Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Imola, 2020

Hamilton leads Verstappen in sole practice session at Imola

2020 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton led the only practice session for the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix as Max Verstappen split the Mercedes drivers at Imola.

The Mercedes driver set a quickest time of 1’14.726 around the track, which has been altered since F1’s last visit for the San Marino Grand Prix in 2006. Verstappen led the way initially before Hamilton moved ahead, becoming the only driver to lap the course in less than 75 seconds.

Valtteri Bottas was third-quickest in the second Mercedes, albeit almost half a second behind his team mate. The AlphaTauri drivers, who ran at the track earlier this year, put their recent experience to good use, Pierre Gasly taking fourth place.

The Ferrari drivers also did qualifying simulations at the end of the session. Charles Leclerc jumped up to fifth behind Gasly, who was also separated from his team mate by the two Renault drivers. Sebastian Vettel went into the final minutes of the session in last place, but improved to 12th, but like Bottas was nearly half a second behind his team mate.

Several teams opted for late flying runs ahead of qualifying. Lando Norris briefly had his McLaren up to sixth place, then had a lap time deleted for a track limits infringement, as did several other drivers during the session. He fell to 16th in the final classification.

Alexander Albon therefore took ninth – a full second behind team mate Verstappen – with the Racing Point drivers straddled the top 10 divide, Lance Stroll pipping Sergio Perez by two hundredths of a second.

With only 90 minutes of running available before the qualifying session this afternoon, track time was at a premium and teams were at pains to avoid any lost running. The session ran without incident – barring a few runs through the gravel traps – and most drivers logged around 40 laps. An exception was Nicholas Latifi, who lost time with a brake-by-wire fault on his Williams.

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2020 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix first practice result

Pos. No. Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’14.726 45
2 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1’15.023 0.297 38
3 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1’15.218 0.492 46
4 10 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 1’15.633 0.907 46
5 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1’15.688 0.962 40
6 3 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1’15.839 1.113 32
7 31 Esteban Ocon Renault 1’15.945 1.219 43
8 26 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri-Honda 1’15.966 1.240 46
9 23 Alexander Albon Red Bull-Honda 1’16.061 1.335 40
10 18 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 1’16.082 1.356 41
11 11 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 1’16.109 1.383 41
12 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1’16.167 1.441 40
13 8 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1’16.550 1.824 41
14 55 Carlos Sainz Jnr McLaren-Renault 1’16.560 1.834 41
15 99 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1’16.564 1.838 32
16 4 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1’16.671 1.945 44
17 7 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1’16.684 1.958 42
18 63 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1’16.780 2.054 42
19 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1’17.060 2.334 45
20 6 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 1’17.779 3.053 28

First practice visual gaps

Lewis Hamilton – 1’14.726

+0.297 Max Verstappen – 1’15.023

+0.492 Valtteri Bottas – 1’15.218

+0.907 Pierre Gasly – 1’15.633

+0.962 Charles Leclerc – 1’15.688

+1.113 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’15.839

+1.219 Esteban Ocon – 1’15.945

+1.240 Daniil Kvyat – 1’15.966

+1.335 Alexander Albon – 1’16.061

+1.356 Lance Stroll – 1’16.082

+1.383 Sergio Perez – 1’16.109

+1.441 Sebastian Vettel – 1’16.167

+1.824 Romain Grosjean – 1’16.550

+1.834 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’16.560

+1.838 Antonio Giovinazzi – 1’16.564

+1.945 Lando Norris – 1’16.671

+1.958 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’16.684

+2.054 George Russell – 1’16.780

+2.334 Kevin Magnussen – 1’17.060

+3.053 Nicholas Latifi – 1’17.779

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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6 comments on “Hamilton leads Verstappen in sole practice session at Imola”

  1. Let’s hope that Max can split the Mercs in Q too.

    Looks like Albon doesn’t have an extra gear (or perhaps he does: reverse gear). Was nice knowing you.

  2. That was the most enjoyable practice session I’ve watched in a long while. Drivers pushing from the outset, a real sense of urgency, old school track… wonderful.

  3. Brundle was an awful lot happier this weekend. What about that horrendous pit in Martin, this is an actual bad pit-in. what about racing Martin? last weekend was going to be a nightmare but it was great, what about this track?
    Ignoring the grumpy, what a beautiful morning, the weather in southern europe is even warmer than last week, the scenery is great, the track is great, the atmosphere is classic f1, love it.
    A few downsides, the removal of the chicane should help however the tricky last 2 turns compromise racing into t1.
    aero wake is going to be really bad but tyre deg is unknown.
    I expect Lewis to ace this one, all about leaning on the front tyres.

  4. I’m sorry for banging on about it, but please, could they just stop zooming in??

    This race gave the opportunity to allot of YouTube channels to look back to Imola’s history and there was a lot of old footage around. The cameras stood way away from cars, showed the whole track and more and it just looked so much faster.

    Around Rivazza usually the camera is way away from the track, giving the chance to show the whole straight down to Rivazza 1, into 2. But they kept zooming right into sidepods. They follow the cars, instead of giving a static point of view that just shows the seed so much better.


    1. Indeed. We all agree, but no one is listening unfortunately. Maybe one day the FOM director will wake up.

    2. @fer-no65 I actually prefer the closer shots & am glad they are bringing back elements of what made the old Digital+ coverage so much better than the world feed of the time.

      The closer shots better highlight the speed of the cars, Make them look a lot more dynamic & violent. The wider shots usually make the cars look slower, Less dynamic & makes the tracks look flatter.

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