Imola, FP2: Russell on top in final practice for Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Perez 2nd, Leclerc 3rd

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By Olivier Ferret

23 April 2022 - 13:39
Imola, FP2: Russell on top in final (...)

Mercedes driver George Russell went quickest in the final practice session for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, beating Red Bull’s Sergio Pérez by eight hundredths of a second, with championship leader Charles Leclerc in third place.

After a rain affected Friday at Imola’s Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, the final practice was held in dry and warm conditions.

McLaren’s Lando Norris, who will line up third for Saturday afternoon’s Sprint, set the early pace with a lap of 1:23.821 before Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton went almost two seconds quicker on medium tyres with eight minutes on the clock. Pérez then moved to the top of the order and he stayed there for the remainder of the first half of the hour-long session as he whittled at his personal best times over the course of a lengthy run on soft compound Pirelli tyres that appeared to mimic what might happen in the 21-lap sprint.

Pérez eventually worked his way to a best time of 1:19.538 but as the session hit the halfway mark Russell emerged for a single-lap run on soft tyres that netted him top spot by 0.081s.

Championship leader Charles Leclerc spent the early part of the session on medium tyres as he focused on tomorrow’s grand prix and it wasn’t until the final quarter hour that he moved to the red-walled soft tyres. The softer rubber took him to a best time of 1:19.740 and third place ahead of the second Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.

Fifth place in the session went to Alpine’s Fernando Alonso whose best lap of 1:20.174 was good enough to push the second Ferrari of Carlos Sainz to sixth place by just under a tenth of a second.

World champion Max Verstappen, who on Friday claimed pole position for the Sprint, ended the second practice session in seventh place as he focused on race-targeted long runs. AlphaTauri, meanwhile, recovered from a double Q1 elimination on Friday to finish eighth and ninth in FP2, with Yuki Tsunoda ahead of Pierre Gasly. The final top-10 spot was taken by Zhou Guanyu of Alfa Romeo whose best time of 1:20.498 left him just over a second adrift of Russell.

There was trouble though for McLaren. After setting the early pace in FP2 Lando Norris reported a brake issue and he returned to the team’s garage. He completed just three laps in the session. Team-mate Daniel Ricciardo missed the entire session with a suspected power unit issue.

Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas also missed all 60 minutes of the session as his team tried to fix problems associated with the exhaust issue that had left the Finn stranded at the side of the track in qualifying.

Pos.DriverCarTimeLaps
01 George Russell Mercedes W13 1:19.457 32
02 Sergio Perez Red Bull RBPT RB18 1:19.538 33
03 Charles Leclerc Ferrari F1-75 1:19.740 35
04 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W13 1:19.992 34
05 Fernando Alonso Alpine Renault A522 1:20.174 29
06 Carlos Sainz Ferrari F1-75 1:20.258 31
07 Max Verstappen Red Bull RBPT RB18 1:20.371 36
08 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri RBPT AT03 1:20.381 35
09 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri RBPT AT03 1:20.439 37
10 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo Ferrari C42 1:20.498 32
11 Alex Albon Williams Mercedes FW44 1:20.591 34
12 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari VF-22 1:20.740 30
13 Mick Schumacher Haas Ferrari VF-22 1:20.977 29
14 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes AMR22 1:21.149 38
15 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin Mercedes AMR22 1:21.155 38
16 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault A522 1:21.179 30
17 Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes FW44 1:21.263 31
18 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes MCL36 1:23.821 6
19 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren Mercedes MCL36 -:—.--- 0
20 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo Ferrari C42 -:—.--- 0

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