F1 Sprint Race LIVE! Emilia Romagna GP stream, updates and news as Max Verstappen wins Imola event today

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·22-min read
F1 Sprint Race LIVE! Emilia Romagna GP stream, updates and news as Max Verstappen wins Imola event today
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Max Verstappen won the first Formula One sprint race of the season after dramatically passing Charles Leclerc on the penultimate lap.

The Dutchman started from the front in Imola before losing the lead to Leclerc following a slow getaway. An early safety car after Guanyu Zhou crashed calmed matters before an entertaining Saturday showcase.

After a frenetic conclusion to the 21-lap dash, Verstappen ruined Ferrari's homecoming party by fighting his way ahead of Leclerc at Tamburello to take the chequered flag and pole position for tomorrow's main event.

But there was further misery for Lewis Hamilton after he started 13th and finished only 14th. George Russell could do little better, coming home 11th despite being quickest in second practice earlier in the day.

Sergio Perez took third ahead of Ferrari's Carlos Sainz with Lando Norris fifth for McLaren.

Leclerc is now 40 points clear of second-placed Sainz in the standings, with Hamilton 51 points back.

Emilia Romagna GP latest

  • Verstappen wins the sprint!

16:46 , Marc Mayo

Max Verstappen left it late to win the first F1 sprint race of the season, passing Charles Leclerc on the penultimate lap to upset the local Ferrari faithful.

That draws to a close our live blog for today’s track action, be sure to join us tomorrow for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix!

Read the full report.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

That winning moment

16:35 , Marc Mayo

16:30 , Marc Mayo

Charles Leclerc actually grew his lead atop the Drivers’ Championship with that second-place finish.

Check out the latest standings.

Sergio Perez reacts to finishing third

16:26 , Marc Mayo

“We looked after the tyres really well, that’s a good step but it’s only a short race so we’ll see tomorrow if we’ve made the right steps.”

Charles Leclerc gives his take

16:25 , Marc Mayo

“I had a very good start. I tried to push to get a gap and keep Max out of DRS but I paid the price a little later in the race and had some graining. It is what it is, it’s only the sprint race and we’ll learn these lessons. We need to fix the graining.”

Max reacts

16:22 , Marc Mayo

“I let the clutch go and got wheel spin, so my start was very very poor. It seemed like initially Charles was very quick and then the tyres came back and I began closing him.”

Another good day for Red Bull

16:16 , Marc Mayo

The podium

16:12 , Marc Mayo

16:08 , Marc Mayo

Leclerc tells team radio that tyre degradation hurt his Ferrari late on and Verstappen says as he hops out the car that his tyre management was key to the victory.

Nonetheless, a great reception from the tifosi for the runner-up.

The crucial moment

16:06 , Marc Mayo

CHEQUERED FLAG!

16:03 , Marc Mayo

Verstappen wins the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix sprint race!

Leclerc comes home second with Perez and Sainz following behind, it is fifth and sixth for the McLarens of Norris and Ricciardo.

A few important points to dish out then, and a fascinating grid set for tomorrow’s race!

16:02 , Marc Mayo

That might just be that for the reigning world champion who you could tell was itching to get Leclerc, firing off the throttle at the earliest opportunity as he hunted the Ferrari down.

And he has shot clear as we approach the final lap.

16:01 , Marc Mayo

“Just leave me to it,” says Verstappen over team radio before a sloppy getaway from Variante Alta leaves him a bit further back than he would have liked into the DRS zone.

No matter! He makes the overtake into Tamburello!

16:00 , Marc Mayo

Lap 19/21: It might have to be a case of into Tamburello or bust for Verstappen.

He gets out of shape around the final turn and he can only think about a dive down the outside. Leclerc holds on, for now...

15:57 , Marc Mayo

Five laps to go - and Verstappen is right on Leclerc’s tail!

15:56 , Marc Mayo

Magnussen is under huge pressure from Alonso and Bottas, the Finn running just outside the points as things stand.

Haas team radio assure the Dane that his Medium tyres should now kick in as others’ Softs drop off. In fact, it is eighth and ninth fighting as Bottas moves past Alonso.

At the front, Verstappen is edging within DRS range of Leclerc...

15:54 , Marc Mayo

Lap 14/21: Sainz takes a risk by dipping his front-left on the paint as he swoops past Ricciardo into Tamburello, but it’s job done with Ferrari and Red Bull now occupying four of the top five places.

Norris, fourth, and Ricciardo, sixth, are still for a nice little return for McLaren.

15:52 , Marc Mayo

DRS is proving a useful tool once again this weekend with Perez gliding past Norris for third place.

That Red Bull is quick but Verstappen is still 1.4 seconds off Leclerc, is he holding something back?

The Ferrari is also rather decent, as Sainz shows by getting Magnussen for sixth.

15:49 , Marc Mayo

Lap 11/21: Halfway now and a train is forming behind fifth-placed Magnussen, with Ricciardo chasing him and desperate to make the move amid pressure from Sainz in the Ferrari behind.

Into Tamburello and the Aussie makes it stick!

15:47 , Marc Mayo

Swiftly done by the Mexican and Red Bull now run second and fourth, with Norris in between.

A fair bit of overtaking going on around Imola, will we see a big battle at the front in the next 12 laps? Leclerc is maintaining his second-plus lead but Verstappen is keeping pace.

15:45 , Marc Mayo

Lap 7/21: Sainz gets Alonso down the start/finish straight after some trademark tough-but-fair defending from the Alpine veteran.

That was for seventh with Perez right on Magnussen’s back for fourth.

15:43 , Marc Mayo

Leclerc has just over a second on Verstappen. Further back, both Hamilton and Russell have lost places and are running 15th and 12th, respectively.

Meanwhile, Magnussen in fourth is handed a black-and-white warning flag from the stewards for weaving on the straight. The replays showed that to be a pretty cut and dry case.

15:42 , Marc Mayo

Here we go...

Leclerc bursts clear of Verstappen and Alonso, in seventh, very nearly stacks it at Tamburello - with Sainz desperate to pounce but so far held off.

15:40 , Marc Mayo

Lap 4/21: Zhou shouted “what is going on?!” after being sent into the wall but he probably didn’t give Gasly enough room with stewards deeming no further action necessary.

Safety car in this lap.

15:38 , Marc Mayo

“Lovely gear sync, that,” Verstappen tells team radio after a really slow getaway. Even Norris nearly pounced with Magnussen and Ricciardo not far behind.

The Aussie did make contact with the Haas at a pretty mega Turn 1-tussle.

SAFETY CAR

15:34 , Marc Mayo

Zhou is out! His Alfa Romeo has crashed. Gasly also has a bust right-front tyre after contact with the Chinese rookie that sent him into the wall. Fortuantely not a big impact.

The AlphaTauri driver is furious over the radio as he trudges back to the pits.

LIGHTS OUT!

15:33 , Marc Mayo

And away we go with Leclerc leading into Turn 1!

The formation lap begins...

15:30 , Marc Mayo

Soft tyres for all apart from the Haas cars, and Alonso is slow getting away but finally gets going after a moment.

15:25 , Marc Mayo

A couple of dark clouds overhead but the sun is peaking through, the official 40 per cent risk of rain verdict feels a bit high.

15:22 , Marc Mayo

The drivers are hopping into their cars with Leclerc getting a roaring reception from the tifosi fans driving Ferrari towards a victory this weekend.

15:18 , Marc Mayo

Eight points are on offer to the winner today, an increase from the three handed out in last season’s sprints.

The top eight finishers will all receive points too, in a bid to drum up more action in this 21-lap dash.

Check out the Drivers’ Championship standings ahead of the race.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Imola stat attack!

15:14 , Marc Mayo

Qualifying recap

15:09 , Marc Mayo

Max Verstappen put his Red Bull on pole position for today’s sprint with a timely hot lap in a hugely disrupted session.

