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Formula 1 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix 2024

Leclerc at Friday Imola double as Verstappen's Red Bull woes continue

Charles Leclerc was fastest in the second Free Practice session ahead of the 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Leclerc Imola FP1
To news overview © XPBimages

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc completed a Friday double sweep in practice for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, armed with the latest upgrades. 

After topping FP1 from Mercedes' George Russell, Leclerc set the fastest time of the weekend thus far with a 1:15.906s to top the times from Oscar Piastri and surprise package Yuki Tsunoda,  as Max Verstappen continued to struggle for Red Bull. 

The world champion was only seventh fastest, over half-a-second slower than Leclerc's pace-setting time as he struggled to find a balance and enough grip from his RB20 machine, as Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton enjoyed a fruitful session on his way to fourth place, but it Leclerc who heads into Saturday on the front-foot and favourite for a home pole position for Ferrari.

Result Free practice 2 - Emilia Romagna

# Driver Team Time Tyre
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Initially, Verstappen reported a better balance aboard his #1 machine, and set the fastest time on the medium tyres, although it was quickly bettered by Tsunoda, who followed up sixth in FP1 with a strong start. 

Mercedes opted for a different strategy, and used the hard tyres for their opening runs as George Russel got ahead of Hamilton with Leclerc topping the times 0.003s ahead of Carlos Sainz in the sister Ferrari, and Verstappen also within a tenth. 

After the switch to the soft C5 compound Pirelli tyres, Russell posted the first time, shaving 0.4s off his best effort, but still ended up behind the leading trio who were still on the mediums in fourth place. 

McLaren's Lando Norris did look set to assume the lead of the times after going purple through the first two sectors of the lap, but a mistake in running wide at Turn 18 led to him aborting the lap and diving for the pits, ultimately leaving him in 12th and the only driver not to set a low-fuel soft tyre time. 

Leclerc then came through and posted a 1:15.969s to re-assume top spot, pulling out nearly 0.4s on Sainz who had a poor first lap. 

Drivers were able to push for a second flying lap on the same tyre, as Leclerc reduced his time by 0.063s to set the 1:15.906s that would see him top the session from Piastri, 0.192s behind in the McLaren as Tsunoda pipped Hamilton to third by 0.011s, although the RB racer is under investigation for a practice start infringement.

Russell took fifth and Sainz sixth, as Verstappen complained of car balance issues and overcame a block from an apologetic Hamilton at Turn 6 for seventh with Perez eighth as he also suffered a late off at Turn 18, running through the gravel.

			© Red Bull Content Pool
	© Red Bull Content Pool

Gasly spins

Elsewhere, Nico Hulkenberg and Fernando Alonso used the big Haas and Aston Martin upgrades to snare top 10 slots, with Daniel Ricciardo 11th, nearly eight-tenths slower than Tsunoda.

Norris was 12th, ahead of Lance Stroll, Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly, who suffered an early spin in the Alpine as Valtteri Bottas and Kevin Magnusse slotted in 16th and 17th. 

Williams was slow to start the session following Alex Albon's grinding to a halt in FP1 with both his car and that of Logan Sargeant not joining the track immediately.

Williams allayed concerns, pointing to it as part of the normal run plan, as they took 18th and 20th, with Zhou Guanyu the Stake in the Williams sandwich in 19th. 

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