Leclerc and Ferrari in another world in Imola practice


Charles Leclerc and Ferrari took their 2022 package to another level in the opening hour of running in Imola finishing 1.4 seconds ahead of the nearest team Red Bull.

Championship leader Leclerc started the session with a lot of understeer and then a spin just on his out lap alone. A sign of risk with the speed yet to come.

Nicholas Latifi brought out a yellow flag 10 minutes into the session after running wide at the turn six hairpin complaining that the car “Keeps going into anti-stall” whilst locking both front tyres heading in to the corner.

Mistakes very quickly became the precedent for the session as this was the only practice session the teams get before setup is locked for the weekend and likely to be the only wet day of the weekend.

Imola has a sprint race on Saturday and qualifying on Friday hence the one session for sorting the setup of the cars leaving the teams with a lot to learn in very little time.

Leclerc had another spin at Acqua Minerale proposing a fast but risky start to the weekend as he topped the timesheet but looked on the edge whilst doing so.

The Aston Martin pair of Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel were the first to try the intermediate tyre with mixed fortunes. Vettel continually improved working his way up the timesheet whereas Stroll struggled to keep the car on track.

Another 10 minutes had passed before others started to follow suit which saw Carlos Sainz Jr. go initially 1.7 seconds faster than second place Sergio Perez before building that gap to 2.8 seconds making the intermediate tyre clearly the tyre to be on.

Leclerc did not have the initial impact his teammate had after having his third spin of the session on the exit of turn three before going fastest a lap later. Sainz then topped his time again making Ferrari look very strong early on this weekend.

The championship leader was certainly fast but on the edge at the same time as a fourth trip off the track came his way on the next lap.

Ferrari appear to be in a world of their own with some cars in the drying conditions still five to six seconds off the pace. Something not seen or expected in many years after a rule shake up to make the racing closer than in previous years.

Lando Norris stunted the end of the session due to spinning at Acqua Minerale and bringing out a red flag with the season resuming with three minutes to go.

Valtteri Bottas ended the session nearly in the carrier after following suit of what Norris had done five minutes earlier which ended the session with the two Ferrari drivers clear of the field with both Haas’ in P4 and P5 adding to the Ferrari powers strength.

Final Standings:

1 – Leclerc.  2 – Sainz.  3 – Verstappen.  4 – Magnussen.  5 – Schumacher.  6 – Perez.

7 – Alonso.   8 – Vettel.   9 – Tsunoda.   10 – Russell.   11 – Bottas.   12 – Gasly.   13 – Ocon.

14 – Norris.   15 – Ricciardo.   16 – Stroll.   17 – Albon.   18 – Hamilton.   19 – Zhou.   20 – Latifi.

Follow us on Twitter @ProstInt


About Author

Comments are closed.