Emilia-Romagna GP: Charles Leclerc edges out Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz in dominant first practice session

Emilia-Romagna GP: Charles Leclerc edges out Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz in dominant first practice session


World Championship leader Charles Leclerc topped Ferrari’s performance to finish ahead of team-mate Carlos Sainz in wet conditions at Imola; Watch Emilia Romagna GP qualifying live on Sky Sports F1 at 4pm Friday

Last update: 04/22/22 2:49 p.m.


Charles Leclerc was fastest in Practice 1 for Ferrari

Charles Leclerc was quickest ahead of team-mate Carlos Sainz as Ferrari produced a dominant performance in a wet first practice session at the Emilia-Romagna GP.

The world championship leader’s time of 1:29.402 was nearly 0.9s ahead of Sainz, with Max Verstappen a further 0.5s for Red Bull, ahead of qualifying later Friday at Imola which will set the grid for the first Sprint of the season on Saturday.

In a session that saw the cars regularly spin in circles and struggle to stay on track in difficult conditions, Haas was the surprise as Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher finished fourth and fifth respectively ahead of the other Red Bull of Sergio Perez.

Meanwhile, it was another disappointing performance for Mercedes, with George Russell 10th and Lewis Hamilton 18th – and seven seconds off Leclerc’s time – as the Silver Arrows once again failed to match their rivals.

There was a lot of intrigue at the start of the session as the all-new 2022 Formula 1 cars faced real wet conditions for the first time, but ultimately Leclerc’s early-season dominance was only exaggerated because Ferrari coped better with the Italian team’s wet and cold track. GP at home.

Leclerc spins second in Emilia-Romagna GP practice

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Leclerc spins second in Emilia-Romagna GP practice

Leclerc spins second in Emilia-Romagna GP practice

As the session began with all drivers using solid rain tyres, it initially looked like Ferrari and Red Bull would be closely linked again, but a change to the intermediates mid-term saw Leclerc step up into a league of their own.

The Monegasque, who holds a 34-point lead at the top of the world championship after winning two of the opening three races of the season, appeared to struggle to master the conditions as he spun repeatedly, narrowly avoiding what could have been a costly run-in with the wall in one instance.

However, that incident seemed to sharpen Leclerc’s concentration, as the session going into his final quarter he produced a lap that even teammate Sainz couldn’t approach.

Anthony Davidson reviews a tough training session from the rainy Imola circuit

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Anthony Davidson reviews a tough training session from the rainy Imola circuit

Anthony Davidson reviews a tough training session from the rainy Imola circuit

While drier conditions are possible in qualifying and could change the landscape later on Friday, Verstappen’s 1.4 seconds ahead of Leclerc will be a major concern for Red Bull, who have previously been closely associated with Ferrari.

“Ferrari and Haas will be praying for rain for the rest of this weekend,” said Sky Sports F1’s Anthony Davidson.

“What an advantage they have. If you had told me earlier this weekend that Charles Leclerc would have a 1.5 second lead, I wouldn’t have believed you.”

While there was little doubt about the top of the standings after Leclerc’s stunning time, Valtteri Bottas ensured the session ended in spectacular fashion by almost hitting the wall after a spin, the checkered flag having already been waved.

Alfa Romeo mechanics are pleasantly surprised, as Valtteri Bottas narrowly avoids the barriers during testing for the Emilia-Romagna GP.

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Alfa Romeo mechanics are pleasantly surprised, as Valtteri Bottas narrowly avoids the barriers during testing for the Emilia-Romagna GP.

Alfa Romeo mechanics are pleasantly surprised, as Valtteri Bottas narrowly avoids the barriers during testing for the Emilia-Romagna GP.

Wolff: Mercedes has no grip | I like the challenge of being bad

Having been considerably slower than Ferrari and Red Bull in the opening races of the season, any hope that wet conditions might help Mercedes were quickly extinguished.

Russell and Hamilton struggled at the start on wet tires and there was little change on the intermediates as the seven-time world champion finished ahead of only Zhou Guanyu’s Alfa Romeo and Nicholas Latifi’s Williams.

Toto Wolff describes his frustrations seeing the Mercedes so far off the pace, but says he enjoys the challenge of solving problems.

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Toto Wolff describes his frustrations seeing the Mercedes so far off the pace, but says he enjoys the challenge of solving problems.

Toto Wolff describes his frustrations seeing the Mercedes so far off the pace, but says he enjoys the challenge of solving problems.

The fact that the forecast for Saturday’s Sprint and Sunday’s race are dry further complicates the situation for the Silver Arrows, who will have to run their qualifying setup under what could be very different conditions over the weekend.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff told Sky Sports F1 he was “not thrilled” with his team’s performance but insisted he remained confident their car would be good later in the game. the season.

“There are nine seconds between fastest and last,” Wolff said. “It’s about getting grip in the tire and the temperature. The Ferraris seem to have unlocked that thing and everyone’s pretty much everywhere.

Lewis Hamilton struggled in first practice

Lewis Hamilton struggled in first practice

“I thought it would be [level the field]. The feedback we get from Lewis and George is that there is literally no grip. These shortcomings point to the tires.

“I think when you can unlock that problem, you’ll take a leap. There’s going to be quite a bit of a performance gap. It’s not the car, and it’s not the driver.

“Certainly when you see your car beating about five seconds off the pace, you feel like throttling. But I like the challenge, and I like it bad – because in the long run we’re going to be good. .

“We have to warm up the tires and try to find the setup that will get them there faster and hope the smart guys get the upper hand. We’ve done that in the past.”

Emilia Romagna GP Practice One Timesheet

Driver Team Weather
1) Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:29.402
2) Carlos Sainz Ferrari +0.877
3) Max Verstappen Red Bull +1.465
4) Kevin Magnussen Haas +3.037
5) Mick Schumacher Haas +3.586
6) Sergio Perez Red Bull +3.610
7) Fernando Alonso Alpine +3.758
8) Sebastien Vettel Aston Martin +3.963
9) Yuki Tsunoda Alpha Tauri +4.209
10) George Russell mercedes +4.860
11) Valterri Bottas Alfa Romeo +5.213
12) Pierre Gasly Alpha Tauri +5.702
13) Esteban Ocon Alpine +6.018
14) Lando Norris McLaren +6.100
15) Daniel Ricardo McLaren +6.223
16) Start the walk Aston Martin +6.631
17) Alex Albon williams +7.059
18) Lewis Hamilton mercedes +7.062
19) Guanyu Zhao Alfa Romeo +8.048
20) Nicholas Latifi williams +10.296

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