstappen, only to go faster on his second push lap on softs with a time of 1m14.726s.

It was enough to give Hamilton P1 by 0.297 seconds from Verstappen, while Bottas was almost half a second down on his teammate’s fastest time.

All three set their best lap times with around 30 minutes remaining in the session before shifting focus to race simulations, similar to a traditional FP2.

A flurry of laps on the soft compound tyre saw AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly rise up to fourth place in the final few minutes of the session, leading the midfield cars and finishing just nine-tenths of a second off Hamilton at the top.

Charles Leclerc made a late improvement to finish fifth for Ferrari despite reporting throughout the session that his car was “difficult to drive” as he struggled with understeer.

Renault got both of its cars into the top 10 as Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon finished sixth and seventh, followed by Daniil Kvyat in the second AlphaTauri in eighth place.

Alexander Albon took ninth for Red Bull, lapping over a second slower than Verstappen in the sister RB16 car after having a number of laps deleted in the early part of the session.

Albon was caught out for exceeding track limits at Piratella and at the exit of Variante Alta, prompting the Anglo-Thai driver to vent his frustration about the stewards’ clampdown.

Albon was far from the only driver to struggle with track limits as more than 40 lap times were deleted by race control through the session.

Racing Point pair Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez took 10th and 11th place ahead of Sebastian Vettel in the second Ferrari. Vettel focused on hard-tyre running for much of the session, but made a late improvement on softs to finish 12th overall ahead of Haas’s Romain Grosjean.

Carlos Sainz survived a wide moment at Rivazza early in the session that sent him through the gravel to finish 14th overall for McLaren. Teammate Lando Norris finished two places behind in 16th as the duo were split by Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi.

Kimi Raikkonen finished 17th for Alfa Romeo ahead of Williams’ George Russell, who struggled with some set-up changes made on his car through the session.

Kevin Magnussen took 19th for Haas ahead of Nicholas Latifi, who propped up the timesheets for Williams in 20th and completed the fewest laps after an early brake issue. 

Emilia Romagna GP - Practice results:

1

United Kingdom
United Kingdom

Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes F1 W11 EQ Power+
Mercedes F1 W11 EQ Power+

Mercedes

46

1'14.726

2

Netherlands
Netherlands

Max Verstappen

Red Bull Racing-Honda RB16
Red Bull Racing-Honda RB16

Red Bull

39

1'15.023

0.297

3

Finland
Finland

Valtteri Bottas

Mercedes F1 W11 EQ Power+
Mercedes F1 W11 EQ Power+

Mercedes

47

1'15.218

0.492

4

France
France

Pierre Gasly

AlphaTauri-Honda AT01
AlphaTauri-Honda AT01

AlphaTauri

46

1'15.633

0.907

5

Monaco
Monaco

Charles Leclerc

Ferrari SF1000
Ferrari SF1000

Ferrari

41

1'15.688

0.962

6

Australia
Australia

Daniel Ricciardo

Renault R.S.20
Renault R.S.20

Renault

32

1'15.839

1.113

7

France
France

Esteban Ocon

Renault R.S.20
Renault R.S.20

Renault

44

1'15.945

1.219

8

Russian Federation
Russian Federation

Daniil Kvyat

AlphaTauri-Honda AT01
AlphaTauri-Honda AT01

AlphaTauri

47

1'15.966

1.240

9

Thailand
Thailand

Alex Albon

Red Bull Racing-Honda RB16
Red Bull Racing-Honda RB16

Red Bull

41

1'16.061

1.335

10

Canada
Canada

Lance Stroll

Racing Point-BWT Mercedes RP20
Racing Point-BWT Mercedes RP20

Racing Point

42

1'16.082

1.356

11

Mexico
Mexico

Sergio Perez

Racing Point-BWT Mercedes RP20
Racing Point-BWT Mercedes RP20

Racing Point

42

1'16.109

1.383

12

Germany
Germany

Sebastian Vettel

Ferrari SF1000
Ferrari SF1000

Ferrari

40

1'16.167

1.441

13

France
France

Romain Grosjean

Haas-Ferrari VF-20
Haas-Ferrari VF-20

Haas

42

1'16.550

1.824

14

Spain
Spain

Carlos Sainz Jr.

McLaren-Renault MCL35
McLaren-Renault MCL35

McLaren

42

1'16.560

1.834

15

Italy
Italy

Antonio Giovinazzi

Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari C39
Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari C39

Alfa Romeo

33

1'16.564

1.838

16

United Kingdom
United Kingdom

Lando Norris

McLaren-Renault MCL35
McLaren-Renault MCL35

McLaren

45

1'16.671

1.945

17

Finland
Finland

Kimi Raikkonen

Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari C39
Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari C39

Alfa Romeo

43

1'16.684

1.958

18

United Kingdom
United Kingdom

George Russell

Williams-Mercedes FW43
Williams-Mercedes FW43

Williams

43

1'16.780

2.054

19

Denmark
Denmark

Kevin Magnussen

Haas-Ferrari VF-20
Haas-Ferrari VF-20

Haas

45

1'17.060

2.334

20

Canada
Canada

Nicholas Latifi

Williams-Mercedes FW43
Williams-Mercedes FW43

Williams

29

1'17.779

3.053

View full results