Formula One: Piastri on top at Imola as McLaren lead Ferrari in final practice

AFP , Saturday 18 May 2024

Oscar Piastri topped the times ahead of McLaren team-mate Lando Norris in Saturday’s incident-filled third and final practice ahead of this weekend's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Oscar Piastri
McLaren's Australian driver Oscar Piastri drives during the third practice session at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari race track in Imola, Italy, on May 18, 2024, ahead of the Formula One Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. Photo: AFP


The Australian outpaced the Briton by three-tenths of a second ahead of both Ferraris as two crashes – involving Fernando Alonso of Aston Martin and Red Bull's Sergio Perez – brought out red flags.

George Russell of Mercedes was fifth ahead of Red Bull's struggling three-time world champion Max Verstappen, Alex Albon of Williams, Alpine's Esteban Ocon and Lance Stroll in the second Aston Martin. Nico Hulkenberg was 10th for Haas.

In a disrupted but dramatic session it was evident that Red Bull were unable to reproduce their normal dominating form, offering the prospect of a straight scrap between the McLaren and Ferrari teams in qualifying later Saturday.

Perez's late shunt at the Variante Alta led to a late scramble for drivers to set a fast lap time with Norris, upbeat after his maiden win in Miami two weeks ago, showing confidence to produce an improved time.

Verstappen was among those unable to find a quick qualifying-style lap in the final minutes of a confusing session with several drivers involved in entanglements that left many frustrated.

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