F1 Imola GP: Leclerc Tops FP2 While Verstappen Drops to Seventh

At the Formula 1 2024 Imola Grand Prix, Charles Leclerc dominated Friday practice. He also led an FP2 in which McLaren edged Ferrari and Red Bull’s problems with Max Verstappen persisted.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-24

Leclerc led the first part of Friday afternoon’s Formula One race and maintained the lead over the first part of the second 60-minute practice of the day, which saw the cars split between the medium and hard tyres.

During the mid-session qualifying simulation runs, Leclerc used a second pair of the red-walled rubber to blast to a session-topping 1m15.906s, setting the best time benchmark at 1m15.969s.

F1 live: Follow Imola GP practice as it happens | Live text | Motorsport.com

Lando Norris’s lone soft tire flyer began with two purple sectors before he raced too wide out of the two downhill Rivazza turns, perhaps putting McLaren ahead of Ferrari.

On the way out of the second corner, Norris dipped his right-side wheels into the gravel. He stamped on the brakes, abandoning his lap in the pits, only to come back later to finish the high-fuel running that usually wraps off FP2 action.

Oscar Piastri’s qualification simulation effort saw him catch up to Leclerc by 0.192s, while Yuki Tsunoda led RB and finished in third place.

F1 Imola GP 2024 LIVE: Practice results, times and updates as Charles  Leclerc records fastest lap | The Independent

Carlos Sainz was forced to pit in the other Ferrari after he experienced an off-track incident on his second flying lap at the Variante Alta, as Lewis Hamilton and George Russell improved with their second softs runs to take fourth and fifth place, respectively.

Around this time, Verstappen recorded his first softs flyer, placing him 0.541 seconds ahead of Leclerc’s final fastest time. The world champion was once again severely off-track in the middle sector, where he had faltered in FP2.

Verstappen furiously ended his second qualifying simulation run after he and teammate Sergio Perez, who finished eighth behind Verstappen’s actual position of seventh, saw Hamilton driving slowly through the Villeneuve chicane.

As Verstappen slashed over the Mercedes’ bow to express his rage and Hamilton raised his hand in remorse from his cockpit, Perez was closing in on the two as they approached Tosa, so he too withdrew.

After finishing his high-fuel run, Verstappen experienced an off-track situation in the gravel between the Rivazzas.

Because he didn’t finish his softs run, Norris placed 12th overall, behind Daniel Ricciardo in the other RB.