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Verstappen on pole ahead of Piastri and Norris

Verstappen Edges McLaren for Seventh Pole at Imola

18/05/2024

In a tight qualifying session at Imola, Verstappen secured his seventh consecutive pole position, narrowly beating the McLaren drivers.

Seventh round of the 2024 F1 season, the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix has shuffled the deck since the start of the weekend. Despite updates on the RB20, Red Bull and Max Verstappen do not seem to be the dominant force of the weekend.

Of course, it’s never wise to count out the Dutchman in the fight for pole position, but two other teams have dominated the three practice sessions since FP1. Charles Leclerc had a flawless Friday, while Oscar Piastri set the fastest time in FP3.

Ferrari and McLaren appear to be leading, including in long-run simulations, but Verstappen seemed to find his form again this Saturday morning. Therefore, if we include Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris, it looks like five drivers could contend for pole position.

It’s hard to know if Sergio Pérez will be able to join this fight, as he had an accident in FP3 but was close to Verstappen the rest of the weekend. Mercedes likely won’t be in the mix, even though Lewis Hamilton and George Russell were optimistic on Friday night.

Finally, Aston Martin F1 seems to be lagging, especially after Fernando Alonso’s accident this Saturday morning. Notably, Yuki Tsunoda and his RB F1 VCARB 01 have made a strong impression during the early sessions of the weekend.

Daniel Ricciardo was under investigation since FP3 for impeding Kevin Magnussen, forcing him onto the grass to avoid a collision, and it seems his engineer was responsible. The team received a $5,000 fine.

Q1 – 18 minutes

Russell went out on medium tires for his first flying lap but aborted it before crossing the line. With the tight margins we have this season, it’s unrealistic to expect a good lap time on mediums.

Esteban Ocon set the provisional fastest time with a 1’16″645, bettering Hamilton and Lance Stroll. Pierre Gasly placed six-tenths behind his teammate, between the two Haas cars. Gasly had complained this morning about not having track priority, which he was granted at the start of Q1.

Sainz finished with the fourth-fastest time on medium tires, and Leclerc bettered Ocon with a 1’16″463, also on mediums. Alex Albon had the fastest first sector overall but went off in the final sector. Norris set the best second sector time, and his 1’16″194 put him in the lead.

Verstappen went faster than Norris in sector 1 and, unlike the rest of the weekend, also in the second sector. Alonso placed sixth, with Aston Martin having repaired his car. Verstappen bettered Norris with a 1’16″013.

Pérez, whose car was also repaired, positioned himself in third place. Piastri set the fastest first sector overall to claim the top spot with a 1’15″940, 0.073 seconds faster than Verstappen. Stroll moved up to fifth, and Magnussen to ninth.

Tsunoda set the fifth-fastest time, with Sainz taking the third position, still on mediums. Gasly moved up to fourth, and Leclerc to fifth, also on mediums. Hamilton couldn’t do better than 12th.

Norris improved the fastest time to 1’15″915, 0.025 seconds better than his teammate Piastri. Alonso made an error on his flying lap, going through the gravel for his second off-track excursion of the day. Aston Martin had some surprising images.

Albon finally set his first timed lap of the session, placing 12th. Alonso attempted another flying lap but couldn’t beat Ricciardo, who was provisionally 15th. He aborted his attempt.

Guanyu Zhou didn’t do better than 16th, and Sargeant took 14th, immediately beaten by Bottas. Nico Hülkenberg set the fastest time of Q1 with a 1’15″841! Alonso didn’t make any further attempts and finished last. Verstappen improved to reclaim the fastest time with a 1’15″762.

Ricciardo placed seventh, and Tsunoda improved to third! Leclerc did another lap on mediums and set the second-fastest time. Sargeant’s time was annulled, making him last on the grid as he didn’t set any time.

The eliminated drivers were Bottas, Zhou, Magnussen, Alonso, and Sargeant.

Q2 – 15 minutes

Piastri might face a penalty at the end of qualifying for significantly impeding Magnussen in Q1. The Mercedes drivers were the first out on track for Q2. Russell set a time of 1’16″200, and Hamilton improved to 1’16″197.

Verstappen took the fastest time with a 1’15″386, and Pérez secured the second-fastest time, 0.4 seconds behind. Hülkenberg placed himself between the Red Bulls and the Mercedes, 0.7 seconds off Verstappen, while the Ferraris and McLarens prepared for their flying laps.

Stroll set the sixth-fastest time, beaten by Gasly, with Ocon placing just behind his teammate. Sainz finished his lap in second, three-tenths behind. Piastri completed his lap with the second-fastest time, just 0.021 seconds behind Verstappen. Leclerc went faster with a 1’15″328, 0.058 seconds quicker than Verstappen.

