WhatsApp Logo Subscribe
For News Alert

News

Leclerc on top for Ferrari in opening practice

By AFP

May 17, 2024 09:57 PM


Twitter Share Facebook Share WhatsApp Share

Charles Leclerc topped the times for Ferrari in Friday’s opening free practice at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, finishing a busy session one-tenth of a second clear of nearest rival George Russell of Mercedes.

Driving his revised Ferrari with confidence and determination, Leclerc clocked a best lap in one minute and 16.990 seconds to finish ahead of Russell and Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz in third at the team’s geographical ‘home’ circuit, 50 kilometres from Maranello.

Sergio Perez was fourth for Red Bull ahead of championship-leading team-mate and three-time world champion Max Verstappen, Yuki Tsunoda for RB and seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton in the second Mercedes.

Both Verstappen and Hamilton had troubled sessions with the Dutchman wrestling often with his car to keep it on the asphalt.

McLaren’s Lando Norris, maiden winner of the race in Miami two weeks ago, was eighth ahead of team-mate Lando Norris and two-time champion Fernado Alonso of Aston Martin.

The session began in warm and dry conditions on a beautiful day in the rolling vineyards of Emilia Romagna that envelop the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari. Russell, buoyed by hopes of a forthcoming Mercedes revival, set the early pace ahead of Hamilton with Vertappen third before Tsunoda took top spot for RB.

The times tumbled rapidly as the drivers, back at Imola for the first time in two years following last year’s cancellation due to flooding, with Verstappen swapping best laps with Russell and both Ferrari men before Leclerc regained the ascendancy.

The Monegasque clocked 1:16.990 to go clear before Hamilton clipped a kerb and spun back into the fray and Verstappen, with six minutes to go, went off and crossed the grass at Variente Alta after complaining "I have no grip there".

British teenager Oliver Bearman, who impressed when he replaced appendicitis victim Sainz in Saudi Arabia at short notice, drove with consistency in 15th place as a replacement – for the session only – for Haas’s Kevin Magnussen.

For Bearman, it was an opportunity to impress in a bid to prove his potential to replace Nico Hulkenberg who is set to join Sauber next year ahead of Audi’s racing takeover.

It was less satisfying for Alex Albon, who had signed a long-term contract with Williams earlier in the week, as his car shut down after 20 minutes to trigger a red flag intervention.

Verstappen spent much of the session complaining about lack of grip in his heavily revised car which carried updates to its floor, front wing and rear bodywork – just one of many drivers struggling to adapt to cars carrying major update sessions.


AFP


Most Read

  1. FJMU celebrates approval of four gynecology sub-specialties FJMU celebrates approval of four gynecology sub-specialties
  2. ‘Officially a mom-in-law’: Iffat Omar announces daughter’s engagement ‘Officially a mom-in-law’: Iffat Omar announces daughter’s engagement
  3. Bangladesh death toll reaches 105 as govt struggle to quell urest Bangladesh death toll reaches 105 as govt struggle to quell urest
  4. Lahore tram project gets Maryam Nawaz's approval Lahore tram project gets Maryam Nawaz's approval
  5. Woman kidnaps anti-feminist Khalilur Rehman Qamar, FIR registered Woman kidnaps anti-feminist Khalilur Rehman Qamar, FIR registered
  6. Danish Taimoor and Hiba Bukhari's intimate scene from ‘Jaan Nisar’ provokes serious debate Danish Taimoor and Hiba Bukhari's intimate scene from ‘Jaan Nisar’ provokes serious debate