Mercedes took the lead for the first time this season in the penultimate F1 practice session before the Imola sprint race, with George Russell setting the pace.

Russell set a time of 1m19.457s on soft Pirelli tires in dry circumstances at the Autodromo Internationale Enzo e Dino Ferrari ahead of the first sprint race of the 2022 season, finishing just 0.081s ahead of Red Bull’s Sergio Perez.

For Ferrari, Charles Leclerc was third fastest, 0.283s slower than Russell’s benchmark pace, while Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton placed fourth, half a second slower than his teammate.

Alpine’s Fernando Alonso was fifth, ahead of Carlos Sainz of the second Ferrari. Reigning world champion Max Verstappen, who beat Leclerc to pole position for the sprint race in Friday qualifying, was seventh, about a second behind the leaders.

Yuki Tsunoda and Pierre Gasly of AlphaTauri, as well as Alfa Romeo’s F1 rookie Guanyu Zhou, rounded out the top ten.

It was the penultimate chance for teams and drivers to dial in their machinery ahead of the first Sprint Race of the 2022 Formula One season on Saturday afternoon. FP2 at Imola took place in dry circumstances, in contrast to those that prevailed during FP1 and Qualifying on Friday.

Setting up the cars proved to be a struggle due to the restricted practice sessions due to the Sprint Race this weekend, with the rain on Friday throwing a curveball at all the teams, especially because it was the first time the new generation of cars would be tested in genuine wet track conditions.

On Friday, qualifying was difficult due to repeated Red Flags, and the mixed wet circumstances (drying then wet again) spiced up the show and threw the normal order of things off a bit, as evidenced by an Aston Martin qualifying in Q3.

The practice began with McLaren announcing that the team was investigating an issue with Daniel Ricciardo’s MCL36, while Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas remained out of his C42 because the team was still working on it after more than 15 minutes.

Bottas’ problem appeared to be related to his stoppage on the track during qualifying on Friday, which was one of the incidents that resulted in a Red flag during the session. The issue was supposedly caused by the car’s exhaust, which is being changed, but the power unit would be unaffected.

Ricciardo and Bottas were unable to participate in the session. Lando Norris retreated to the pits halfway through the practise with brake issues on his car, while McLaren began work on the #4 Papaya car, only to emerge in the final moments of the session.

Not all of the drivers that were in the top ten after Friday’s qualifying could duplicate their performance in the dry conditions of FP2, including Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin and Kevin Magnussen’s Haas, the German in 15th and the Dane in 12th.

2022 F1 EMILIA ROMAGNA GRAND PRIX – FREE PRACTICE RESULTS (2)

POSDRIVERNAT.TEAMTIME
1George RussellGBRMercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team1m19.457s
2Sergio PerezMEXOracle Bull Racing1m19.538s
3Charles LeclercMONScuderia Ferrari1m19.740s
4Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team1m19.992s
5Fernando AlonsoESPBWT Alpine F1 Team1m20.1741s
6Carlos SainzESPScuderia Ferrari1m20.258s
7Max VerstappenNEDOracle Red Bull Racing1m20.371s
8Yuki TsunodaJPNScuderia AlphaTauri1m20.381s
9Pierre GaslyFRAScuderia AlphaTauri1m20.439s
10Guanyu ZhouCHNAlfa Romeo F1 Team Orlen1m20.498s
11Alexander AlbonTHAWilliams Racing1m20.591s
12Kevin MagnussenDENHaas F1 Team1m20.740s
13Mick SchumacherGERHaas F1 Team1m20.977s
14Lance StrollCANAston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team1m21.149s
15Sebastian VettelGERAston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team1m21.155s
16Esteban OconFRABWT Alpine F1 Team1m21.179s
17Nicholas LatifiCANWilliams Racing1m21.263s
18Lando NorrisGBRMcLaren F1 Team1m23.821s
19Daniel RicciardoAUSMcLaren F1 TeamNo Time Set
20Valtteri BottasFINAlfa Romeo F1 Team OrlenNo Time Set

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