Ricciardo set the sixth-fastest time and Norris took fourth. Tsunoda secured the second-fastest time, just 0.030 seconds behind Leclerc, and ahead of Verstappen. The Japanese driver has been in great form since the start of the weekend.

Albon cleared the track for a clean lap but couldn’t do better than 12th, three-thousandths behind Hamilton, matching Russell’s time. However, the Mercedes drivers were on track to improve.

Tsunoda was the only one who didn’t leave the pits again, with RB F1 aiming for two runs on fresh soft tires in Q3. Russell moved up to sixth, and Hamilton to seventh. Hülkenberg improved to sixth, while Stroll couldn’t do better than 13th.

Ricciardo improved to ninth. Gasly had his time deleted for exceeding track limits. Sainz moved up to sixth. Pérez, provisionally eliminated, was on a flying lap. Norris took the third fastest time, but Pérez could only manage 11th. Both RB F1 cars made it to Q3.

The eliminated drivers were Pérez, Ocon, Stroll, Albon, and Gasly.

Q3 – 12 minutes

Verstappen set the fastest first sector, but Norris was quicker in the second sector. The Red Bull driver finished with a 1’14″869, and Norris set the second-fastest time, less than a tenth behind. Hülkenberg took the third fastest time, but Tsunoda beat him, placing half a second behind.

Piastri provisionally took third, about three-tenths off, and Sainz couldn’t beat the McLaren driver. Leclerc ended up third, and Russell took sixth, just ahead of Tsunoda. Hamilton positioned himself right behind Tsunoda.

Hülkenberg was the first to attempt a final lap, and Sainz couldn’t beat Verstappen’s first sector, nor could Leclerc. Hülkenberg improved but stayed ninth. Leclerc set the second-fastest sector but remained 0.197 seconds behind Verstappen.

Sainz couldn’t improve and stayed three-tenths behind, while Leclerc remained third, 0.101 seconds off. Verstappen improved in the first sector, and Russell finished his lap in sixth. Verstappen also improved in the second sector, and Norris couldn’t beat him.

Ricciardo took ninth. Verstappen improved to 1’14″746, Norris improved but stayed second with the fastest third sector, and Piastri secured second, 0.074 seconds behind Verstappen. The Dutchman clinched pole position.

This marks a seventh consecutive pole position for Verstappen this season, with McLaren closing in. Piastri starts second, followed by Norris, then the Ferraris of Leclerc and Sainz, who will likely be disappointed. Russell follows ahead of Tsunoda, Hamilton, Ricciardo, and Hülkenberg.

2024 F1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – Qualifying Results
PosDriverNat.TeamQ1Q2Q3
1Max VerstappenNEDOracle Red Bull Racing1m15.762s1m15.176s1m14.746s
2Oscar PiastriAUSMcLaren F1 Team1m15.940s1m15.407s1m14.820s
3Lando NorrisGBRMcLaren F1 Team1m15.915s1m15.371s1m14.837s
4Charles LeclercMONScuderia Ferrari1m15.823s1m15.328s1m14.970s
5Carlos SainzESPScuderia Ferrari1m16.015s1m15.512s1m15.233s
6George RussellGBRMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1m16.107s1m15.671s1m15.234s
7Yuki TsunodaJPNVisa Cash App RB F1 Team1m15.894s1m15.358s1m15.234s
8Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1m16.604s1m15.677s1m15.465s
9Daniel RicciardoAUSVisa Cash App RB F1 Team1m16.060s1m15.691s1m15.504s
10Nico HulkenbergGERMoneyGram Haas F1 Team1m15.841s1m15.569s1m15.674s
11Sergio PerezMEXOracle Red Bull Racing1m16.404s1m15.706s1m15.980s
12Esteban OconFRABWT Alpine F1 Team1m16.361s1m15.906s 
13Lance StrollCANAston Martin Aramco F1 Team1m16.458s1m15.992s 
14Alex AlbonTHAWilliams Racing1m16.524s1m16.200s 
15Pierre GaslyFRABWT Alpine F1 Team1m16.015s1m16.381s 
16Valtteri BottasFINStake F1 Team Kick Sauber1m16.626s  
17Zhou GuanyuCHNStake F1 Team Kick Sauber1m16.834s  
18Kevin MagnussenDENMoneyGram Haas F1 Team1m16.854s  
19Fernando AlonsoESPAston Martin Aramco F1 Team1m16.917s  
20Logan SargeantUSAWilliams RacingNo Time Set  
Verstappen on pole ahead of Piastri and Norris

Verstappen on pole ahead of Piastri and Norris. Verstappen on pole ahead of Piastri and Norris. Emilia-Romagna GP: Verstappen on pole ahead of Piastri and Norris. f1 2024 Emilia-Romagna GP: Verstappen on pole ahead of Piastri and Norris

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