George Russell finishes first ahead of Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc in the final practice session at Imola; watch the Emilia Romagna Sprint GP live on Sky Sports F1 from 2.30pm on Saturday
By Sam Johnston at Imola
Last update: 04/23/22 2:33 p.m.
George Russell set the fastest time in Practice 2 of the Emilia-Romagna GP as Mercedes showed signs of improvement ahead of Saturday’s Sprint.
Russell finished ahead of Sergio Perez’s Red Bull and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, with Lewis Hamilton’s other Mercedes fourth.
With qualifying taking place on Friday before the first Sprint of the season, the teams had to focus solely on their race settings in the final practice session.
It remains to be seen whether Mercedes were content to try a more racy set-up than their rivals in the first dry conditions of the weekend at Imola, or whether the Silver Arrows have actually gained ground after their start to the season. disappointing.
Mick Schumacher and Charles Leclerc soar over the curbs during Emilia-Romagna GP practice
Max Verstappen, who will start the Sprint at the front of the grid after beating Leclerc on pole in Friday’s wet track qualifying, finished seventh.
There was great concern for McLaren, who were unable to field Daniel Ricciardo due to a problem, while Lando Norris, who starts third in the sprint, had his track time limited by a brake problem. as he finished the slowest among the drivers who posted lap times.
The only other car that failed to make it to the track is Valtteri Bottas’ Alfa Romeo, with the technical problem that forced it to stop in qualifying on Friday but has yet to be fixed.
Team principal Andreas Seidl said McLaren would be “ok” with the sprint race, despite car problems for Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris.
Carlos Sainz, who is under pressure after crashing in qualifying in front of Italian Ferrari fans, finished sixth, behind Fernando Alonso’s Alpine.
Di Resta: Mercedes can’t be so encouraged
While Russell and Hamilton’s positions on the timesheet were encouraging, the unknown nature of car configurations and fuel loads in practice leaves major doubt as to whether this was a step forward. significant.
It must also be considered that the parc-ferme conditions the cars were placed in between qualifying and the Sprint meant that only limited adjustments could be made during P2.
Lewis Hamilton takes an off-road trip during Emilia-Romagna GP practice
The Sky Sports F1 team offered a series of assessments, with Paul Di Resta’s cautious view impacted by the severe graining of the Mercedes rear tires highlighted by Ted Kravitz during the session.
“You can’t be so encouraged,” Di Resta said. “He [Russell] used DRS.
“Of course Mercedes are going to be stronger, they get the tires working – I think that’s the most important thing, but if you look at the rear grain it shows a car going out the window.
“They have work to do. Analyze, bring that data back to the factory, find new solutions. Being stuck in these park-farm conditions, you just have to explore what you can.”
Nico Rosberg says Toto Wolff’s visible frustration in Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix qualifying shows stress levels are rising at Mercedes
Anthony Davidson said: “If the Mercedes has this speed all day today in the Sprint then we should expect it to progress and work its way through the field.
“With the help of DRS you can make overtaking possible. Hopefully these new cars will come into their own and live up to that expectation, but I certainly expect Ferrari and Red Bull to be the ones to race.”
Naomi Schiff added: “Yesterday Mercedes had a very dismal day, they didn’t look too bad there.
“Their fuel loads could have been good, they could have been on the right tires at the right time, but I think we will see something from them today.”
Emilia-Romagna GP second practice time sheet
|1) George Russell||mercedes||1:19.457|
|2) Sergio Perez||Red Bull||+0.081|
|3) Charles 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 Gasly||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) Start the walk||Aston Martin||+1.692|
|15) Sebastien 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 Ricardo||McLaren||no time|
|20) Valterri Bottas||Alfa Romeo||no time|