Mercedes drivers Valterri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton produced quickest time in practice on Friday for the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix but Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc both had problems in the second session.
Bottas was in the fastest lap of the legendary Imola circuit in both sessions, but only 0.01 seconds ahead of team-mate Hamilton.
“We didn’t see the best of Red Bull today but we’ll see it in Q3 tomorrow. For sure they’ll be fast, “admitted Bottas.
Stream Italian-Made Formula 1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Live & On-Demand on Kayo. New to Kayo? Try 14-Days Free Now>
Meanwhile Daniel Ricciardo had a mixed day at his McLaren, finishing the first training session 10th – three places ahead of team-mate Lando Norris – but only 18th in the second session, where Norris rocketed to the top. eighth.
Ricciardo ruled out his fastest lap time for exceeding the track limit, but even that was only good enough for 11th.
Ricciardo said: “It’s really cool to be back on this track. This is very extraordinary. The day itself is a bit tough. We definitely have some things to work on overnight to get more out of the car.
“It was a challenging day, but we have a session tomorrow morning to find out before qualifying. We will try to solve today’s problems and put ourselves in a good position for tomorrow. “
Seven-time world champion Hamilton said he hoped Imola would like Mercedes more than Red Bull over the weekend.
“The team worked very hard to understand what happened in the last race where we were weak and to see if we can try to change the car for a better set-up,” he said.
“I also think the track is a bit more towards us.”
The pair were followed by Pierre Gasly from AlphaTauri and Ferraris from Carlos Sainz and Leclerc who hit the wall late in the second session, sparking red flags and the decision not to restart.
There is bad news for Red Bull as well as Verstappen is quitting due to mechanical problems.
“Something is happening in the back,” Verstappen told his team.
The Dutchman, who finished second behind Hamilton in the opening season of the Bahrain Grand Prix, previously recorded the third fastest time in the opening session behind two Mercedes.
The first session was also marked with two red flags.
A collision between Sergio Perez of Red Bull and Alpine at the Esteban Ocon, which went unnoticed, resulted in both cars off the track.
Perez, who was on the “flying” lap, according to his team boss Christian Horner, sustained a left rear tire damage while Ocon, on a “slow” lap, broke the front right front.
The drivers were called to the officers to explain the incident but no further action was taken.
“The two cars reached the top at the same time, and the wheels barely touched,” said the steward’s report.
“The two riders agreed in the trial that it was an unfortunate time communication error between them, not helped by the fact that the two riders had limited or no communication with their team at the time.
The two drivers agreed that nothing could go wrong.
They both returned to business for the second session with Perez clocking in the sixth fastest.
The morning’s second red flag came just before the end of the session after rookie Haas Nikita Mazepin went too wide into the corner and spun.
It was another unfortunate incident for the 22-year-old Russian. He failed to complete the opening laps in Bahrain and has been tagged with the nickname ‘Mazespin’.
Top 10 practice times after second session:
Valtteri Bottas (FIN / Mercedes) 1 minute 15,551 seconds,
2. Lewis Hamilton (GBR / Mercedes) at 0.01 seconds,
Pierre Gasly (FRA / AlphaTauri-Honda) 0.078,
4.Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP / Ferrari) 0.283,
5. Charles Leclerc (MON / Ferrari) 0.82,
6.Sergio Perez (MEX / Red Bull-Honda) 0.86,
7. Yuki Tsotaka (JPN / AlphaTauri-Honda) 0.868,
Lando Norris (GBR / McLaren-Mercedes) 0.934,
9. Antonio Giovinazzi (ITA / Alfa Romeo-Ferrari) 0.962,
10. Lance Stroll (CAN / Aston Martin-Mercedes) 1.186,