Verstappen hits trouble, Leclerc crashes, Mercedes fastest

Valtteri Bottas pips Lewis Hamilton to the fastest time of Practice Two with Max Verstappen sidelined by technical issues; Pierre Gasly close third for AlphaTauri, with Ferrari also quick before late Leclerc crash; Saturday’s Imola action starts at 10am live on Sky Sports F1

Last Updated: 16/04/21 3:43pm

1:04
Max Verstappen stopped his Red Bull on track, not the start to this session he had in mind
Max Verstappen stopped his Red Bull on track, not the start to this session he had in mind

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen hit technical problems and missed the majority of second practice at Imola as Valtteri Bottas led Lewis Hamilton in a Mercedes one-two on the Emilia-Romagna GP timesheet.

Friday’s running at Imola continued to produce drama into the afternoon session, with Verstappen’s issue the most significant of the opening day with the Dutchman restricted to just five laps in P2 with what the team suspect was a broken driveshaft.

Ferrari showed promising pace in fourth and fifth but Charles Leclerc crashed on his final run of the day at the second Rivazza.

1:25
It was an unfortunate end to Charles Leclerc’s session as the Ferrari driver hits the wall during Practice Two
It was an unfortunate end to Charles Leclerc’s session as the Ferrari driver hits the wall during Practice Two

Bottas, who claimed pole on F1’s last visit to Imola in November, pipped team-mate Hamilton to the fastest time of the session by 0.010s with a best lap of 1:15.551.

“So much better than Bahrain,” said Mercedes boss Toto Wolff to Sky F1. “I’m really happy to see that.”

1:18
F1 nose cam! Ride onboard around the Imola circuit with Valtteri Bottas during Practice Two ahead of the Emilia-Romagna GP
F1 nose cam! Ride onboard around the Imola circuit with Valtteri Bottas during Practice Two ahead of the Emilia-Romagna GP

Impressively, AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly – who qualified fourth here five months ago – was also within a tenth of a second of the lead Mercedes on the soft tyres.

Carlos Sainz was the quicker of the two Ferraris in fourth at the start of his second race weekend for the Italian team, with Leclerc lapping half a second adrift before his crash. Leclerc, however, did have a quicker lap time outlawed for track limits.

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez and Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, meanwhile, returned to the track and completed trouble-free sessions after their morning collision.

Perez was sixth but eight tenths off the leading pace. Former world champions Fernando Alonso (13th for Alpine) and Sebastian Vettel (15th for Aston Martin) were behind their respective team-mates out of the top 10.

Mercedes back on the up in cooler Europe climes

2:29
Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have had a positive start ahead of the Emilia Romagna GP.
Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have had a positive start ahead of the Emilia Romagna GP.

Although they ultimately triumphed over Red Bull at F1’s exciting season-opener three weeks ago, Mercedes remained adamant that their rivals edge a pace edge and were therefore wary about what would be in store at Imola.

Verstappen’s early exit made direct afternoon comparisons impossible, but Mercedes were clearly happy with the W12’s initial performance.

Wolff said: “The car seemed together this morning and in the afternoon.

“Probably the temperatures help a little bit because that is where we were suffering particularly in Bahrain.”

Verstappen said the lost session had put the team on the back foot “a little bit” but “you know what you have to do anyway, so it should be alright”.

Emilia-Romagna GP Practice Two Timesheet

Driver Team Time
1) Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:15.551
2) Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +0.010
3) Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri +0.078
4) Carlos Sainz Ferrari +0.283
5) Charles Leclerc Ferrari +0.820
6) Sergio Perez Red Bull +0.860
7) Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri +0.868
8) Lando Norris McLaren +0.934
9) Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo +0.962
10) Lance Stroll Aston Martin +1.186
11) Esteban Ocon Alpine +1.266
12) Nicholas Latifi Williams +1.272
13) Fernando Alonso Alpine +1.284
14) Max Verstappen Red Bull +1.448
15) Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin +1.541
16) George Russell Williams +1.628
17) Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo +1.722
18) Daniel Ricciardo McLaren +1.730
19) Mick Schumacher Haas +1.799
20) Nikita Mazepin Haas +2.306

Source : Sky Sports