Max third in Imola FP1

Published on 16 April 2021 by Stefan Meens

Max Verstappen clocked the third quickest time in the opening session of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola. Valtteri Bottas was quickest around the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari, with Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton in second.

At the start of the first free practice session, it is dry with a relatively cool ambient temperature of eleven degrees, with track surface temps doubling at 22 degrees.

The first driver out on track is Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi, quickly followed by most other drivers.

Five minutes into the session, the first yellow flags are waved; Nikita Mazepin has spun and has parked his Haas in the gravel traps. Luckily for the Russian, he is able to get out the gravel and drive back to the pits. A few minutes later, it is fellow rookie Yuki Tsunoda who has a small excursion through the gravel. Like his Russian colleague, the Japanese Alpha Tauri driver is able to resume his running unaided.

Meanwhile, Max has come out on track to clock his first timed laps. The Dutchman is sporting the hard Pirellis compound to set the third quickest time. By the halfway mark, the Red Bull Racing ace has dropped to fourth.

In the second half of the session, Max continues to be in the top four, occasionally topping the charts, before both Mercedes pip him to P1 in the dying seconds of the session. The front runners all use the soft tyres to complete their best efforts.

The final half an hour also saw two red flags. First, Esteban Ocon (Alpine) and Sergio Perez (Red Bull Racing) appear to have had contact on track resulting in both cars having damage. The Mexican’s RB16B has left rear damage with the Frenchman’s Alpine nursing issues at the right front.

The second red flag is right at the end of FP1 when Mazepin spins once again, this time hitting a wall at the pit entrance, signalling the end of the Friday morning session.

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Results first free practice Emilia-romagna:

1Valtteri BottasBOTMercedes1:16.564 23
2Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes1:16.605+0.041s25
3Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda1:16.622+0.058s21
4Charles LeclercLECFerrari1:16.796+0.232s13
5Pierre GaslyGASAlphaTauri Honda1:16.888+0.324s21
6Carlos SainzSAIFerrari1:16.888+0.324s26
7Fernando AlonsoALOAlpine Renault1:17.457+0.893s23
8Lance StrollSTRAston Martin Mercedes1:17.489+0.925s19
9Nicholas LatifiLATWilliams Mercedes1:17.739+1.175s24
10Daniel RicciardoRICMcLaren Mercedes1:17.769+1.205s23
11George RussellRUSWilliams Mercedes1:17.866+1.302s25
12Kimi RäikkönenRAIAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:17.883+1.319s16
13Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Mercedes1:17.935+1.371s16
14Sebastian VettelVETAston Martin Mercedes1:17.984+1.420s23
15Antonio GiovinazziGIOAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:18.058+1.494s24
16Sergio PerezPERRed Bull Racing Honda1:18.228+1.664s15
17Esteban OconOCOAlpine Renault1:18.360+1.796s20
18Nikita MazepinMAZHaas Ferrari1:18.823+2.259s22
19Mick SchumacherSCHHaas Ferrari1:19.480+2.916s18
20Yuki TsunodaTSUAlphaTauri Honda1:19.781+3.217s11