F1 – Leclerc Continues To Set The Pace In Imola As Verstappen Battles ‘Difficult’ Red Bull

F1 – Leclerc Continues To Set The Pace In Imola As Verstappen Battles ‘Difficult’ Red Bull

Charles added the fastest lap of second practice to his P1 time from the opening session, with the Ferrari driver outpacing McLaren’s Oscar Piastri by almost two tenths of a second as championship leader Max Verstappen continued to struggle with the balance of his Red Bull RB20 and finished seventh.

After a troubled opening session in which he went off track twice, Verstappen looked more comfortable at the start of FP2 and he moved into an early lead with a time of 1:16.930 ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris and the Ferrari cars of Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.

After 13 minutes Leclerc moved to the top of the order with a lap of 1:16.677 set on Medium tyres and soon after the field began to move to C5 Soft compound tyres for qualifying simulations. Mercedes

George Russell put in a lap of 1:16.820 on the red-banded Pirelli tyres to go fourth, 0.143s off Leclerc’s leading effort set on medium, before the Ferrari drive extended his advantage on Softs with a lap 1:15.969 moving half a second clear of nearest challenger Sainz.

At the half way mark Piastri then split the Ferraris just 0.129s off Leclerc. However, further back Verstappen could only manage fourth and nearly half a second back and he was soon bounced out as Russell improved to 1:16.311 to go third.

With 27 minutes left on the clock RB’s Yuki Tsunoda jumped to third place just three-tenths off Leclerc. However, the Monegasque driver then found more time and tightened his grip on P1 with a time of 1:15.906s. Hamilton also found time and moved up to fourth for Mercedes.

Further back though, Verstappen was again struggling with the Dutchman complaining on the radio that “it’s so difficult, everything man, this time suddenly the front grips up a lot and I almost spin”.

In the end the championship leader’s best time of 1:16.447 was only good enough for seventh place behind, a tenth ahead of team-mate Sergio Pérez. Verstappen’s unhappy Friday was capped by an off-track moment five minutes from the end of the session. This time the Dutch driver lost control in the between the two Rivazza corners and he was forced through run-off.

At the top, Leclerc doubled up on his FP1 first place, 0.192 ahead of Piastri and with Tsunoda third ahead of Hamilton, Russell and Sainz. With Verstappen and Perez seventh and eighth respectively, ninth place went to Haas’ Nico Hülkenberg, and the top 10 was rounded out by Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso.

2024 FIA Formula 1 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix – Free Practice 2 
1 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:15.906 29 232.819
2 Oscar Piastri McLaren/Mercedes 1:16.098 0.192 30 232.232
3 Yuki Tsunoda RB/Honda RBPT 1:16.286 0.380 32 231.659
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:16.297 0.391 29 231.626
5 George Russell Mercedes 1:16.311 0.405 32 231.583
6 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:16.423 0.517 30 231.244
7 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda RBPT 1:16.447 0.541 23 231.171
8 Sergio Pérez Red Bull/Honda RBPT 1:16.552 0.646 25 230.854
9 Nico Hülkenberg Haas/Ferrari 1:16.826 0.920 28 230.031
10 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin/Mercedes 1:16.838 0.932 29 229.995
11 Daniel Ricciardo RB/Honda RBPT 1:16.967 1.061 32 229.610
12 Lando Norris McLaren/Mercedes 1:16.980 1.074 30 229.571
13 Lance Stroll Aston Martin/Mercedes 1:16.991 1.085 26 229.538
14 Esteban Ocon Alpine/Renault 1:17.008 1.102 31 229.487
15 Pierre Gasly Alpine/Renault 1:17.064 1.158 32 229.321
16 Valtteri Bottas Kick Sauber/Ferrari 1:17.088 1.182 28 229.249
17 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1:17.129 1.223 32 229.127
18 Alexander Albon Williams/Mercedes 1:17.135 1.229 23 229.110
19 Zhou Guanyu Kick Sauber/Ferrari 1:17.606 1.700 28 227.719
20 Logan Sargeant Williams/Mercedes 1:17.848 1.942 22 227.011

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