Leclerc Leads Verstappen Struggles in FP2 Drama

Leclerc Leads, Verstappen Struggles in FP2 Drama


Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc sets the pace in Emilia-Romagna FP2, while Verstappen struggles with RB20 grip. Tsunoda impresses with a strong performance. Will Red Bull bounce back?

After a first session dominated by Charles Leclerc and a struggling Max Verstappen, the second free practice for the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix, the seventh round of the 2024 F1 season, took place under clear skies.

Ferrari changed Leclerc’s engine as a precaution this weekend. Enrico Gualtieri, the Scuderia’s engine chief, explained the decision: “After the Miami race, our analysis didn’t quite match the usual results.”

“So, just as a precaution, since we can’t put the engine on the test bench for additional experience to confirm or deny. We will reuse it on future Fridays. It was really to minimize any risk.”

George Russell set the first time at 1’18″102 on hard tires, with Esteban Ocon eight-tenths behind, while Fernando Alonso slotted in between them. Yuki Tsunoda did better on mediums with a 1’17″672, and Daniel Ricciardo placed third, beaten by Lance Stroll, also on mediums.

Pierre Gasly took the second-best time on hard tires, and Carlos Sainz improved to 1’17″560 on mediums, immediately beaten by Leclerc with 1’17″019. Lando Norris then improved to 1’16″980 with a car covered in Flo-Vis paint, and Verstappen beat that with 1’16″930.

Gasly spun during his lap, while Verstappen reported a better balance at the start of the session after a difficult FP1. Lewis Hamilton placed fifth, and Sergio Pérez seventh.

Tsunoda confirmed his strong form with the fastest time of 1’16″895. At Haas, Nico Hülkenberg suffered a mechanical failure early in the second practice session, forcing the German to return to the garage. Verstappen reclaimed the fastest time with 1’16″734.

Work continued on Alex Albon’s car, as Williams had parts to replace after the FW46 was damaged by a curb this morning. Leclerc regained the top spot with a 1’16″677.

Hamilton impeded Fernando Alonso, who complained that it was the second time the Mercedes F1 driver “thought he was alone on the track.” Meanwhile, Sainz improved his time and placed second, just 0.003 seconds behind his teammate.

Albon returned to the track before the halfway point, unlike Logan Sargeant, whose car was still on stands. The team did not comment on the reasons for this delay. Sargeant eventually took to the track before the session’s midpoint as well.

Norris switched to soft tires, as did Russell, who was then classified fourth, and Alonso, who was sixth. The McLaren driver aborted his lap despite two fastest sectors after making a small error in the final corner.

Leclerc, on the other hand, completed his attempt on soft tires, setting a 1’15″969, while Sainz improved to within 0.4 seconds, and Hamilton to within 0.7 seconds. Tsunoda placed fourth, just 0.009 seconds behind Hamilton. Ocon couldn’t do better than tenth, also on soft tires.

Verstappen set the fastest first sector but made a mistake in the second sector, the part of the track that had been costing him time since the morning. The Dutchman eventually recorded the third-fastest time. Oscar Piastri improved and took second, a tenth behind Leclerc.

Russell climbed to third, and Alonso couldn’t do better than ninth. Pérez improved but only managed sixth, more than half a second behind Leclerc. Replays showed Verstappen made a small error exiting Variante Villeneuve. Hamilton improved to third, 0.014 seconds ahead of Russell.

Sainz was behind in the first sector and made a mistake at Variante Alta, going straight. Tsunoda improved to fourth, three-tenths behind Leclerc, who slightly bettered his time to 1’15″906.

Verstappen continues to struggle with his RB20. “It’s very difficult; this time there’s so much grip at the front that I almost spun.” The Dutchman also cut off and made an intimidating move towards Hamilton, who had impeded him on the track.

At the end of the session, Pérez hindered Leclerc, prompting an investigation. However, nothing changed in the second part of the session, as drivers focused on long runs. Verstappen visited the gravel traps at Tosa again, but without incident.

Leclerc thus confirms his good form and the effectiveness of Ferrari’s upgrades with another fastest time this Friday, as in FP1. He leads Piastri and the surprising Tsunoda, followed by the Mercedes of Hamilton and Russell, placing four teams in the top four spots… without Red Bull!

Indeed, Sainz is sixth ahead of the Red Bulls, with Verstappen leading Pérez by half a second from Leclerc. Hülkenberg is in the top 10, along with Alonso, ahead of Ricciardo and Norris, who did not set a fast time on soft tires.

Stroll follows, ahead of the Alpine duo of Ocon and Gasly, then Bottas, Magnussen, Albon, Zhou, and Sargeant. Notably, less than nine-tenths separate Tsunoda in third from Albon in 18th.

2024 F1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – Free Practice Results (2)
1Charles LeclercMONScuderia Ferrari1m15.906s
2Oscar PiastriAUSMcLaren F1 Team1m16.098s
3Yuki TsunodaJPNVisa Cash App RB F1 Team1m16.268s
4Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1m16.297s
5George RussellGBRMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1m16.311s
6Carlos SainzESPScuderia Ferrari1m16.423s
7Max VerstappenNEDOracle Red Bull Racing1m16.447s
8Sergio PerezMEXOracle Red Bull Racing1m16.552s
9Nico HulkenbergGERMoneyGram Haas F1 Team1m16.826s
10Fernando AlonsoESPAston Martin Aramco F1 Team1m16.838s
11Daniel RicciardoAUSVisa Cash App RB F1 Team1m16.967s
12Lando NorrisGBRMcLaren F1 Team1m16.980s
13Lance StrollCANAston Martin Aramco F1 Team1m16.991s
14Esteban OconFRABWT Alpine F1 Team1m17.008s
15Pierre GaslyFRABWT Alpine F1 Team1m17.064s
16Valtteri BottasFINStake F1 Team Kick Sauber1m17.088s
17Kevin MagnussenDENMoneyGram Haas F1 Team1m17.129s
18Alex AlbonTHAWilliams Racing1m17.135s
19Zhou GuanyuCHNStake F1 Team Kick Sauber1m17.606s
20Logan SargeantUSAWilliams Racing1m17.848s
Leclerc Leads Verstappen Struggles in FP2 Drama

Leclerc Leads, Verstappen Struggles in FP2 Drama. Leclerc Leads, Verstappen Struggles in FP2 Drama

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