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Qualifying report
Formula 1 Emilia Romagna GP

F1 Imola GP: Verstappen fends off McLaren threat for pole

Max Verstappen turned around Red Bull’s “really difficult” 2024 Imola Grand Prix in Formula 1 qualifying and will start ahead of Lando Norris as Ferrari’s challenge disappeared.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB20

Having struggled in all three practice sessions so far at the Emilia Romagna race, Verstappen hailed Red Bull’s pre-qualifying set-up changes for “feeling a bit better and I could push a bit”.

“This track is unbelievable,” Verstappen added. “And to be on the limit here, close to the gravel – I touched the gravel in the last corner – I’m still pumping. The adrenaline is very high.”

Verstappen needed late efforts to set his best times in the opening two parts of qualifying, but led from the off in Q3 – his first run a 1m14.869s ahead of Norris and Leclerc.

The Ferrari drivers then headed the pack on the final efforts, where Leclerc could not recover enough time from missing his personal best in the first sector and stayed third.

Behind, Verstappen blitzed to purple sectors in the first two thirds of the lap but a wobble through the final corner – Rivazza 2 – meant he was vulnerable even as he improved the top time to a 1m14.746s.

Norris also improved but paid the price for a slower middle sector than he had managed on his opening go in Q3, with Piastri then stealing ahead of his team-mate and Leclerc as he beat Verstappen in the final sector to end up 0.074s adrift.

But Piastri, having faced a post-session investigation for appearing to impede Magnussen late in Q1, will start from fifth having been handed a three-place grid penalty.

Behind the frontrunners came Carlos Sainz, George Russell and Yuki Tsunoda, who had shone with a rapid Q2 time before fading from the lead fight.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-24

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-24

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Next came Lewis Hamilton in eighth, Daniel Ricciardo ninth and Nico Hulkenberg rounding out the top 10.

Verstappen topped Q2 ahead of Leclerc, where Sergio Perez was the biggest faller in the other Red Bull despite setting his best time at the end of the middle segment.

Esteban Ocon, Lance Stroll, Alex Albon and Pierre Gasly were also eliminated at this stage.

In Q1, which Verstappen led also ahead of Leclerc when the Ferraris progressed on the mediums, last-gasp personal bests were not enough to save Valtteri Bottas, Logan Sargeant and Zhou Guanyu in 16th-18th.

Magnussen ended up 19th ahead of Fernando Alonso, who missed the start of the opening segment as Aston Martin worked to repair the car he had damaged during his FP3 crash.

The Spaniard abandoned his final effort as he failed to improve on his personal best late on having made a mistake and gone through the Tamburello exit gravel on his second attempt.

However, a deleted lap time for Williams' Sargeant has pushed Alonso and Magnussen up one spot.

F1 Imola GP qualifying result

   
1
 - 
3
   
   
1
 - 
2
   
Cla Driver # Chassis Engine Time km/h
1 Netherlands M. Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1 Red Bull Red Bull

1'14.746

236.432
2 Australia O. Piastri McLaren 81 McLaren Mercedes

+0.074

1'14.820

236.198
3 United Kingdom L. Norris McLaren 4 McLaren Mercedes

+0.091

1'14.837

236.145
4 Monaco C. Leclerc Ferrari 16 Ferrari Ferrari

+0.224

1'14.970

235.726
5 Spain C. Sainz Ferrari 55 Ferrari Ferrari

+0.487

1'15.233

234.902
6 United Kingdom G. Russell Mercedes 63 Mercedes Mercedes

+0.488

1'15.234

234.899
7 Japan Y. Tsunoda RB 22 RB Red Bull

+0.719

1'15.465

234.180
8 United Kingdom L. Hamilton Mercedes 44 Mercedes Mercedes

+0.758

1'15.504

234.059
9 Australia D. Ricciardo RB 3 RB Red Bull

+0.928

1'15.674

233.533
10 Germany N. Hulkenberg Haas F1 Team 27 Haas Ferrari

+1.234

1'15.980

232.592
11 Mexico S. Perez Red Bull Racing 11 Red Bull Red Bull

+0.960

1'15.706

233.434
12 France E. Ocon Alpine 31 Alpine Renault

+1.160

1'15.906

232.819
13 Canada L. Stroll Aston Martin Racing 18 Aston Martin Mercedes

+1.246

1'15.992

232.556
14 Thailand A. Albon Williams 23 Williams Mercedes

+1.454

1'16.200

231.921
15 France P. Gasly Alpine 10 Alpine Renault

+1.635

1'16.381

231.371
16 Finland V. Bottas Sauber 77 Sauber Ferrari

+1.880

1'16.626

230.631
17 China Z. Guanyu Sauber 24 Sauber Ferrari

+2.088

1'16.834

230.007
18 Denmark K. Magnussen Haas F1 Team 20 Haas Ferrari

+2.108

1'16.854

229.947
19 Spain F. Alonso Aston Martin Racing 14 Aston Martin Mercedes

+2.171

1'16.917

229.759
20 United States L. Sargeant Williams 2 Williams Mercedes

 

 

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