2020 Formula 1 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix, time trial

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In sunny weather, with asphalt temperatures of 26 degrees and air temperatures of 19 degrees Celsius, this year’s thirteenth time trial training began in Imola at the 2020 Formula One Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix. Based on the results of the third free practice, Mercedes seemed to be the favorite, but Max Verstappen also did well with Red Bull and Pierre Gasly also excelled with AlphaTauri.

A Q1 at the start of the chaotic Kevin Magnussen, as well as Nicholas Latifi, who struggled with brake failures in the third free practice and therefore spent less time on the field, drove the field for the first time with Williams. The other pilots did not wait long in the garages either, everyone benefited from some extra experience of the Imola asphalt strip and the settings of the cars.

Lewis Hamilton quickly jumped to the edge behind the wheel of the Mercedes while Valtteri Bottas took the throttle due to traffic. The two AlphaTauri did exceptionally well, behind the Mercedes they seemed to be the strongest cars, even faster than Max Verstappen’s Red Bull Pierre Gasly and Danyiil Kvjat. The order was then stirred up by Charles Leclerc, who also took the lead for a short time.

Bottas’ timer didn’t go well, he lost his second lap after the traffic due to the boundaries of the track: he was 19th 7 minutes before Q1 was knocked down. The race management strictly monitored the track boundaries, especially bends 9, 13 and 15 – the latter being the exit of the smoothie at the beginning of the last sector. Red Bull’s Alexander Albon did the same, by the way, he was taken away and placed in the relegation zone.

By the end of the first part of the qualification, Hamilton, Bottas and Albon were also able to improve. The two Haas, the two Alfa Romeo and the williamses Nicholas Latifi did not make it in the end. Kevin Magnussen’s chances of passing were permanently floated in the gravel bed, while Kimi Räikkönen’s originally advancing lap time was taken due to the widening of the track.

A Q2-I the teams started tactics when it comes to tire choices: a pair of Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari using medium tires, while everyone else was trying to move forward using red sidewall, soft Pirelles.

After the first measured laps, Bottas led Hamilton, while Verstappen complained of a lack of strength, not making a measured lap. The problem seemed serious, with Red Bull falling hard on him in the back of the car.

The two Ferraris didn’t come in with medium rubber tactics: even Williamses Geroge Russell proved to be faster than Leclerc and Sebasstian Vettel. The order of strength was mixed behind the Mercedes, but Pierre Gasly seemed the strongest of all with the AlphaTauri.

While Red Bull was trying to do a miracle with his Verstappen car, Albon almost smashed the other energy drink car. Circumstances were also aggravated by the fact that Vettel put a lot of gravel on the track in the turn to the finish line.

For the second run, the Ferraris switched to soft tires, but that didn’t help Vettel either, the German didn’t get any further, he only finished 14th. Verstappen’s car was also put together by Red Bull, the Dutchman ran a single measured lap on the medium tires to get enough laps to advance. Two Racing Points, Esteban Ocon (Renault) and George Russell (Williams) were also eliminated.

A Q3-as after the first rises, Hamilton took the lead ahead of Bottas and Verstappen. They were followed by Gasly, Albon and Leclerc. The Mercedes defending champion even managed to take the lead by pinching the edge of the gravel bed in the final corner. Albon, who struggled a lot with the track boundaries, couldn’t be happy for long: he was cold again, taking his first Q3 lap.

Everyone put on new tires for the finale. Of the best, Gasly rolled first onto the track, followed by Hamilton and Bottas, then Leclerc and Verstappen. Both Mercedes drivers improved at the time, but Bottas eventually jumped Hamilton by 97 regiments, taking the 15th pole position of his career. Behind the pair, Verstappen finished third and Gasly flew AlphaTauri to fourth.

Daniel Ricciardo finished fifth with Renault, ahead of Alexander Albon, who was again knocked out by his Red Bull teammate. Seventh place went to Leclerc, and the top ten label places were shared by Kvjat and the two McLaren in the order of Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz.

The 2020 Formula One Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix starts at 13.10 on Sunday afternoon.

Image source (s): Getty Images, Mercedes

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