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Verstappen suffers more Italy misery as Mercedes dominate Imola practice

Verstappen suffers more Italy misery as Mercedes dominate Imola practice

F1 News

Verstappen suffers more Italy misery as Mercedes dominate Imola practice

Verstappen suffers more Italy misery as Mercedes dominate Imola practice

Max Verstappen's tale of woe in Italy continued ahead of this weekend's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix as Mercedes dominated Friday practice at Imola.

In eight visits to Italy, Verstappen has never finished higher than fifth, while in three races in the country last year - Monza, Mugello and Imola - he retired in them all.

Verstappen, who finished just 0.058s behind Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas in first practice, managed just five laps in the second hour-long session after declaring that "something snapped at the rear of the car".

Red Bull's Friday practice had earlier been affected in the first session when Sergio Perez was involved in a collision with Alpine's Esteban Ocon that ended their time on track with 22 minutes remaining.

In light of what is a driveshaft issue for Verstappen, it was a Friday to forget for Red Bull who came into the weekend as favourites given its performance in the season-opening race in Bahrain.

With FP2 the most crucial of the three practice sessions going into the race when the teams conduct a lot of running in preparation for Sunday's event, Red Bull and Verstappen will now be shy of data.

The Dutch driver eventually finished 14th on the timesheet, 1.448secs behind Bottas who edged team-mate Lewis Hamilton by just 0.010s as the W12 suggested its stability and pace issues in pre-season and Bahrain were easing.

Bottas' lap, though, was set on the medium tyre compared to the softs for Hamilton.

AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly was a superb third on the timesheet, 0.078s adrift, with team-mate Yuki Tsunoda seventh, albeit eight-tenths of a second further back.

Sandwiched in between the pair were Ferrari duo Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc, while Perez was sixth as he acquired some meaningful running following the early curtailment of his FP1.

Leclerc, though, blotted his copybook as he brought out the red flags with a crash into a barrier with four minutes remaining at the final corner of Rivazza 2.

McLaren's Lando Norris, Antonio Giovinazzi in his Alfa Romeo and Aston Martin's Lance Stroll completed the top 10, with the latter 1.186s down.

Ocon and Williams' Nicholas Latifi were 11th and 12th quickest, the latter performing strongly so far after a solid FP1 showing.

Verstappen sandwiched two champions in Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel who were 13th and 15th respectively, with George Russell 16th in his Williams ahead of another title-winner in Kimi Raikkonen in his Alfa Romeo.

McLaren's Daniel Ricciardo was a lowly 18th on the medium tyre as his soft-tyre lap was deleted for exceeding track limits, while Haas duo Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin brought up the rear.

Mazepin, following his spins in Bahrain and two more in first practice, managed only one minor off in FP2, finishing 2.306s behind Bottas and half-a-second down on Schumacher.

Emilia Romagna GP 2nd practice timings

1. Valtteri Bottas [Mercedes] 1:15.551s

2. Lewis Hamilton [Mercedes] 1:15.561

3. Pierre Gasly [Alpha Tauri] 1:15.629

4. Carlos Sainz [Ferrari] 1:15.834

5. Charles Leclerc [Ferrari] 1:16.371

6. Sergio Perez [Red Bull] 1:16.411

7. Yuki Tsunoda [Alpha Tauri] 1:16.419

8. Lando Norris [McLaren] 1:16.485

9. Antonio Giovinazzi [Alfa Romeo] 1:16.513

10. Lance Stroll [Aston Martin] 1:16.737

11. Esteban Ocon [Alpine] 1:16.817

12. Nicholas Latifi [Williams] 1:16.823

13. Fernando Alonso [Alpine] 1:16.835

14. Max Verstappen [Red Bull] 1:16.999

15. Sebastian Vettel [Aston Martin] 1:17.092

16. George Russell [Williams] 1:17.179

17. Kimi Raikkonen [Alfa Romeo] 1:17.273

18. Daniel Ricciardo [McLaren] 1:17.281

19. Mick Schumacher [Haas] 1:17.350

20. Nikita Mazepin [Haas] 1:17.857

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