After a manic day of Practice on Friday, the drivers and teams returned to the track this morning in Imola for one final hour ahead of Qualifying at 1:00 pm.
Mercedes dominated both Practice sessions yesterday, coming away with the fastest laps, however, today the world champions didn’t have such luck with Hamilton third fastest followed by Bottas in eighth.
A number of issues slowed the charging bulls on Friday, however, Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez came back with a bang this morning, both landing impressive laps times throughout the session.
Verstappen came away quickest while Perez was fourth fastest when the timer ran out.
An exciting final hour 💪 Max tops FP3 with a 1:14.958 and Checo is P4 with a 1:15.551 ⏱ Bring on quali 👊 #ImolaGP 🇮🇹 pic.twitter.com/isosQWP3Y1
— Red Bull Racing Honda (@redbullracing) April 17, 2021
Ferrari and AlphaTauri both continued to push their 2021 machines to the limit today to land some speedy results ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix on Sunday.
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz finished in P5 and P7, split by the Alpha Tauri of Pierre Gasly in P6.
Track limits proved to be a cruel mistress across the board with a number of drivers having their fastest laps deleted for exceeding track limits at an unforgiving Turn 9.
At the ten-minute mark in practice this morning, some of this weekend’s front runners had returned to the track – with the Ferrari duo of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz trading fastest laps.
Williams’ Nicolas Latifi summoned the one and only red flag this morning with 34 minutes to go, after he crashed into the barriers coming out of turn 5, damaging his front wing.
The Canadian driver managed to return to the track and limp back to the pits for repairs.
🚩 RED FLAG 🚩
Latifi slides into the barriers coming out of Turn 5 💥
The Williams driver gets going again and limps back to the pits #ImolaGP 🇮🇹 #F1 pic.twitter.com/6ho5y6N4VJ
— Formula 1 (@F1) April 17, 2021
At the halfway mark, racing resumed and saw Verstappen going quickest – three tenths ahead of his teammate Perez in second at this point.
The Dutchman’s time at the top was short-lived after his lap time was deleted, lifting Bottas into the top spot once again with a lap time of 1:15.9s – two tenths quicker than Verstappen with 25 minutes to go.
Hamilton then kicked things up a notch with 15 minutes left, crossing the line in 1:15.5s – lifting his W12 into the top spot on the timesheets.
At the end of this morning’s running, however, Verstappen had resumed his spot at the top with a lap in 1:14.9s, followed closely by the McLaren of Lando Norris – marking a stark improvement in performance for the Woking-based team this weekend.
Free Practice comes to an end, Lando finishes P2, Daniel P13.
Solid effort team. 👏#ImolaGP 🇮🇹 pic.twitter.com/qqw1sB1KAT
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) April 17, 2021
Lewis Hamilton was third fastest, followed by the second Red Bull of Sergio Perez in 4th, while Valtteri Bottas, who topped the timesheets yesterday, was in P8 at the end of this morning’s run.
Pierre Gasly’s weekend continued in the right direction this morning, landing a temporary fastest lap time for AlphaTauri, and finishing out the session in P6.
Once again, at the other end of the timesheets, Mazepin ran slowest for Haas, while his fellow rookie teammate Mick Schumacher managed to improve the performance of the VF21 to rest in 16th.
Joining the Haas team on the slower end of the scale were Alfa Romeo teammates Antonio Giovnazzi and Kimi Raikkonen in P18 and P19 respectively.
Here are the full results from this morning’s Practice: