F1 sprint LIVE: Updates as Lewis Hamilton chases Max Verstappen for Emilia Romagna Grand Prix position

F1 sprint LIVE: Updates as Lewis Hamilton chases Max Verstappen for Emilia Romagna Grand Prix position


Sainz Jnr handed new Ferrari contract as F1 heads to Imola

Follow live coverage as Max Verstappen starts Saturday’s sprint race at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix on pole position after both Mercedes cars failed to make it through to Q3 for the first time in almost 10 years at Imola on Friday evening.

After Carlos Sainz’s crash in Q2 triggered a red flag, the rain began to pour and brought wet conditions for the remainder of the session, leaving both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell eliminated as they opted to not risk a further lap in the rain.

It marked the first time since the Japanese Grand Prix in 2012 that Mercedes failed to have a car finish in the top 10 of qualifying as their early season struggles continued, with Toto Wolff saying his team’s issues with ‘porpoising’ were their worst yet this year.

At the other end of the field, Verstappen will start ahead of Charles Leclerc after he held on to provisional pole in a rain-soaked and red flag-hit qualifying session. Verstappen clocked a faster time than Leclerc just as Valtteri Bottas pulled up off the track to trigger the fifth red flag of the session, while Lando Norris took a surprise third.

Follow all the latest from the sprint race at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix below:


Emilia Romagna sprint race

Michael Jones23 April 2022 15:19


Emilia Romagna sprint race

Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner says that he’s expecting good things from Sergio Perez ahead of the sprint. He told Sky Sports:

“It’s important to get a good start, do you take a soft tyre that gets you off the line better or the medium that’s more robust? Sergio has to get his elbows out, get stuck in. If he can get in the top four today, that would be a great performance.

“I am sure it is going to be an anxious race for some of the reliability guys but it always is.”

Michael Jones23 April 2022 15:14


Emilia Romagna sprint race

Lewis Hamilton had the best performance in a sprint race last season moving up 15 places at the Brazilian GP weekend. Can he do something similar today?

Michael Jones23 April 2022 15:11


Emilia Romagna sprint race

Lando Norris radios the McLaren garage to point out a few specks of rain around. The clouds are a little darker than earlier in the day but the wet weather should hold off for the duration of the Sprint.

Michael Jones23 April 2022 15:08


Emilia Romagna sprint race

Daniel Ricciardo’s engine has been fixed and he’s good to go into the Sprint for McLaren. Valtteri Bottas had an exhaust issue yesterday which kept him in the garage for FP2 this morning and his car has had to be completely rebuilt with a new chasis.

The drivers have left the pits for their warm up laps. The Sprint race gets underway around 3:30pm.

Michael Jones23 April 2022 15:03


Lewis Hamilton not expecting ‘groundbreaking’ improvement from Mercedes at Imola

The reigning constructors’ champions have failed to show they can keep pace with Ferrari and Red Bull in the opening three races of the season.

Hamilton managed an impressive podium in the opener in Bahrain, but could only secure tenth at the Saudi Arabian GP.

While Mercedes then showed signs of improvement in Australia as Hamilton came fourth and teammate George Russell managed third, they still have some way to go if they are going to consistently challenge for victories.

And Hamilton admits they have not upgraded the car a great deal since the Melbourne race a fortnight ago.

Michael Jones23 April 2022 15:00


Emilia Romagna sprint race

The Tifosi are out in force at Imola this weekend. They’ll be cheering on the Ferraris this afternoon.

Michael Jones23 April 2022 14:56


Emilia Romagna sprint race

Will we see a battle between Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen this afternoon?

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Michael Jones23 April 2022 14:53


What is a sprint race in F1 and how does qualifying work?

Following its success in 2021 Formula One season, the F1 Commission has approved plans to run the F1 sprint format at three Grand Prix weekends this season.

As it was last year, the F1 sprint is a 100km dash with no mandatory pit stops and drivers racing flat-out to the chequered flag.

F1 sprint was introduced last season with the result determining the grid for the weekend’s main event, the Grand Prix on Sunday.

For the 2022 season, the points system has been tweaked, with the top eight drivers scoring points, where previously it was just the top three finishers. It’s also now more lucrative as the driver who finishes P1 will receive eight points, rather than three last year.

Michael Jones23 April 2022 14:50


Emilia Romagna sprint race

There are vastly different conditions at the Imola Circuit today. Yesterday was cold, wet and very slippery with the drivers finding it tough to stick to the dry line.

Today it’s a lot drier, the sun is out and conditions seem good for racing. The tactics of the sprint will be interesting. Teams have to decide on the ideal fuel level and whether to try and get through the race on one set of tyres without hurting performance.

At Imola the 100km dash means the cars have to run 21 laps – almost a third of a Grand Prix – Sergio Perez spent 18 laps on soft tyres in practice earlier today. Is that going to be the gameplan for Red Bull?

Michael Jones23 April 2022 14:46


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