In the run-up to the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, the pole position for the first sprint race of the F1 season 2022 is for Max Verstappen.
The Dutchman was too fast for rival Charles Leclerc under the bad weather conditions. With his time of 1:27.999, the Ferrari driver was 0.779 seconds short of the Dutchman. Lando Norris who took care of the last code red had the third time behind his name.
Qualifying was interrupted several times by red flags caused by various incidents.
The qualifying session at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari started with Alfa Romeo driver Guanzy Zhou starting on slicks. Nicholas Latifi was now also on his way in the Williams. The first times on the board were noted. Lewis Hamilton led the field in a time of 1:27.214 but was soon overtaken by Aston Martin drivers Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel, of which Stroll was the faster in 1:23.419
While Max Verstappen was third behind Valtteri Bottas, Alex Albon experienced a perilous moment. The Williams driver had an exploding brake disc, causing a code red. The track clutter was cleared and the signal went green for the remainder of the session with 12 minutes to go.
Times again changed quickly at the front of the field, the new fastest man of the moment was Fernando Alonso, but the Spaniard’s time was quickly wiped out by the Ferrari drivers. Carlos Sainz took the lead in 1:20.319 ahead of Charles Leclerc. The Monegask was referred back to P3 by Max Verstappen. The difference from the Dutchman to the Spaniard was 0.030 seconds.
With 5 minutes left on the clock, leclerc improved to the fastest time in 1:19.545, Sainz dropped to P2 ahead of Lando Norris who overtook Verstappen. Zhou closed the top 5 at the expense of McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo.
The battle for P5 was in full swing when Fernando Alonso took it, leaving Zhou behind. The last two minutes were tense at the top of the field. Leclerc trumped Verstappen with the fastest time. The Monegask was half a second faster than the Dutchman in 1:18.796. Sainz followed in P3 ahead of Zhou. Perez drove to P5 and kept Ricciardo behind. Mercedes barely made it through Q1 Lewis Hamilton was fifteenth, George Russel was good for P12.
In addition to Alex Albon, the curtain fell in Q1 for Esteban Ocon, Nicholas Latifi, Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda.
Results Q1 Grand Prix Emilia Romagna
The second qualifying session started with Mercedes being the first on track under threat of rain.
The first time on the board appeared after Carlos Sainz’s name in 1:18.990. Lando Norris drove to P2 followed by Sebastian vettel. Sainz was unable to hold on to P1 for the time being as Max Verstappen went under in 1:18.793. Perez positioned himself in P4 ahead of Leclerc.
With 10 minutes to go, the red flag was raised due to a crash by Carlos Sainz. The Ferrari driver was unharmed despite hitting the wall. Meanwhile the rain came down, this would be disadvantageous for Mercedes as Lewis Hamilton was 13th behind Mick Schumacher. George Russell was at the time in 12th fastest time behind Valtteri Bottas.
The light went green again but with no action on the track due to the rain. Sebastian Vettel came out on track in the final minutes, as did Charles Leclerc. times were no longer changed so that Verstappen went on to Q3 with the fastest time of 1:18.793
His crash prevented Sainz from competing for pole position, except the Spaniard also had to retire Lance Stroll, Guanzy Zhou, Lewis Hamilton, Mick Schumacher and George Russell. for Mercedes, it had not happened since the Japanese Grand Prix in 2012 that the team did not advance to Q3.
Results Q2 Grand Prix Emilia Romagna
The visors closed and the cars got ready for the fight for pole position. Alpine driver Fernando Alonso led the field. Rivals Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen were also on their way. Kevin Magnussen slid off the track and caused the third code red. However, the Dane was able to get his Haas car back on track and return to the garage. Just over 8 minutes left on the clock
The lights went green again and the first time in 1:30.035 was set by Kevin Magnussen. Valtteri Bottas followed in P2 but Lando Norris passed Magnussen. Times changed when Charles Leclerc set the fastest time for Max Verstappen in 1:28.778. In a second attempt, the current world champion managed to improve Leclerc’s time to 1:27.999. While Verstappen was setting the fastest time, Valtteri Bottas parked his Alfa Romeo in the grass, again giving a code red with just under three minutes left on the clock.
Contrary to expectations, the entire field took to the track when it was released again. The two ruffs, Leclerc and Verstappen led the field in the final phase of qualifying. Despite the bad track conditions, the Dutchman gave full throttle while Lando Norris raised the next red flag. The Briton stood against the wall with his McLaren. The session had 38 seconds left on the clock, but this was too little to attack Verstappen’s fastest time.
As a result, the Dutchman will start on pole position in the first sprint race of the season with a time of 1:27.999. Charles Leclerc had to settle for second fastest time for the troubled Lando Norris.
Results Q3 Grand Prix Emilia Romagna