A total of five red flags for drawn out as changing conditions led to many a spill on the Imola tarmac.

Read the full story.

How they will line up for the start

15:04 , Marc Mayo

Here’s your 30-minute warning!

14:59 , Marc Mayo

The cars are about to make their way to the grid...

14:55 , Marc Mayo

Haas boss Guenther Steiner has told Kevin Magnussen to be on the attack despite clocking in a very decent fourth place in qualifying for today’s sprint race.

“I’m a racer – if there’s something to go for, we go for it,” he said.

“Overtaking is not easy here but it depends a bit on the start; first of all we need to protect the position we start in into the first turn but I think we can do a good race.

“We will try our best because it’s important, now you can score points or more points are in the Sprint. We cannot say we don’t take any risks or nothing – we take calculated risks and try to do the best this afternoon.”

FP2 recap

14:47 , Marc Mayo

George Russell was surprise fastest for Mercedes in the final free practice ahead of Formula One's first sprint race of the season.

Russell led the session, on a dry afternoon that started sunny but turned cloudy, with a best lap of one minute 19.457 seconds on soft tyres.

Red Bull's Sergio Perez was second quickest, 0.081 slower, with Ferrari's championship leader Charles Leclerc third on the timesheets and Mercedes' seven times world champion Lewis Hamilton fourth.

Some saw Saturday's session, with Mercedes on top for the first time this season, as more indicative of the team doing performance runs in dry conditions rather than finding any significant solutions.

14:40 , Marc Mayo

Sir Lewis Hamilton has spoken passionately about how his childhood playing football in the streets led to his bid to help buy Chelsea from Roman Abramovich.

Along with Serena Williams, Hamilton is pouring millions of pounds of his own money into one of the competing bids to buy the club, in a consortium headed by Sir Martin Broughton.

The seven-time Formula One champion is an Arsenal fan but gave an insight into his family connection with the Blues, with his uncle Terry a devoted follower of the club.

“I’ve been a football fan since I was a kid, I played from the age of four to 17 in teams every year,” he said on Friday.

Read the full story.

Is it possible to get tired of helmet cam?

14:34 , Marc Mayo

Israel switch for Ferrari junior Shwartzman

14:29 , Marc Mayo

Ferrari's Russian test driver Robert Shwartzman will use an Israeli licence if he makes any Formula One practice appearances this season, team boss Mattia Binotto has said.

The 22-year-old, who was runner-up in Formula 2 last season, could participate in two Friday sessions this year under a new rule to give young drivers more experience.

“Robert is born in Israel, he's got an Israeli passport," Binotto told reporters today. “In terms of licence, it's not a Russian one.

“At the moment he's still our test driver and he will remain as that. If we will have in the future any opportunities to let him drive, we will probably let him drive.”

Problems for Ricciardo and Bottas kept them out of FP2

14:23 , Marc Mayo

14:17 , Marc Mayo

Mercedes-powered Aston Martin and Williams have expressed an interest in joining forces with Audi should the Volkswagen Group-owned brand decide to enter Formula One from 2026.

Volkswagen said this month that it was open to entering F1 with Porsche and Audi but did not say how it planned to do so.

“I think for any team who has not a manufacturer on his side it's super-appealing to have this possibility," Aston Martin team boss Mike Krack told reporters. “We would be lying if we say we are not interested in something like that. I would be very interested to talk.”

Williams team principal Jost Capito, a previous head of Volkswagen Motorsport, said the same would apply to his outfit if the German carmaker's board decided to take the plunge.

Constructors’ standings

14:05 , Marc Mayo

Ferrari arrive home to Imola with a sturdy 39-point lead over Mercedes in the Formula One Constructors’ Championship for 2022.

Check out the full standings.

Leclerc’s car almost swapped ends at Variante Alta in FP2

13:59 , Marc Mayo

Weekend preview

13:54 , Marc Mayo

“This weekend’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix will see the tifosi paint the stands red in hope of another victory for championship-leading Ferrari — but conditions could well throw up a surprise.”

