Lewis Hamilton took the fastest time at Imola as many cars struggled to come to terms with the iconic track. Max Verstappen finished an encouraging 2nd ahead of Valterri Bottas. However, numerous final laps were impeded as cars queued up through the final laps, meaning the order may be different come qualifying.
Top of the grid
Unusual circumstances led to only one practice session being undertaken in San Marino, meaning that drivers and teams have limited running prior to qualifying in a few hours time.
Of course, Mercedes looked strong from the offset as Bottas provisionally took the fastest time from Hamilton. But Verstappen yet again looked dangerous and was able to leapfrog both whilst on the softer compound. This battle continued for most of session, but Hamilton won out, 0.2s ahead of Verstappen and 0.4 ahead of Bottas. Albon did not fare well in comparison to his team-mate. He was 9th, 1.1s behind Verstappen.
Gasly achieved best of the rest status with a stunning 4th place finish showing his good form throughout this year. Team-mate Kvyat was 8th and hopes look high for Alpha Tauri to close the gap to Ferrari in the constructors.
Ferrari’s improvements are still visible and, despite suffering drag issues, Leclerc finished 5th and was the last driver within a second of the lead time. He was half a second ahead of Vettel, who could only manage 12th.
Renault look poised to take 3rd in the constructors with a strong showing in practice. Ricciardo and Ocon finished 6th and 7th respectively with consistent running from both drivers throughout the session. Rounding out the top 10 were the racing point duo of Perez and Stroll, separated by 0.027s.
Despite being in the midst of the battle for 3rd, McLaren had both cars out of the top 10. Sainz could only muster 13th while Norris dropped to 15th. The Briton did manage to run as high as 5th, but a track extention penalty wiped out the time.
Bottom of the grid
Neither Haas car seemed comfortable and there were numerous replays of Magnussuen going wide through the chicanes. The Dane finished 19th while Grosjean managed an impressive 13th.
Alfa Romeo announced they would be retaining their line up for 2021, and Giovinazzi celebrated with a strong 14th place finish. Raikkonen finished an unremarkable 17th.
Williams also confirmed that they would be keeping their line up for next year. However, this was a downbeat session for the British team. Russell had an unhampered session, but fell to 18th, while Latifi had a break by wire failure and finished 20th.
Fans will be excited to see how the 2020 spec cars take Imola at full speed. But with limited practice, there are many unsolved questions which may define the weekend for many of the teams.
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