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Formula 1

Russell and Mercedes top Saturday morning Imola F1 practice

by Jack Cozens
2 min read

Mercedes driver George Russell was a surprise pacesetter in final practice for Formula 1’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix ahead of the first sprint race of the 2022 season.

Key moments

  • Russell beats Perez to best time
  • Three different cars in top three
  • Major problems for McLaren; three laps for Norris, none for Ricciardo
  • Bottas also misses all of session

Russell’s best time of 1m19.457s was still more than six tenths shy of the best time from Friday’s qualifying, a 1m18.793s set by Max Verstappen in Q2, as teams focused on testing the longevity of the soft compound tyre ahead of the 21-lap sprint race.

Red Bull driver Sergio Perez did a meaningful 18-lap run on the softs at speed, while Zhou Guanyu completed a full sprint race distance on the same compound for Alfa Romeo.

Perez later swapped to mediums and improved to second fastest, 0.081 seconds behind Russell, with championship leader Charles Leclerc two tenths further back for Ferrari, making it three different cars in the top three.

Lewis Hamilton was fourth in the second Mercedes – half a second down on his team-mate Russell – ahead of Fernando Alonso (Alpine), Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) and Verstappen.

The top 10 was completed by The AlphaTauris of Yuki Tsunoda and Pierre Gasly, who were both eliminated in Q1 on Friday, and Zhou.

Zhou was the only Alfa Romeo to take part in the session, with Valtteri Bottas missing the entirety of the hour-long session as a legacy of his problem in Q3 that caused a red flag.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Sprint Day Imola, Italy

The resulting exhaust damage meant Bottas’s car had to be rebuilt around the spare tub, which didn’t have the suspension attachments on.

Alfa was not the only team in trouble in FP2 though, as McLaren experienced problems with both its cars.

It declared before the start of the session only that it was “investigating an issue” on Ricciardo’s car, which recorded no laps, while Lando Norris – who will start the sprint race from third – lost the majority of the session to a brake issue.

He managed only three laps before the problem was diagnosed, but was able to return to the track in the final minutes to complete a further three laps

Practice 2 Results

Pos Name Car Best Time Gap Leader
1 George Russell Mercedes 1m19.457s
2 Sergio Pérez Red Bull 1m19.538s +0.081s
3 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1m19.74s +0.283s
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m19.992s +0.535s
5 Fernando Alonso Alpine-Renault 1m20.174s +0.717s
6 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1m20.258s +0.801s
7 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1m20.371s +0.914s
8 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Red Bull 1m20.381s +0.924s
9 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Red Bull 1m20.439s +0.982s
10 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m20.498s +1.041s
11 Alex Albon Williams-Mercedes 1m20.591s +1.134s
12 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1m20.74s +1.283s
13 Mick Schumacher Haas-Ferrari 1m20.977s +1.52s
14 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes 1m21.149s +1.692s
15 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin-Mercedes 1m21.155s +1.698s
16 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault 1m21.179s +1.722s
17 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 1m21.263s +1.806s
18 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes 1m23.821s +4.364s
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