Read our preview of this weekend at Imola.

Start time

13:48 , Marc Mayo

The sprint race gets underway at 3.30pm BST and will last for around half an hour.

Weather update

13:40 , Marc Mayo

The sun has abated a touch in Emilia Romagna since the morning but there is little to no sign of any rain ahead of the sprint race.

The air temperature is a comfortable 20.6°C with track temperature rising past 32°C.

How to watch

13:35 , Marc Mayo

TV channel: The sprint race will be shown live on Sky Sports Main Event and F1, with coverage beginning at 2.30pm BST before lights out at 3.30pm.

Live stream: Sky Sports subscribers can also tune in via the Sky Go app.

Stay tuned!

13:25 , Marc Mayo

We will be bringing you live coverage of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix sprint race with lights out in two hours’ time.

13:15 , Jonathan Gorrie

McLaren react

12:59 , Jonathan Gorrie

A reminder of the schedule

12:46 , Jonathan Gorrie

Charles Leclerc gives back

12:43 , Jonathan Gorrie

How it looks

12:40 , Jonathan Gorrie

CHEQUERED FLAG

12:32 , Marc Mayo

And that is that!

Russell is fastest in FP2 ahead of Perez, just 0.81 seconds behind and on a slower tyre, with Leclerc, Hamilton, and Alonso in the top five.

No Soft tyre times set by Sainz and Verstappen, the Ferrari man having the advantage in that battle by under a tenth of a second.

12:29 , Marc Mayo

McLaren have fixed up Norris’ brake issues in time for one last dash around Imola for the young Brit, although Bottas and Ricciardo will complete the session without leaving the garage.

12:27 , Marc Mayo

The big yellow kerbs on the chicane at Variante Alta have cause problems for a few drivers today with Leclerc bouncing over them before sliding into the straight, which he just corrects in time before losing his rear end.

Sainz then comes through too hot and simply skips the chicance altogether.

12:24 , Marc Mayo

Leclerc posts a 1:19.740 on the Softs to go third, still a couple of tenths down on that blistering Perez lap on a slower tyre.

The top five currently features two Mercedes, a Red Bull, a Ferrari, and an Alpine...

12:18 , Marc Mayo

The live timing screen is showing plenty of yellow right now, as drivers clock slower times than earlier in the session - a sign that either fuel load has gone up or their long runs are continuing.

But Perez, on the Mediums, ups his personal best to go within 0.138 seconds of Russell.

Ten minutes to go.

12:14 , Marc Mayo

Leclerc is out on the Softs, along with Hamilton, Ocon and Magnussen for the final 15 minutes of the session.

No improvement from the Brit but Leclerc goes second, just over a quarter of a second off Russell.

12:08 , Marc Mayo

Plenty of laps going in now with the Aston Martin pair of Vettel and Stroll clocking the most, 22 and 23 respectively, before Hamilton.

Russell is the only other driver to pass 20 with the Alpine, Haas and Ferrari of Leclerc near the bottom of the lap counts.

Halfway stage

12:01 , Marc Mayo

And with 30 minutes left Russell goes quickest... With a 1:19.457 on the Softs, a tyre which will surely prove not durable enough for the sprint race later?

The timesheets might not change much too with long runs the order of the day for most of those currently out on track, and a few yet to even use the Softs.

McLaren can only dream of such a time though with Ricciardo’s car still covered in mechanics and Norris heading into the garage reporting a brake issue.

11:56 , Marc Mayo

Russell slides into second with a lap barely 0.05 seconds quicker than Hamilton, will we see Verstappen and the Ferraris respond?

Sainz is down in eighth and Leclerc, yet to set a time on the Softs, ninth.

11:49 , Marc Mayo

Hamilton goes second with a 1:20.023 with his splits showing his pace coming from the technical second sector, with the power-intense front and back straights where his Mercedes is losing time due to the porpoising issue.

