Max Verstappen announced the fastest time in the final training session for the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix to increase his chances of taking the pole position later on Saturday.
The Red Bull driver was nearly half a second faster than the rest of the package. He was 0.456 seconds ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris and 0.757 of Mercedes’ world champion Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes.
Mercedes led the two training sessions on Friday with Valteri Botas the fastest in both, just before Hamilton, as Red Bull endured a difficult start to the weekend.
Verstappen’s second practice lasted only 10 minutes after a problem with a cardan shaft.
Bottas was only eighth fastest on Saturday, almost a second slower than Verstappen.
Emilia-Romagna’s GP is the second race of the Formula 1 season. Hamilton won the opening in Bahrain last month, shortly before Verstappen after an exciting match.
This race was effectively decided when Verstappen overtook Hamilton, but went too wide on a bend and off the track. His team told him to return Hamilton’s position.
Track restrictions can also be a problem in Imola, as the times of several drivers have been erased after working extensively on Turn Nine.
Training on Saturday was briefly under red flags after Nicholas Latifi lost control of the chicane Villeneuve and slipped through the gravel and barriers.