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Practice report
Formula 1 Emilia Romagna GP

F1 Imola GP: Leclerc fastest in red-flagged FP1 while Verstappen struggles

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc topped a red-flagged FP1 session at Formula 1’s 2024 Imola Grand Prix, where Mercedes shone and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen had two wild off-track moments.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-24

Leclerc set the session’s best time – a 1m16.990s – aboard the updated Ferrari shortly after the one-hour FP1 action was stopped by Alex Albon’s Williams shutting down after he hit a kerb hard and ran down the Imola track from Piratella to Acque Minerali, where he stopped on the inside.

Leclerc’s time was set with a second set of soft tyres and pipped MercedesGeorge Russell by 0.104s – the Briton in contention for the leading time even during the early running on harder tyres.

Carlos Sainz finished third 0.130s down to back up Ferrari’s strong start to the weekend at its first home race of 2024.

Red Bull did its soft tyre running much later than the rest – heading out with just a quarter of the session remaining.

Verstappen also had to return to the pits to get a visor tear-off removed from a rear brake duct, which meant his tyres had done more miles than would be ideal.

When he did get going, Verstappen set the quickest times in the first and third sectors, but a slow middle sector left him fifth behind team-mate Sergio Perez and 0.25s down on Leclerc.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W15

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W15

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

On a second attempt, Verstappen again went fastest in the opening sector and was 0.006s up on Leclerc after sector two, but when braking for the Variante Alta chicane his rear step out of line wildly and he had to cut the chicane – as Sainz had done in a similar manner earlier.

On a third softs attempt in the session’s dying moments, Verstappen set another purple sector one but then understeered off at high speed through the second part of Acque Minerali and had to skate through the gravel trap.

Yuki Tsunoda took sixth for RB just up the road from the team’s Faenza base, with Lewis Hamilton seventh ahead of Oscar Piastri.

Hamilton also had a mid-session scare when he spun at Acque Minerali with just over 20 minutes remaining after clouting the inside kerb hard aboard his Mercedes, which rapidly went around and speared him off-track but not far enough to hit a wall.

Miami winner Lando Norris ended up down in 16th in the other McLaren.

F1 Imola GP - FP1 results

Cla Driver # Chassis Engine Laps Time Interval km/h
1 Monaco C. Leclerc Ferrari 16 Ferrari Ferrari 30


2 United Kingdom G. Russell Mercedes 63 Mercedes Mercedes 28



0.104 229.231
3 Spain C. Sainz Ferrari 55 Ferrari Ferrari 25



0.026 229.154
4 Mexico S. Perez Red Bull Racing 11 Red Bull Red Bull 23



0.113 228.819
5 Netherlands M. Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1 Red Bull Red Bull 21



0.007 228.798
6 Japan Y. Tsunoda RB 22 RB Red Bull 29



0.148 228.360
7 United Kingdom L. Hamilton Mercedes 44 Mercedes Mercedes 27



0.020 228.301
8 United Kingdom L. Norris McLaren 4 McLaren Mercedes 17



0.194 227.731
9 Australia O. Piastri McLaren 81 McLaren Mercedes 25



0.205 227.131
10 Spain F. Alonso Aston Martin Racing 14 Aston Martin Mercedes 18



0.060 226.956
11 France P. Gasly Alpine 10 Alpine Renault 21



0.038 226.845
12 Canada L. Stroll Aston Martin Racing 18 Aston Martin Mercedes 22



0.167 226.360
13 Australia D. Ricciardo RB 3 RB Red Bull 26



0.070 226.157
14 France E. Ocon Alpine 31 Alpine Renault 29



0.470 224.805
15 United Kingdom O. Bearman Haas F1 Team 50 Haas   31



0.055 224.648
16 Finland V. Bottas Sauber 77 Sauber Ferrari 23



0.160 224.192
17 China Z. Guanyu Sauber 24 Sauber Ferrari 18



0.302 223.336
18 United States L. Sargeant Williams 2 Williams Mercedes 22



0.772 221.178
19 Thailand A. Albon Williams 23 Williams Mercedes 8



0.149 220.767
20 Germany N. Hulkenberg Haas F1 Team 27 Haas Ferrari 20



1.009 218.018

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