Leclerc fastest at Imola

Leclerc fastest at Imola

On his Ferrari, Charles Leclerc set the best time in the first free practice session for the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix, ahead of George Russell and Carlos Sainz Jr.

Canceled last year due to floods which hit the region hard and caused the death of fourteen people, the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix returns to the calendar this season. This Friday, the sun was out, and it was Charles Leclerc who was the fastest during the first free practice session on the Imola circuit. The Ferrari driver achieved the best time after 38 minutes of session, on soft tires, and no one managed to dislodge him from first place. He signed one of his 30 laps in 1’16″990, ahead of Briton George Russell (Mercedes) by 104 thousandths and his Spanish teammate Carlos Sainz Jr by 130 thousandths.

The vast majority of the best laps were done on soft tires during this session which saw reserve driver Oliver Bearman replace Kevin Magnussen at Haas, as required by the regulations (rookie drivers must participate in two free practice sessions during the season). The Red Bull drivers complete the Top 5, Sergio Perez ahead of triple world champion Max Verstappen by seven thousandths. Lando Norris, the surprise winner of the Miami Grand Prix two weeks ago at the wheel of the Mercedes, finished eighth, just behind his teammate Lewis Hamilton. On the French side, Pierre Gasly, who complained about his Alpine, finished eleventh and Esteban Ocon 14th.

Albon causes a red flag

This session was not marked by any major incidents, even if Alexander Albon saw his Williams stop suddenly after running over a curb. Badly placed a corner, he caused a red flag for eight minutes, the time to evacuate his car.

Many drivers also “gardened” at Imola, and not the least. Max Verstappen made two mistakes, while Lewis Hamilton was the victim of a spin without consequence. The second free practice session will start at 5:00 p.m.

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