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Commentary

Live: F1 Emilia Romagna GP commentary and updates – FP1 & Qualifying

Minute-by-minute updates on Friday practice and qualifying for the Formula 1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola.

Charles Leclerc leads the early F1 drivers’ world championship by 34 points from MercedesGeorge Russell, following his dominant victory at the Australian GP last time out.

This weekend marks the first F1 sprint race format of the season, which means qualifying is pushed forward to Friday afternoon and the sprint race takes place on Saturday afternoon.

Opening practice for the Emilia Romagna GP gets underway at 12.30pm BST (1.30pm local time), followed by qualifying which starts at 4pm BST (5pm local time).

By: Jake Boxall-Legge, Megan White, Haydn Cobb

Summary

  • Verstappen beats Leclerc to pole in red flag affected qualifying
  • Grid will decide Saturday's sprint race grid
  • Tsunoda, Gasly, Latifi, Ocon and Albon eliminated in Q1
  • Russell, Schumacher, Hamilton, Zhou and Stroll eliminated in Q2

Leaderboard 

  1. Verstappen, Red Bull
  2. Leclerc, Ferrari
  3. Norris, McLaren
  4. Magnussen, Haas
  5. Alonso, Alpine
  6. Ricciardo, McLaren
  7. Perez, Red Bull
  8. Bottas, Alfa Romeo
  9. Vettel, Aston Martin
Status: Stopped
Well after all that, we'll wrap up this super-sized coverage of qualifying. Tomorrow starts with final practice at 11:30am BST followed by the sprint race which starts at 3:30pm BST. Until then have a lovely rest of your Friday. Go well!
 
So only the five red flags across the entire qualifying session. If the same happens for the sprint, it'll need to be called the marathon!
Norris on his third place after crashing on his out-lap: "It is a shame as there was a chance for us to attack Charles and the car was feeling good, but I am happy."
Leclerc on second in qualifying: "It was very tricky, especially on the slicks, there were quite a few wet patches. It was about putting everything together, that's why it is frustrating for me because in Q3 he made the wrong choice."
Verstappen on his first pole of 2022: "It was tricky out there with the rain, dry, rain. Very hectic with a long qualifying and this track really punishes you if you make a mistake. So very happy with the pole position."
Just like Bottas and Magnussen before him today, Norris got on the white line into Acque Minerali and spun off, nudging the wall with his front wing.
That means it is Haas's best-ever qualifying with Magnussen in fourth place!
Verstappen is on pole for the sprint race and will be the official pole position holder this weekend. Leclerc takes second ahead of Norris, Magnussen, Alonso, Ricciardo, Perez, Bottas, Vettel and Sainz.
Norris is in the wall on his out-lap! Red flag and that's the end of Q3 with only 38s to go!
"I have no grip mate," Verstappen says over team radio. He's going for a flying lap anyway, because why not.
"Try to pass Verstappen if you can," Leclerc is told over team radio. No chance of that yet as Verstappen is stretching ahead at the moment.
Here we go again (again, again and again)
Verstappen sprints out of the garage and directly ahead of Leclerc. The Red Bull will lead the train at the pit exit.
Bottas is in the passenger seat of the recovery truck as his Alfa Romeo is taken back to the garage. With the track clear, Q3 will restart at 6:38pm local time.
If Sunday's grand prix isn't interrupted by red flags or lengthy safety car periods, qualifying will be the longest session of this weekend given the sprint is approximately 30 minutes and the full fat race is around 90 minutes. F1 gonna F1.
Bottas has stopped on the downhill section towards Rivazza and it appears to be a mechanical problem, but hard to be sure given he had been off the track moments beforehand. There's no clear damage to his car.
Verstappen set his provisional pole time under yellow flags when he passed a stranded Bottas - and before the red flags came out - and he says he lifted sufficiently to keep that lap time.
The clock has stopped with 2m58s to go in Q3. There's enough time for this session to restart, but will anyone be able to improve in that time?
Make that a red flag as Bottas has stopped at the side of the track - just after Verstappen goes quickest of all with a 1m27.999s! What drama.
Norris goes third quickest with a 1m29.131s, while Bottas has an off and brings out the yellow flags.
Magnussen goes third fastest, while the threat of rain is growing over these final few minutes.
Leclerc can with a 1m28.778s, and beats Verstappen by 0.020s to take provisional pole.
Alonso slides wide at Acque Minerali but avoids the gravel while further back Perez has a moment at Turn 2. Can anyone get a clean lap in?
Nine drivers are back out on track - no Sainz remember following his heavy Q2 crash - so time to decide the top nine to start the sprint race.
Alonso is at the front of the queue for the Q3 restart. Here we go again!
 
Nobody set a lap time in that opening part of Q3 due to the red flag so it is effectively a full restart.
Aside from gravel marks and a tiny nudge on his front wing, Magnussen should be able to get back out there for Q3, which will resume at 6:18pm local time with 8m51s to go.
Magnussen has ended up where Bottas went off at Acque Minerali at the end of practice earlier, but he's able to get going again with a very slow six or seven-point turn to get back to the pits.
Magnussen is in the wall - red flag!
Verstappen almost loses it on his out-lap at Turn 2 but avoids a slide into the gravel by easing off the power.
All nine drivers that are able to take part in this session are on track on the inters. Will anyone gamble late on for dry tyres? It looks a tough ask at this stage.
Who is ready for Q3? Alonso and Magnussen are already at the pit exit before the start of the sesssion.
Not to mention F2 qualifying which is set to take place after F1 qualifying. Get the headlights, floodlights and torchlights out!
Q3 will begin at 6:09pm local time - so in six minutes. They might need some floodlights to finish this session if there is another red flag.
The chequered flag is out so that's your lot. Out in Q2: P11 Russell, P12 Schumacher, P13 Hamilton, P14 Zhou, P15 Stroll.
There are some late Q2 takers, as Norris, Perez, Leclerc, Alonso, Vettel and Bottas head out on the inters to try out conditions ahead of the pole position shootout.
It doesn't mean neither Mercedes driver cannot start from the top 10 for the grand prix, of course, due to the sprint race. So they have another chance tomorrow - as does everyone else.

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