FP1: Leclerc leads Sainz in soaked practice session ahead of qualifying


Championship leader Charles Leclerc beat Ferrari team mate Carlos Sainz to the fastest time in a wet opening practice for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

The Monegasque clocked a 1m 29.402s to finish 0.877s ahead of Sainz, as Ferrari commanded the session – Max Verstappen 1.465s off the pace in third.

As it’s the first F1 Sprint weekend of the year, this was the only practice session ahead of qualifying later on Friday, meaning drivers were keen to get out on track to gather data.

READ MORE: Ferrari opt to replace Sainz's engine for Imola Sprint weekend following Australia issues

Conditions were very tricky early on, with Ferrari’s Leclerc spinning twice on the full wet tyres. He then spun twice more when the track improved enough for intermediates.

Persistent rain gave F1 drivers a chance to test the 2022 machinery in wet conditions, with Lando Norris spinning and briefly bringing out the red flag, while Valtteri Bottas spun and beached his Alfa Romeo on his final lap.

Emilia-Romagna 2022

Practice 1 results

PositionTeam NameTime
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Haas excelled in the tricky conditions with Kevin Magnussen a superb fourth, albeit three seconds off the pace, with his team mate Mick Schumacher completing the top five.

Sergio Perez was sixth with Fernando Alonso, who is running Alpine’s new floor this weekend, seventh and Sebastian Vettel an encouraging eighth for Aston Martin.

READ MORE: Leclerc and Verstappen say they share mutual respect despite having 'hated' each other during karting days

Yuki Tsunoda was the leading AlphaTauri, which this weekend features a heavily revised floor, in ninth with Mercedes’ George Russell completing the top 10.

Bottas was 11th for Alfa Romeo, ahead of AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly, with Alpine driver Esteban Ocon – who had an engine change before the session – 12th.

Norris recovered to the pits after his spin into the gravel and ended the day with the 14th fastest time, one tenth clear of McLaren team mate Daniel Ricciardo.

FP1 Highlights: Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Lance Stroll was 16th, with Alex Albon seven seconds off the pace in the leading Williams. Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton left it very late to complete a lap on the intermediates and complained of tyre warm-up struggles on his way to 18th.

READ MORE: Hamilton is the 'captain' says Russell as he explains dynamic between Mercedes team mates

Zhou Guanyu was 19th for Alfa Romeo with Nicholas Latifi – who ran off track early in the session – completing the classification for Williams, 10.2s off top spot.

Qualifying for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix takes place at 1700 local time on Friday.

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