Ferrari made a fast start to the first of two home races this year for the Scuderia at Imola, with Leclerc and Sainz trading quickest times on both the full wet and intermediate tyre compounds. 

Leclerc spun three times before eventually claiming top spot with a 1m29.402s as track conditions improved towards the end of the 60-minute session.

Reigning world champion Max Verstappen finished half a second down on the dominant Ferrari duo in third place for Red Bull, while Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton was only 18th. 

Haas duo Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher appeared to relish the tricky conditions on their way to finishing fourth and fifth fastest respectively, albeit some three-seconds off the outright pace of Leclerc. 

Hamilton: Lack of grip ahead of F1 Emilia Romagna GP

Sergio Perez and Fernando Alonso took sixth and seventh for Red Bull and Alpine, while Sebastian Vettel, Yuki Tsunoda and George Russell completed the rest of the top-10 order for Aston Martin, AlphaTauri and Mercedes. 

Russell’s Mercedes teammate Hamilton complained of a lack of grip throughout the session as he struggled for pace and ultimately ended up a lowly-18th, a full seven seconds down. 

Several drivers struggled to keep their cars on track throughout FP1, with Lando Norris causing a brief red flag when he beached his McLaren in the gravel at Turn 14. 

Meanwhile, Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas narrowly avoided the barriers when he suffered a big spin as the session drew to a close. 

With Imola staging the first sprint event of 2022, the drivers will head straight into qualifying at 5pm local time (4pm BST) to set the grid for Saturday’s sprint race. 

The results of the sprint will then determine the grid for Sunday’s grand prix.