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F1 | Emilia Romagna GP | Verstappen beats Leclerc to pole as Sainz crashes; Russell and Hamilton out in Q2

In a crazy qualifying session disrupted by five red flags, it was World Champion Max Verstappen who took pole position.

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F1 | Emilia Romagna GP | Verstappen beats Leclerc to pole as Sainz crashes; Russell and Hamilton out in Q2
Fuente imagen: Red Bull Content Pool

Rain on Thursday and during the night left the Imola track soaked for FP1. While it remained cold and cloudy, the track slowly dried out ahead of qualifying.


Seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton logged the first time of qualifying on a 1:27.214 using inters, followed by the Alfas on softs and teammate Russell on inters.

Soon the dries were quicker as Stroll posted a 1:23.419, 3.125s in front of Vettel. Bottas improved to second on his next lap, 1.174s adrift of the Canadian.

The session was red flagged with 12 minutes left on the clock as Alex Albon’s right rear brake caught fire, ultimately leading to damage and his tyre exploding as he limped back to the pits.

Stroll, Bottas, Verstappen, Alonso, Vettel, Perez, Hamilton, Zhou, Russell and Ocon were the only drivers to set a time before the red flag.

After they returned to green flag conditions, Ocon’s 1:23.240 put him P1 for a short time.

The Ferraris quickly asserted their authority, with Sainz’s 1:20.319 putting him 0.271s ahead of Leclerc. Norris was the only other car within a second of them following their first attempts. Verstappen joined in with six minutes to go as he went P2, 0.030s away from the Spaniard.

A 1:19.545 from Leclerc on his second attempt put him 0.015s in front of Sainz. Zhou Guanyu put in a storming lap to go P5 with less than three minutes left.

Hamilton, Vettel, Ocon, Latifi and Albon was the bottom five with 90 seconds remaining, with Russell in P15.

A 1:18.796 from Leclerc topped the session by almost half a second from Verstappen. Sainz, an incredibly impressive Zhou Guanyu, Perez and Ricciardo completed the top 6.

It was a difficult Q1 for Mercedes as Russell (P12) and Hamilton (P15) narrowly made it through to Q2. A mere 0.132s covered P10 to P16.

The seven-time World Champion survived by 0.004s as Yuki Tsunoda came unbelievably close to knocking out the Brit.

Joining Tsunoda in exiting at the end of Q1 was Gasly, Latifi, Ocon [who didn’t get to run at the end of the session as the track continued to dry] and the unlucky Albon.


Carlos Sainz’s 1:18.990 was the first time of Q2 as the Spaniard improved immediately on his Q1 time. A purple middle sector from Max Verstappen saw the Dutchman lower the benchmark to a 1:18.793.

A second red flag in qualifying was required as Carlos Sainz lost the rear end coming into the final corner and hit the wall, breaking his left front suspension and seeing his session end.

The top 10 when the red flag got thrown was Verstappen, Sainz, Norris, Perez, Leclerc, Alonso, Magnussen, Vettel, Ricciardo and Bottas.

As rain fell during the red flag period, it started to wet the track again and left the bottom five of Russell, Schumacher, Hamilton, Zhou and Stroll stuck in the garage unable to improve.

Both Mercedes' dropping out in Q2 is the first time the Brackley-based team has failed to reach Q3 with one of their cars since the 2012 Japanese Grand Prix.


A third red flag session was needed at the start of the final segment of qualifying as Kevin Magnussen touched the white lines before the entry to 12.

The Dane spun but brilliantly managed to avoid the barriers or getting stuck in the gravel trap. He got out and recovered to the pits.

When the session resumed, Magnussen posted the opening flier of Q3 on a 1:30.036.

Ricciardo and Norris briefly put McLaren 1-2, before Leclerc and Verstappen took over, with 0.020s covering the 2022 rivals.

Verstappen went for a second consecutive push lap and banged in a 1:27.999 to go fastest by 0.779s from Leclerc. This was despite having to lift for yellow flags for a stricken Bottas.

It was upgraded to a red flag for Bottas as his car broke down and was forced to pull off between the Variante Alta and Rivazza.

Norris, Magnussen, Alonso, Ricciardo, Perez, Bottas, Vettel and Sainz [unable to take part] was the rest of the top 10 before the green flag was thrown with 2:58 to go.

Amazingly, there would be a fifth red flag as Lando Norris was the final driver to touch the white lines and hit the wall at T12.

Unlike Magnussen, he couldn’t recover the car and the session came to an early end. It meant no driver could improve.

Verstappen will start from pole for tomorrow’s sprint. It’s the Dutchman’s first pole of 2022, too. World Championship leader Charles Leclerc joins his fierce rival on the front row. Lando Norris completed the top three.

Kevin Magnussen scored Haas’ best ever starting grid spot as he qualified a superb 4th.

Alonso, Ricciardo, Perez, Bottas, Vettel and Sainz complete the top 10 for tomorrow’s sprint event.

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