until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula 1

Everything that happened in wet first Imola F1 practice

by Jack Cozens
3 min read

Charles Leclerc headed team-mate Carlos Sainz as Ferrari dominated a wet first practice session of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix weekend at Imola.

Key moments

– Leclerc fastest despite multiple spins
– Verstappen best non-Ferrari but 1.4s down in third
– Brief red flag as Norris spins at Acque Minerali
– Bottas crashes at same corner after chequered flag

The Emilia Romagna GP is the first sprint race weekend of the 2022 F1 season, and as such FP1 – the only practice session before qualifying – featured plenty of running after an initial reluctance from teams to take to the wet track.

The season’s clear top two teams so far, Red Bull and Ferrari, largely dominated the hour-long session, with Sergio Perez’s 1m35.476s on full wet tyres standing as the benchmark time until the final 20 minutes.

Championship leader Leclerc was just a tenth and a half slower at that point, though his session was not without incident as he spun twice as he grappled with conditions – most notably at Acque Minerali, where he ran wide on corner entry and out onto the kerb before rotating.

The Ferraris were the first of the frontrunners onto the intermediate tyres with 22 minutes of the session remaining, and Sainz immediately went fastest with two successive times that put him two seconds clear of the pack.

Leclerc beat this time on his first flying lap by 0.094s, as he and Sainz traded fastest times from that point – despite another half-spin out of Tamburello for Leclerc.

He ended up 0.877s up on his team-mate with a best time of 1m29.402s, with Max Verstappen third for Red Bull but more than 1.4s off the benchmark time.

Haas pair Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher were fourth and fifth, both more than three seconds behind Leclerc, ahead of Perez and the lead Alpine of Fernando Alonso.

Sebastian Vettel tiptoed around as he struggled for grip early on in his Aston Martin but, having been the first to switch to intermediate tyres, found more pace and ended up eighth ahead of Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri).

George Russell was the lead Mercedes in 10th with team-mate Lewis Hamilton 18th – though the seven-time world champion was unable to set a representative time on the intermediate compound thanks to a late red flag shown when Lando Norris stopped in the gravel at Acque Minerali.

That proved to be short-lived as Norris, who ended the session 14th, was able to reverse his McLaren out.

Valtteri Bottas then crashed at the same corner after the chequered flag had been shown, beaching his Alfa Romeo in the gravel trap.

Prior to those incidents, drivers in particular struggled to get their cars stopped on the run downhill into Rivazza.

Williams duo Alex Albon and Nicholas Latifi also both had moments early in the session, with Albon skipping over the grass at Variante Alta not long after Latifi ran into the gravel at the Tosa hairpin as both locked up.

They ended up 17th and 20th respectively, with Hamilton and Zhou Guanyu between them.

Practice 1 Results

Pos Name Car Best Time Gap Leader
1 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1m29.402s
2 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1m30.279s +0.877s
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1m30.867s +1.465s
4 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1m32.439s +3.037s
5 Mick Schumacher Haas-Ferrari 1m32.988s +3.586s
6 Sergio Pérez Red Bull 1m33.012s +3.61s
7 Fernando Alonso Alpine-Renault 1m33.16s +3.758s
8 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin-Mercedes 1m33.365s +3.963s
9 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Red Bull 1m33.611s +4.209s
10 George Russell Mercedes 1m34.262s +4.86s
11 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m34.615s +5.213s
12 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Red Bull 1m35.104s +5.702s
13 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault 1m35.42s +6.018s
14 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes 1m35.502s +6.1s
15 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren-Mercedes 1m35.625s +6.223s
16 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes 1m36.033s +6.631s
17 Alex Albon Williams-Mercedes 1m36.461s +7.059s
18 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m36.464s +7.062s
19 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m37.45s +8.048s
20 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 1m39.698s +10.296s
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