Verstappen beats McLaren duo to Emilia Romagna pole position

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Emilia Romagna, Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrariit

Verstappen turned out to be surprised to take pole position after a dismal Friday and a far from perfect final practice. Late set-up changes did provide what was needed though, leaving Piastri and Norris to bite the dust and end up second and third for McLaren.

On the back of a disrupted third practice session it was time to go all out to secure a decent starting position for Sunday's Grand Prix. While most opted for soft tyres right away the Ferrari duo went for double runs in a single set of medium tyres. They did well and were 4th and 6th a couple of minutes before the end of the first session.

Norris and Piastri on the other hand put McLaren on top at this time, continuing to prove their strong form that's been a fact really since their first runs on Friday. Verstappen sat in third while Gasly was a surprising 5th, only one tenth away from Norris and on an identical laptime as Sainz.

Before the final attempts at the very end of the session, Alonso found himself off in the gravel again. The error put him in a difficult situation and despite going out again the Spanaird backed out of the lap and returned to the pits, ending qualifying in 20th position.

Hulkenberg meanwhile shot up to first on the timing sheet until Verstappen another improvement. Leclerc also improved in the dying seconds to get into second place, this time on a used set of medium tyres. Sainz had the same strategy but ended up 7th. Tsunoda and Ricciardo also comfortably made it through.

Magnussen was eliminated and had all right to be angry at Piastri for ruining his flying lap. Sargeant also dropped out, along with Bottas and Zhou.

The second session was off to a slow start with Hamilton asking his engineer "where is everybody?" when he had the entire track to himself early on.

The Red Bulls were out next and obviously took up the top positions. The McLaren duo both beat Perez but it was Leclerc who managed to topple both halfway into Q2. Yuki Tsunoda also underlined RB's form by going second fastest moments later.

When everybody set their initial times, the track became quiet. From the pits, the Mercedes drivers saw they were close to elimination, along with the Alpines, Stroll and Albon. Perez sat 7th, Ricciardo 8th and Hulkenberg 9th.

Albon was the first to take the track for a second run. When he completed his lap that improved him only to 12th the Mercedes left the pit, followed by both McLarens, the Red bulls and the Ferraris. Alpine followed suit, as did Ricciardo and Stroll.

Stroll was unable to jump out of the danger zone and got ousted. Gasly did improve but later had his time deleted, dropping him out again. Hulkenberg, Russell and Hamilton all improved, leaving Perez under pressure and eventually losing out to Ricciardo out by 0.005s, ending up 11th only.

The third and last session saw Verstappen go out on track first to immediately record a flawless lap, going round the circuit in 1:14.869. Norris came closest and ended up second at 0.073s with Leclerc third at 0.147s. Piastri and Sainz were fourth and fifth fastest as the Mercedes duo and Hulkenberg were likely set for an improvement after they completed their first outing with a used set of softs.

The second outings didn't change much even though many drivers still found another small improvement. Verstappen did as well and ensured himself of pole position. Norris improved too but it was Piastri who had a blistering second and third sector who got second place on tomorrow's starting grid.

Leclerc and Sainz ended up 4th and 5th for Ferrari while Russell beat Tsunoda for 6th.


11Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda Rbpt1:15.7621:15.1761:14.74618
281Oscar PiastriMclaren Mercedes1:15.9401:15.4071:14.82015
34Lando NorrisMclaren Mercedes1:15.9151:15.3711:14.83719
416Charles LeclercFerrari1:15.8231:15.3281:14.97021
555Carlos SainzFerrari1:16.0151:15.5121:15.23320
663George RussellMercedes1:16.1071:15.6711:15.23418
722Yuki TsunodaRb Honda Rbpt1:15.8941:15.3581:15.46515
844Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:16.6041:15.6771:15.50420
93Daniel RicciardoRb Honda Rbpt1:16.0601:15.6911:15.67415
1027Nico HulkenbergHaas Ferrari1:15.8411:15.5691:15.98021
1111Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Honda Rbpt1:16.4041:15.70610
1231Esteban OconAlpine Renault1:16.3611:15.90615
1318Lance StrollAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:16.4581:15.99215
1423Alexander AlbonWilliams Mercedes1:16.5241:16.20012
1510Pierre GaslyAlpine Renault1:16.0151:16.38114
1677Valtteri BottasKick Sauber Ferrari1:16.6266
1724Zhou GuanyuKick Sauber Ferrari1:16.8349
1820Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1:16.8548
1914Fernando AlonsoAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:16.9177
NC2Logan SargeantWilliams MercedesDNF8