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Emilia Romagna GP: Encouraging Friday for the Team in Imola

Solid start for the team in Italy.

Imola is the first European race of the season, which is why many teams have brought updates to the track, including our team. We have the second part of our update package from Miami.

After two sprint weekends, Imola is also another familiar Grand Prix weekend with three free practice sessions, meaning three hours of time to set up the cars for qualifying and the race.

However, practice time in FP1 was compromised by a red flag. FP2 then took place in the sunshine and without interruptions. After encouraging results in the morning, the team focused on long runs and further data gathering in the afternoon.

Contrary to most of the other drivers, both drivers started the session on the Hard tyres. Lewis and George were satisfied with the pace and balance of the car and could match the times of many drivers on the softer medium tyres.

In addition to long runs, the Mercedes duo also worked on their pace on one lap. As usual, the field was close together, with the first ten drivers within one second of each other.

The difficult old-school circuit in Imola does not forgive mistakes, but the team was able to repeat its strong form from FP1 and were overall content with their start of the weekend.

The fastest time in FP2 went to Charles Leclerc. Lewis Hamilton was just under four tenths behind him in fourth place. George Russell finished P5 with a few small mistakes on his fast lap. Both drivers are confident that there is still more potential in the W15 to unlock.

Decent start to the weekend in FP1

Practice time in FP1 was somewhat shorter, as the session had to be interrupted after the first third. Alex Albon had stopped in T13 in his Williams. However, the session was soon resumed.

In the end, George and Lewis finished in 2nd and 7th place, with the field very close together. The top ten were within less than nine tenths of a second of each other. Lewis in P7 was only four tenths behind Charles Leclerc's best time.

The action continues on Saturday with FP3 from 12:30 local time (11:30 UK time), before qualifying starts at 16:00 (15:00 UK time) at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari.

The track in Imola is very narrow and (as was confirmed in practice on Friday) very bumpy. This makes overtaking difficult and makes qualifying all the more important. Especially in view of the low tyre degradation and the fact that it is likely to be a one-stop race.

Lewis Hamilton

It’s been a good start to the weekend. We had a productive day and were able to run all three compounds. The balance of the car felt good, and I had a positive feeling out there. Several other teams look quick, in particular McLaren and Ferrari, but we’re a lot closer than we have been so far this season. We’re not getting ahead of ourselves though so let’s see how tomorrow goes.

I am really grateful to everyone back at the factory for working so hard to bring these updates. We are seeing improvements in the car and our performance on track.

George Russell

The car was feeling great today and both Lewis and I were happy behind-the-wheel. We looked reasonably competitive and slightly closer to the front of the field than we looked in Miami. Come Qualifying tomorrow we will find out exactly where we stand in the pecking order. McLaren looked very strong along with Ferrari but hopefully we can find a bit more speed and get closer to them. As always, it will be fine margins.

The team has done a great job to bring the updates to the car so quickly. It definitely feels like a step forward at this point. It’s great to see the motivation within the team despite having a few tough races recently.

Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director

We've had a productive day today. The car has been working well across the two sessions and we have been able to improve on the balance over the course of the day. The updates we have here all seem to be doing what we expect, which is encouraging, but the experience of the last few races has taught us that we have a fair size gap to close. We are hoping to close that gap progressively with developments over the next few events. There's still plenty that we can work on for both single lap and long run performance in the meantime. The gaps ahead aren't that big so we'll be looking hard to find a bit of additional speed overnight.

2024 Emilia Romagna GP FP2 Result

1

Charles Leclerc

Ferrari

1:15.906

29

2

Oscar Piastri

McLaren

1:16.098

30

3

Yuki Tsunoda

Racing Bulls

1:16.286

32

4

Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes-AMG

1:16.297

29

5

George Russell

Mercedes-AMG

1:16.311

32

6

Carlos Sainz

Ferrari

1:16.423

30

7

Max Verstappen

Red Bull

1:16.447

23

8

Sergio Pérez

Red Bull

1:16.552

25

9

Nico Hülkenberg

Haas

1:16.826

28

10

Fernando Alonso

Aston Martin

1:16.838

29

11

Daniel Ricciardo

Racing Bulls

1:16.967

32

12

Lando Norris

McLaren

1:16.980

30

13

Lance Stroll

Aston Martin

1:16.991

26

14

Esteban Ocon

Alpine

1:17.008

31

15

Pierre Gasly

Alpine

1:17.064

32

16

Valtteri Bottas

Sauber

1:17.088

28

17

Kevin Magnussen

Haas

1:17.129

32

18

Alexander Albon

Williams

1:17.135

23

19

Zhou Guanyu

Sauber

1:17.606

28

20

Logan Sargeant

Williams

1:17.848

22

2024 Emilia Romagna GP FP1 Result

1

Charles Leclerc

Ferrari

1:16.990

30

2

George Russell

Mercedes-AMG

1:17.094

28

3

Carlos Sainz

Ferrari

1:17.120

25

4

Sergio Pérez

Red Bull

1:17.233

23

5

Max Verstappen

Red Bull

1:17.240

21

6

Yuki Tsunoda

Racing Bulls

1:17.388

29

7

Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes-AMG

1:17.408

27

8

Lando Norris

McLaren

1:17.602

17

9

Oscar Piastri

McLaren

1:17.807

25

10

Fernando Alonso

Aston Martin

1:17.867

18

11

Pierre Gasly

Alpine

1:17.905

21

12

Lance Stroll

Aston Martin

1:18.072

22

13

Daniel Ricciardo

Racing Bulls

1:18.142

26

14

Esteban Ocon

Alpine

1:18.612

29

15

Oliver Bearman

Haas

1:18.667

31

16

Valtteri Bottas

Sauber

1:18.827

23

17

Zhou Guanyu

Sauber

1:19.129

18

18

Logan Sargeant

Williams

1:19.901

22

19

Alexander Albon

Williams

1:20.050

8

20

Nico Hülkenberg

Haas

1:21.059

20

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