2022 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix - Friday
THE ROAD TO POLE
- Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was fastest in a disrupted qualifying at Imola, held on Friday afternoon as this is a Sprint weekend, with his pole time set on the Cinturato Green intermediate tyre. Both the new 18-inch Cinturato Green and Cinturato Blue wet weather tyres were used today for the first time during a race weekend.
- Qualifying – which featured at least one red flag in each of the sessions – was preceded by just one hour-long free practice earlier this afternoon, which was topped by Ferrari’s championship leader Charles Leclerc, at the Scuderia’s home race. Leclerc lines up second behind Verstappen for tomorrow’s Sprint.
- Conditions were cool and wet throughout the day, with qualifying getting underway in temperatures of 12 degrees ambient and 14 degrees on track. Free practice was fully wet, with the full wet tyres used at the beginning of the session, while the rain stopped in time for the start of qualifying – with some drivers using the P Zero Red soft tyres from Q1 (while others started on the intermediate). The rain fell again before the start of Q3, which meant that the top 10 shoot-out was run entirely on the intermediate.
- Verstappen received the Pirelli Pole Position Award – his first this year, and the 14th of his career – from Formula 1’s Chief Executive Officer, Stefano Domenicali. Imola is Domenicali’s home town, who was previously team principal of Ferrari and CEO of Lamborghini before taking on the top job in Formula 1.
- With today’s action being mostly wet and only one slick compound run, it's impossible to get a read on the performance gaps between all the tyres.
“This was the first real test for us of the new 18-inch Cinturato wet and intermediate tyres, which has never been tried out before in conditions that were as cold as today, so that was valuable information in the bank for us. On the whole the wet and intermediates tyres performed well. Some drivers did comment about warm-up, but that’s to be expected in these low temperatures. The hardest aspect to today was definitely choosing the right tyre at the right time between full wet, intermediate, and slicks, so establishing the crossover point – the right moment to switch between them – was key to that. In accordance with the rules for a wet Friday, the drivers now have an extra set of intermediates, and they will have to give one used set back after FP2. What we’re still missing is data on dry running, so we’ll see what tomorrow brings: maybe we will know more about that before the Sprint.”
- The Formula 2 drivers had to deal with not only slippery and variable track conditions during qualifying, but also fading light after the session was heavily delayed. The track dried considerably throughout the half-hour, but Cinturato Blue wet tyres were still used from start to finish. Hitech’s Juri Vips timed his fastest lap and managed his tyres perfectly to claim pole for the feature race, while Carlin’s Logan will start from P1 on the reverse grid sprint race tomorrow. Campos Racing’s Ralph Boschung was fastest in free practice earlier, which was interrupted by three red flags and again run entirely on the wet tyre.
- The Cinturato Blue full wet tyres were the main feature of Formula 3 free practice and qualifying, even though four drivers (including Carlin’s Enzo Trulli, the son of ex-F1 driver Jarno Trulli) tried a run on the P Zero Yellow medium tyre. Zane Maloney led a Trident one-two to take pole and will begin Sunday’s feature race from the front. Franco Colapinto, driving for Van Amersfoort Racing, will start tomorrow’s sprint race first by virtue of his 12th place in qualifying. ART Grand Prix driver Victor Martins topped the times in an interrupted free practice session this morning, run entirely on the wet tyres. The wet tyre proved to be extremely flexible all day throughout a wide variety of wet and damp conditions, even when a dry line started to appear.