The first free practice session at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was concluded by Charles Leclerc. The Monegask set the fastest time on the wet track in 1:29.402.
Carlos Sainz followed his teammate in second while Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen finished the session in P3.
The signal went green to start training on the wet track, all teams took their time as no one wanted to take a risk. Still, proper rain adjustment wouldn’t be a bad idea. De Haas drivers Mick Schumacher and Kevin Magnussen cautiously started the race. The duo was followed by Valtteri Bottas in his Alfa Romeo.
The trio were the first to set a time on the board of which Bottas was fastest in 1:43.277, followed by Magnussen and Schumacher respectively. After fifteen minutes had passed, the top teams had also started the training session. Max Verstappen immediately recorded the fastest time, but this was improved one lap later by rival Charles Leclerc. The two seemed to exchange a penny, with Verstappen drawing the longest end with a time in 1:37.247.
The Dutchman was followed by Leclerc who in turn saw Bottas improve to P3. While the track seemed to be drying up, Verstappen sharpened his time again to 1:36.158. Now it was Carlos Sainz who set the second fastest time ahead of Alpha Tauri driver Yuki Tsunoda while the first 20 minutes had passed.
Carlos Sainz gave his Ferrari a lot of spurs, but teammate Leclerc had to pass in a time of 1:35.629. The Monegask was slightly faster than the Spaniard. However, the Ferrari drivers were pushed back one position by Sergio Perez who cut the fastest time of the moment to 1:35.476.
The first half hour had passed as many drivers plunged into the pits. Meanwhile, Sebastian Vettel had moved up to P4 in his Aston Martin on the intermediates. The German was 0.020 seconds faster than Verstappen.
While Verstappen had been in the garage for some time, more teams seemed to opt for the intermediate tire. Lando Norris was second on this rubber and followed Perez. The difference between the two drivers was 1 tenth of a second.
Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz seemed to have found his rhythm and set the fastest time of the moment in 1:33.606 ahead of Perez. Norris closed the top 3 for the time being at the expense of Leclerc. Stroll in turn had also improved his time and had the fifth fastest time. At that moment, Verstappen was on the road again. Leclerc had a tense moment but kept his car on track without any problems.
With the start of the last fifteen minutes of the practice session, Vettel improved his time and trumped Perez. Daniel Ricciardo also drove reasonable times and went to P6. the times changed quickly as Verstappen also sharpened his time and climbed up to P3. Vettel closed in P4 ahead of Perez.
Time was ticking steadily as with 12 minutes to go Carlos Sanz improved to 1:30.803. Leclerc drove for Verstappen behind the Spaniard. Kevin Magnussen now had the fourth fastest time at the expense of Vettel.
In the final phase of the training, Charles Leclerc was unbeatable with his time of 1:29.402 Sainz followed his teammate ahead of Verstappen. Behind the Dutchman Kevin Magnussen had the fourth fastest time ahead of Mick Schumacher who drove a solid training.
Land Norris caused a red flag situation, the McLaren driver was in the gravel at Turn 12. The Briton was able to return to the asphalt under his own power and drive towards the pits.
The session was flagged, enabling Charles Leclerc to advance to qualifying with the fastest time in 1:29.402. Carlos Sainz was half a second short of his teammate while Max Verstappen was third.
Results first free practice Emilia Romagna Grand Prix 2022, Imola
image © Scuderia Ferrari Press Office