There was an exciting time trial in the Formula 1 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix, after Max Verstappen finished his third free training on Saturday morning with a huge advantage, by more than four-tenths of the lead, with 1.14.958 in the lead, and behind the Netherlands is the surprising man on holiday The weekend so far, Lando Norris has arrived with McLaren, Lewis Hamilton is third with Mercedes, and fellow defender Valtteri Bottas, who won Friday’s training, is only eighth.
During the weekend, deletions from the track will be severely penalized, resulting in many riders being deprived of one score at a time. It also promised an extra excitement for the timer. No wonder Lewis Hamilton wrapped himself in a warm, rubber quilt on Friday, as the weather on the circuit of Imola, home of the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix, was so cold on Friday, and was kept temporary.
The time trial is usually opened by “juniors,” which means two HAASs have made their way to the field with Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin, who have piled on a foul on Friday. The former was credited with the first counted lap, with the son of former world champion Michael Schumacher scoring the base time at 1.16806, while he followed his German teammate by one second. After the double for the US team, the track was very slowly crowded, at least with riders, as spectators were still unable to be in European stadiums. The Spanish Grand Prix will be no exception, as news of this year’s race will be closed only on Saturday.
Back on the timer, the Q1 was quickly interrupted after AlphaTauri rookie Cunoda Juki badly smashed his car from turn 15.
The back of the Japanese Knight’s car swam away, and after sprinting from a bend and suddenly changing direction, it climbed onto the wall, loosening the rear of the ugly car. Perhaps due to the reduced traction and temperatures of the asphalt, the speed at which Konoda took the bend was still too great for the car.
After the green flag, the riders flooded the track just nine minutes before sprinting the laps to advance. Valtteri Bottas opened the best with Mercedes, leading at 1.14.926, followed by Hamilton, Norris and Verstappen, which remained unchanged until the first quarter. As for the back of the field, the contestants from Williams, Haas and Alfa Romeo fought to advance, although Konoda was eliminated, they had a better chance of a superb performance in the second quarter. In the end, Williams succeeded, in 12th place, Nicholas Latifi, and George Russell, in 14th. Say farewell to two HAAS and two Alfa Romeos, as well as the Cunoda, which smashed a car in early Q1.
In the middle of the counter the usual tactics might come with the tires. As the Bahrain season opening, Pirelli brought C2-C3-C4 rubber compound to Imola. The Mercedes and Verstappen with Red Bull attempted to enter the third quarter on the C3 yellow sidewall, or mid-wheels, which could give a tactical advantage to Sunday’s race as they can go the longest outing of the race with a medium mix.
The ranking was very close, with Hamilton leading by 1.14,817, while Verstappen was just 67K behind. In third place, Bottas was twenty behind his teammate.
The weekend surprise so far, Lando Norris, flashed again with McLaren and 1.14.718 laps – a true soft combination – taking the lead after 99 centuries of beating Hamilton.
Interestingly, Russell was in 10th place with Williams in the mid-wheels after his first fast laps. Aston Martins also performed well with Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll, but even the last fast laps remained. There was an overwhelming number of fireworks in the last minutes. Perez took the lead on C4 tires with Red Bull, while Charles Leclerc jumped to third, boldly bidding farewell to fellow Carlos Sainz to 11th in the second quarter. In addition to the Spanish, the timer has ended for Russell, Vettel Latifi and Fernando Alonso. The two-time Spanish world champion was eliminated from his current team-mate after the 2017 Malaysian race after Esteban Ocon reached the third quarter.
Perez, Norris, Leclerc, Hamilton, Verstappen, Bottas, Gasley, Ricardo, Okon and Strol entered the final stage of the temporary. Meanwhile, the air temperature increased to 14 degrees and the track warmed to 30 degrees, making the conditions more and more perfect. The first shot was for Norris, who went in a lap of 1.14.875, but a few seconds later Hamilton advanced with 1.14.411, followed by Verstappen and Perez. The top three were separated by a tenth and a half, while Bottas was only sixth before the last laps. Three minutes before the end of the meter, the two Mercedes drove onto the track for the first time. Bottas made a lot of mistakes, and failed to improve, unlike Norris, who was purple, which means he opened with the best first sector ever. The McLaren racer continued vainly in the middle sector and behind Hamilton, canceling his time due to leaving the track. Nobody could outperform Hamilton’s 1.14.411 lap, but the Red Bulls came close to the British.
Perez was behind the reigning champions only 35 regiments, while Verstappen was third with 87 regiments from Hamilton, where he finished 99th in his career.
Behind the Red Bulls, Charles Leclerc finished fourth with Ferrari, followed by Gasly, Ricardo, Norris, Bottas, Ocon and Strol.
This is what the Big Three said after the timer:
Hamilton: “It was an amazing day, I didn’t expect to be able to overtake all of the Red Bulls. Our car behaved much better than it did in the last race. I like challenges, and tomorrow’s race is definitely going to be very tough. The pace of the Red Bull is great, and we’re going to run a race.” Hot on Sunday. “
Perez: “After my mistake on Friday, the team did a great job with the car. That way we have to keep working and after that anything can happen. I expect an interesting race on Sunday.”
Verstappen: “The Q3 did not go well, I retreated from the perfect arc in the triple corner. We need to see what the problem was. But the third place is not bad, we start different tires with Perez, we can have an interesting race.”
The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix kicks off on Sunday 15.00 GMT.
Hamilton or Verstappen?
As usual, we try to guess the winners of the podium on Sunday. We’ve now asked a member of our OneForma lady, sports journalist Bordet Kurdas, to tip her.
“I think we’ll see the Verstappen – Hamilton fight in the lead again. The British Friday went very well, while Verstappen lost a lot of time due to a technical error in the second free practice. The pace of competition was very similar between the two. I’m looking forward to an exciting race. I feel like it.” Hamilton will win through his experience, the Dutch will take second place, and I look forward to Lando Norris for the third step on the podium.
EMILIA-ROMAGNA Grand Prize
Lewis Hamilton (UK, Mercedes)
Sergio Perez (Mexican, Red Bull)
Max Verstappen (Netherlands, Red Bull)
Charles Leclerc (Monaco, Ferrari)
The third line:
Pierre Gasly (France, AlphaTauri)
Daniel Ricciardo (Australia, McLaren)
Lando Norris (Brit, McLaren)
Valtteri Bottas (Finn, Mercedes)
Esteban Ocon (France, Alps)
Lance Stroll (Canady, Aston Martin)
Carlos Sainz Jr. (Spain & Ferrari)
George Russell (Brett, Williams)
Sebastian Vettel (German, Aston Martin)
Nicholas Latifi (Canada, Williams)
Fernando Alonso (Spanish, Alps)
Kimi Raikkonen (Finn, Alfa Romeo)
Antonio Giovinazzi (Olasz, Alfa Romeo)
Mick Schumacher (German, Haas)
Nikita Mazpin (Russian, Haas)
Konoda Juki (Japanese, AlphaTauri)
This article is published by Index Professional Partner, The same Made by.
(Cover photo: Lewis Hamilton at the Emilia-Romagna Grand Trial on April 17, 2020. Photo: Mario Renzi / Formula 1 / Getty Images)