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Verstappen bounces back to top Imola final practice

Verstappen bounces back to top Imola final practice

F1 News

Verstappen bounces back to top Imola final practice

Verstappen bounces back to top Imola final practice

Max Verstappen bounced back from a difficult Friday at Imola to set the fastest time in final practice for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Verstappen suffered a driveshaft failure in the second of the two Friday sessions but set a blistering pace on Saturday morning with an effort 0.456secs faster than second-placed Lando Norris.

After topping both practice sessions on Friday, Valtteri Bottas was only eighth fastest for Mercedes with team-mate Lewis Hamilton third, 0.557s behind Verstappen in a session that saw a sharp focus placed on track limits.

Following a discussion in the drivers meeting, FIA race director Michael Masi issued a revised ruling on how track limits would be policed for the remainder of the weekend.

The changes included the removal of policing at the apex of turn 13 and an extension of the limits on the exit of turn 15 to include the red, white and green kerbing.

Limits, however, had not been extended at turn nine and it was this corner that provided a constant challenge to drivers with 22 lap times being deleted, 19 of which were for violations at this corner.

Three-quarters of the field saw at least one time deleted, including both Mercedes and Red Bull drivers, with Kimi Raikkonen and Nikita Mazepin the worst offenders with three times deleted.

Sergio Perez backed up the strong pace of Verstappen by setting the fourth-fastest time whilst the Ferrari pairing of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz performing well in fifth and seventh respectively.

Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon were ninth and tenth for a recovering Alpine team with Yuki Tsunoda 11th, five places behind his AlphaTauri team-mate Pierre Gasly.

It was another difficult session for Aston Martin with Lance Stroll 12th and Sebastian Vettel only 14th.

Nicholas Latifi struggled for Williams and, despite setting the 17th fastest time, blotted his copybook by causing red flags to fly by crashing at the Villeneuve chicane halfway through the session.

Emilia Romagna GP 3rd practice timings

1. Max Verstappen [Red Bull] 1:14.958s

2. Lando Norris [McLaren] 1:15.414s

3. Lewis Hamilton [Mercedes] 1:15.515s

4. Sergio Perez [Red Bull] 1:15.551s

5. Charles Leclerc [Ferrari] 1:15.738s

6. Pierre Gasly [AlphaTauri] 1:15.890s

7. Carlos Sainz [Ferrari] 1:15.908s

8. Valtteri Bottas [Mercedes] 1:15.908s

9. Fernando Alonso [Alpine] 1:16.186s

10. Esteban Ocon [Alpine] 1:16.228s

11. Yuki Tsunoda [AlphaTauri] 1:16.230s

12. Lance Stroll [Aston Martin] 1:16.245s

13. Daniel Ricciardo [McLaren] 1:16.253s

14. Sebastian Vettel [Aston Martin] 1:16.389s

15. George Russell [Williams] 1:16.427s

16. Mick Schumacher [Haas] 1:16.448s

17. Nicholas Latifi [Williams] 1:16.537s

18. Antonio Giovinazzi [Alfa Romeo] 1:16.612s

19. Kimi Raikkonen [Alfa Romeo] 1:16.803s

20. Nikita Mazepin [Haas] 1:17.398s

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