Max Verstappen takes pole for Imola sprint race as Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes continue to suffer

The weather played a major role in qualifying on Friday afternoon, as the session started with a cold but drying track – only then did rain set in again

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F1 Preview: A lap of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Max Verstappen benefited from a spell of rain to take pole position for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton was again unable to make an impression in qualifying.

Mercedes have been struggling for pace again so far this weekend, slowed down by a rain shower that prevented them from setting faster times in Q2. Both Hamilton and George Russell will start the sprint race on Saturday in the back half of the field as a result of another difficult session for the Silver Arrows.

In Q3, Verstappen benefited from setting the fastest time in front of a red flag, which allowed more rain to sweep across the track, making it difficult for the drivers to improve their times. It meant Charles Leclerc couldn’t catch his rival and starts second on Saturday afternoon.

Lando Norris secured third place after skidding after the restart, preventing qualifying from continuing and failing to beat his time. Kevin Magussen made it to fourth place with a brilliant result for haasduring Fernando Alonso will certainly be very satisfied with the fifth.

Daniel Ricciardo and Sergio Perez were behind them in sixth and seventh ahead of them Valtteri Bottas who ensured that he was back in Q3 this weekend. Sebastian Vettel impressed by putting his Aston Martin ahead of him in ninth place Carlo Sainz who didn’t set a time after a crash in Q2.

Max Verstappen secured pole position


XPB images/PA images)

The session ended in less than three minutes if Alexander Albanthe rear wheel was stuck Fire and exploded. He was able to pit, but the small explosion caused debris from his car to scatter around the track – some small pieces were still burning – and so the red flags were waved.

It wasn’t long before Q1 resumed and almost suffered another huge scalp loss as Hamilton survived by just four thousandths of a second. His fortune went at the expense of the two AlphaTauri Drivers, however, like Yuki Tsunoda and Pierre Gasli was surprisingly unconvincing on the team’s home track.

There was a second red flag in Q2 when Sainz signed his newcomer Ferrari Contract by losing the rear of his car and hitting a tire wall. The contact wasn’t strong and the damage inflicted wasn’t too bad, but it was enough to ensure he’s further down the grid than he’d like.

Russell and Hamilton were split Michael sSchumacher who led his Haas to 12th place – perhaps a surprising result given how fast they looked in practice earlier in the day. Zhou Guanyu will start the sprint race in 14th place, ahead of him lance walk.

Sainz’ crash means he will start 10th as he didn’t set a time in Q3. Another red flag in this session, caused by a spin by Magnussen, caused further delay as another wave of rain hit, wetting the track and making it difficult for the drivers to improve on the times already set.

The final note came from Norris, who straddled just 38 seconds from the end of the session. Since there wasn’t enough time for a restart, this meant the end of qualifying and it ended well for them McLaren Man, as it meant nobody could knock him out of the top three.

Results of the qualification for the Grand Prix of Emilia Romagna

  1. Max Verstappen – Red Bull
  2. Charles Leclerc Ferrari
  3. Lando Norris-McLaren
  4. Kevin Magnussen-Haas
  5. Fernando Alonso – Alpine
  6. Daniel Ricciardo-McLaren
  7. Sergio Perez – Red Bull
  8. Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo
  9. Sebastian Vettel – Aston Martin
  10. Carlos Sainz Ferrari
  11. George Russell Mercedes
  12. Mick Schumacher Haas
  13. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
  14. Zhou Guanyu-Alfe Romeo
  15. Lance Stroll- Aston Martin
  16. Yuki Tsunoda – Alpha Tauri

  17. Pierre Gasly – AlphaTauri

  18. Nicholas Latifi-Williams
  19. Esteban Ocon – Alpine
  20. Alex Albon Williams

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