FP3: Max pulls one back against Merc, Latifi sees red

Date published: April 17 2021 - Michelle Foster

Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen pulled one back against Mercedes in FP3 at Imola where 13 drivers had lap times deleted for track limit violations and Nicholas Latifi crashed.

Track limits and lost lap times dominated Saturday’s final practice for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, and did so almost from the very first minute.

F1 race director Michael Masi announced on Saturday morning that he had revised the track limits for the Imola week, stating that from final practice the track limits would no longer be enforced at Turn 13, while drivers were also free to run across the kerbs at the Varianta Alta chicane. Turns 9 and 15 would still be monitored.

It was Turn 9 that proved to be the difficult one for the drivers.

Kimi Raikkonen understeered midway through Turn 9 on the very first lap of the morning, his out-lap, and had his time deleted.

60 minutes later, 12 other drivers had added their names to the list including Mick Schumacher, Nikita Mazepin, Lando Norris, Fernando Alonso, Sergio Perez, Charles Leclerc, Valtteri Bottas, Max Verstappen, Yuki Tsunoda, Lewis Hamilton, Daniel Ricciardo and Lance Stroll.

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The session was red flagged with midway through the hour as Nicholas Latifi went skidding through the gravel and into the barrier at the Variante Villeneuve.

Latifi kept the car running, reversed out of the barrier and made his way back to the pits with a broken front wing. The session restarted after a six-minute stoppage.

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Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull, AlphaTauri and McLaren were all in the hunt for the fastest time with five different teams in the top six slots.

Leclerc setting the pace midway through the session before he lost P1 to Perez, who in turn was beaten by Bottas. The P1 time down to a 1:15.984.

Verstappen, who had a big moment Turn 13 where he was launched off the kerb and went airborne, bounced back to go quickest but soon lost out to Gasly and then Hamilton with Norris in the McLaren fastest with 10 minutes to go. His time a 1:15.414.

Verstappen put in a late run to take P1 with a 1:14.958, 0.456s up on Norris with Hamilton third, a further tenth down.

Antonio Giovinazzi had a late spin while Yuki Tsunoda let Perez know he thought about him holding him up. “F*** Perez, he doesn’t even look! It’s f**king paradise – traffic paradise – what is this one?” said the AlphaTauri rookie.

Times

1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:14.958 18 laps (soft tyres)
2 Lando Norris McLaren 0.456s 17 laps (soft tyres)
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 0.557s 18 laps (soft tyres)
4 Sergio Perez Red Bull 0.593s 18 laps (soft tyres)
5 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 0.780s 21 laps (soft tyres)
6 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 0.932s 21 laps (medium tyres)
7 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 0.950s 21 laps (soft tyres)
8 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 0.950s 19 laps (soft tyres)
9 Fernando Alonso Alpine 1.228s 20 laps (soft tyres)
10 Esteban Ocon Alpine 1.270s 20 laps (soft tyres)
11 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 1.272s 20 laps (soft tyres)
12 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1.287s 19 laps (soft tyres)
13 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 1.295s 17 laps (soft tyres)
14 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 1.431s 19 laps (soft tyres)
15 George Russell Williams 1.469s 20 laps (soft tyres)
16 Mick Schumacher Haas 1.856s 22 laps (soft tyres)
17 Nicholas Latifi Williams 1.579s 15 laps (soft tyres)
18 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing 1.654s 22 laps (soft tyres)
19 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Racing 1.845s 23 laps (soft tyres)
20 Nikita Mazepin Haas 2.440s 23 laps (soft tyres)

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