F1 practice LIVE: Latest updates from Emilia Romagna Grand Prix practice at rainy Imola before qualifying:



<p> Friday practice will give F1 drivers their first opportunity of the weekend to get to grips with Imola </p>
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Friday practice will give F1 drivers their first opportunity of the weekend to get to grips with Imola:

(AFP via Getty Images)

Follow all the latest updates from practice at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at a rainy Imola as the teams prepare for qualifying later on Friday afternoon.

Several teams are trying to get to grips with issues which have plagued them in the opening rounds and correct them this weekend, although the wet weather will not make life easy. Red Bull have seen reigning champion Max Verstappen fail to finish twice in the first three races of the season, although the potential they retain was evident when he won the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in round two. Either side of that triumph, it was Charles Leclerc who was the victor, while his Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz has signed a new contract with the team.

Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes are still expecting to “challenge for wins” across the course of the season despite thier current lack of pace, though Toto Wolff has insisted it will “take time” for the team to fix the problems they have with porpoising and controlling the air flow under the new car.

Hamilton is staying positive about getting in the mix, but Mercedes won’t be making any big changes to their car for the Emilia Romagna GP due to fewer practice sessions. That’s because the first sprint race of the campaign is on Saturday, pushing qualifying forward to Friday afternoon and the race being in its usual Sunday slot.

Follow all the latest updates from Friday practice at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix below:

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‘It’s difficult to say’: Max Verstappen in the dark over whether Red Bull have fixed reliability problems:

The 24-year-old, who claimed his first world championship in dramatic fashion last season, has endured a mixed start to the 2022 F1 campaign.

But similar issues then emerged again in Australia as Verstappen’s engine overheated, causing him to suffer another DNF. The two reliability issues have seen the Dutchman fall 46 points behind drivers’ championship leader Charles Leclerc.

Michael Jones:22 April 2022 14:40:

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F1 drivers push for sprint race changes:

Formula One drivers would favor further adjustments to the sprint race format, notably to make it a standalone event rather than deciding grid for Sunday’s grand prix.

The introduction of the sprint races were a new innovation brought in at the start of the 2021 season and this year they will be held at the Emilia-Romagna, Austrian and Sao Paulo Grands Prix.

Modifications have already been made for the 2022 season, with the points system being tweaked. Now the top eight drivers score points, where previously it was just the top three finishers. It’s also more lucrative as the driver who finishes P1 will receive eight points, rather than three last year.

Despite the alterations, criticism remains surrounding the fact the result of the sprint race determines the grid for the full points-paying grand prix on Sunday and that there is also reduced incentive to risk an overtake.

Autosport: have reported that the F1 is therefore considering developing the sprint race into a standalone event for next season.

Luke Baker:22 April 2022 14:26:

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Lewis Hamilton struggles again as Ferrari quickest at Imola practice ahead of qualifying:

A fortnight on from a sun-drenched Melbourne, Formula One reconvened at a rain-hit Imola for the fourth round of the new season.

Leclerc, who has won two of the opening three races, holds a commanding 34-point lead at the top of the championship.

And despite a number of off-track excursions, he led the way here in the sole running before qualifying later on Friday.

But Mercedes’ early-season woes showed few signs of changing with George Russell only 10th, and team-mate Hamilton even further back, seven seconds off Leclerc’s pace.

Luke Baker:22 April 2022 14:14:

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What is a sprint race in F1 and how does it 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 checkered 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 Jones:22 April 2022 14:05:

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Emilia Romagna practice 1:

Contrasting fortunes for Haas and Mercedes.

Michael Jones:22 April 2022 13:55:

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A perfect start:

Will Ferrari pick up where they’ve left off?

Michael Jones:22 April 2022 13:52:

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Ferrari lead the way:

It was an interesting practice session. Ferrari stormed into the lead but there’s a feeling of more to come from the Red Bulls.

Mercedes struggled with porpoising and grip especially on the wet tires and they’ll be looking at improvements ahead of qualifying at 4pm.

Haas will also be hoping for a good result when they head back out in a couple of hours time.

Michael Jones:22 April 2022 13:51:

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Emilia Romagna practice 1:

(AFP via Getty Images)

(AFP via Getty Images)

(AFP via Getty Images)

Michael Jones:22 April 2022 13:48:

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Emilia Romagna practice 1:

Michael Jones:22 April 2022 13:44:

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Emilia Romagna practice 1:

“I’ve had no grip” Hamilton radioed back to the Mercedes garage.

He’s only posted the 18th fastest time in practice and was +7.062 secs behind Leclerc’s time of 1: 29.402 secs.

Michael Jones:22 April 2022 13:42:

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