Tsunoda and Albon fill out the top five as things stand, amongst the Red Bulls, with it worth pointing out that we do not know the fuel load and engine settings deployed in this session.

11:47 , Marc Mayo

Only Ricciardo and Bottas not out yet with the Aussie’s McLaren busily worked on as he watches the garage screens.

11:45 , Marc Mayo

Perez goes first with a 1:19.815 on the Softs, three quarters of a second ahead of Verstappen who runs wide at Acque Minerali and chomps on some kerb as a result.

Meanwhile, Hamilton bounces his Mercedes into Tamburello and has to cut across the grass as his brakes fail to slow him down in time.

11:38 , Marc Mayo

“I had a big drop in power just now,” Hamilton tells team radio as Mercedes make it barely half a minute into the session before encountering an issue.

A 1:21.880 from the Brit nonetheless briefly puts him top of the timesheet as just the third runner to complete a lap, with most running only preliminary laps to check their cars before putting the pedal to the metal.

11:34 , Marc Mayo

After yesterday’s rain this practice session will be vital for planning both the sprint and the race, or at least the dry part of it.

Leclerc is out on the Mediums which are likely to be the tyre du jour for the sprint, as is Hamilton. Verstappen on the Softs.

Green light!

11:31 , Marc Mayo

Second practice is underway at Imola!

11:24 , Marc Mayo

There is talk of Valtteri Bottas not being able to make the start of FP2 in five minutes’ time due to a problem with his Alfa Romeo.

Which is at least an excuse to show the team’s lovely tweet earlier.

11:19 , Marc Mayo

Mattia Binotto has backed Carlos Sainz to deal with the pressure of driving for Ferrari after his second crash in as many weeks.

The Scuderia boss said: “I think that he has done a couple of mistakes, which are important. But nevertheless, I think that he is improving himself, he is going faster and faster.

“And if I look yesterday, when he was driving, he was really driving fast. A shame, because when he went off, I think it was not the right time to push to the limits. He knows very well.

“I think that's a matter of managing the pressure. Maybe for the first time in his career that he's got a car which is fast enough to compete for the best positions. And he simply needs to get used to that. But he will do it very quickly.”

How Max Verstappen conquered the wet

11:15 , Marc Mayo

11:07 , Marc Mayo

Lewis Hamilton has laid out his vision for Chelsea as part of a consortium bidding to buy the Premier League club.

With the seven-time world champion’s Formula One career set to take precedent for at least the next couple of years, he plans to one day become more hands-on at Stamford Bridge if Sir Martin Broughton is successful in leading a takeover.

“At the moment my primary focus is continuing in Formula One, this isn’t my first investment but it’s something I’m excited about,” he told reporters in Italy on Friday.

Read the full story.

A lot of work to do for these guys today

10:58 , Marc Mayo

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell struggled greatly on the wet tyres yesterday, will the conditions be more favourable today?

F3 result

10:51 , Marc Mayo

Already today, we’ve had a Formula 3 sprint race with Franco Colapinto coming out on top for his maiden win in the reserve series.

Weather update

10:45 , Marc Mayo

Unlike yesterday, we are set for a glorious day in the Italian sun.

Air temperature is a moderate 18.7°C with track temperature climbing and now at 31°C.

There is no chance of showers until about 9pm local time so unless that arrives very early these conditions will prevail.

How to watch practice

10:37 , Marc Mayo

TV channel: The session will be shown live on Sky Sports F1.

Live stream: Sky Sports subscribers can also tune in via the Sky Go app.

Session times

10:31 , Marc Mayo

A second practice session kicks things off today, at 11.30am BST before sprint qualifying at 3.30pm.

Good morning!

10:27 , Marc Mayo

Welcome to Standard Sport’s coverage of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix track action this Saturday.

We have second practice and the sprint race to look forward to, so buckle up as we prepare for another fantastic day of F1 racing!

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