George Russell finishes first ahead of Sergio Pérez and Charles Leclerc in the final practice session at Imola; watch the Emilia Romagna GP Sprint live on Sky Sports F1 from 2.30pm on Saturday

Last update: 04/23/22 14:33


George Russell was fastest in practice two at Imola

George Russell set the fastest time in practice two at the Emilia Romagna GP as Mercedes showed signs of improvement ahead of Saturday’s Sprint.

Russell finished ahead of the Red Bull of Sergio Pérez and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, with the other Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton fourth.

With qualifying taking place on the Friday before the first Sprint of the season, teams were expected to focus solely on their race setups in the final practice session.

It remains to be seen if Mercedes were simply testing a more competitive set-up than their rivals in the first dry conditions of the weekend at Imola, or if the Silver Arrows have really gained ground after their disappointing start to the season.

Mick Schumacher and Charles Leclerc fly over the curbs during practice for the Emilia Romagna GP

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Mick Schumacher and Charles Leclerc fly over the curbs during practice for the Emilia Romagna GP

Mick Schumacher and Charles Leclerc fly over the curbs during practice for the Emilia Romagna GP

Max Verstappen, who will start the Sprint at the front of the grid after beating Leclerc on pole during Friday’s wet qualifying, was seventh.

There was great concern for McLaren, who were unable to get Daniel Ricciardo out on track due to a problem, while Lando Norris, who starts third in the sprint, had his track time limited by a brake problem as he he finished slower among drivers than published lap times.

The only other car that failed to make it to the track was Valtteri Bottas’ Alfa Romeo, whose technical issue that caused him to stop in qualifying on Friday has yet to be fixed.

Team principal Andreas Seidl says McLaren will be

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Team principal Andreas Seidl says McLaren will be “okay” for the road race, despite car problems for both Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris.

Team principal Andreas Seidl says McLaren will be “okay” for the road race, despite car problems for both Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris.

Carlos Sainz, under pressure after crashing out of qualifying in front of the local Ferrari fans in Italy, was sixth behind Fernando Alonso’s Alpine.

Di Resta: “Mercedes cannot be so animated”

While Russell and Hamilton’s timesheet positions were encouraging, the unfamiliar nature of the car set-ups and fuel loads in practice leaves much doubt as to whether this was a significant step forward.

It should also be noted that the parc fermé conditions in which the cars were placed between qualifying and the Sprint meant that only limited adjustments could be made during P2.

Lewis Hamilton takes an off road trip during practice at the Emilia Romagna GP

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Lewis Hamilton takes an off road trip during practice at the Emilia Romagna GP

Lewis Hamilton takes an off road trip during practice at the Emilia Romagna GP

The Sky Sports F1 team offered a variety of assessments, with Paul Di Resta’s cautious view struck by the severe graining on Mercedes’ rear tires noted by Ted Kravitz during the session.

“You can’t be that excited,” Di Resta said. “The [Russell] I was using DRS.

“Of course Mercedes is going to be stronger, they make the tires work, I think that’s the most important thing, but if you look at the rear grain, that shows a car that is out the window.

“They have work to do. Analyze, get that data back to the factory, come up with new solutions. Being stuck in these parc fermé conditions, you just have to explore what you can.”

Nico Rosberg says Toto Wolff's visible frustration during qualifying at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix shows stress levels are rising at Mercedes

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Nico Rosberg says Toto Wolff’s visible frustration during qualifying at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix shows stress levels are rising at Mercedes

Nico Rosberg says Toto Wolff’s visible frustration during qualifying at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix shows stress levels are rising at Mercedes

Anthony Davidson said: “If the Mercedes have this speed all day today in the Sprint, then we should expect them to go forward and forward in the field.”

“With the help of DRS, you can make overtaking possible. Hopefully these new cars will adapt and live up to that expectation, but I certainly hope that Ferrari and Red Bull will be the ones to beat in the race.”

Naomi Schiff added: “Mercedes had a very sad day yesterday, they didn’t look too bad out there.”

“Their fuel loads could have been good, they could have had the right tires at the right time, but I think we’ll see something from them today.”

Emilia Romagna GP practice two time sheet

Driver Team Weather
1) George Russell Mercedes 1:19,457
2) Sergio Perez Red Bull +0.081
3) Carlos Leclerc ferrari +0.283
4) Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +0.535
5) Fernando Alonso Alpine +0.717
6) Carlos Sainz ferrari +0.801
7) Max Verstappen Red Bull +0.914
8) Yuki Tsunoda alpha tauri +0.924
9) Pierre Gasley alpha tauri +0.982
10) Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo +1,041
11) Alex Albon Williams +1,134
12) Kevin Magnussen Haas +1,283
13) Mick Schumacher Haas +1,520
14) Spear Walk Aston-Martin +1,692
15) Sebastian Vettel Aston-Martin +1,698
16) Esteban Ocon Alpine +1,722
17) Nicholas Latifi Williams +1,806
18) Lando Norris McLaren +4,364
19) Daniel Ricciardo McLaren there is no time
20) Valterri Bottas Alfa Romeo there is no time




Reference-www.skysports.com

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