Charles Leclerc fastest; Lewis Hamilton annoys Max Verstappen and Fernando Alonso

Charles Leclerc tops FP2 as Lewis Hamilton irks former title rivals Max Verstappen and Fernando Alonso.

Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari SF-24. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 7, Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Imola, Italy, Practice
Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari SF-24. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 7,…

Charles Leclerc kept Ferrari at the top of the timesheet in second practice to continue the Italian team’s promising start to the F1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix weekend.

Leclerc was 0.192 seconds faster than McLaren’s Oscar Piastri in Ferrari’s heavily-upgraded SF-24 as he bettered his FP1 benchmark to complete a practice clean sweep on Friday at Imola.

Yuki Tsunoda was an eye-catching third, just 0.380s off the pace, for RB.

Lewis Hamilton took fourth place ahead of Mercedes teammate George Russell and the second Ferrari of Carlos Sainz.

Max Verstappen’s struggles continued in FP2 as the reigning world champion could only finish seventh-fastest, over half a second adrift, in a scrappy session.

"My God. I don't know man. It's so difficult everything man. This time suddenly the front grips up a lot, I almost spin,” he complained over team radio.

Verstappen outpaced teammate Sergio Perez but was left angered by 2021 title rival Hamilton after the Mercedes driver got in his way.

Hamilton gestured in apology as Verstappen drove alongside the seven-time world champion and cut in front of his old rival, with the pair subsequently ruining Perez’s lap.

Fernando Alonso was also left unimpressed with Hamilton in the early stages of FP2, with the two-time world champion taking to his team radio to report: "Hamilton thinks that he's alone on the track!”

Haas’ Nico Hulkenberg was ninth quickest ahead of Alonso, who rounded out the top-10 in his upgraded Aston Martin.

Lando Norris teased the potential of his McLaren by setting two purple sectors, but aborted his soft tyre lap after dipping a wheel onto the gravel at the final corner.

That left F1’s newest winner only 12th in the FP2 order with an unrepresentative time.

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