Max Verstappen throws down the gauntlet ahead of Emilia Romagna GP qualifying


After a tricky day on Friday, Max Verstappen has fired warning shots to Mercedes by setting a blisteringly fast lap in final practice ahead of qualifying for the Emilia Romagna GP on Saturday.

Verstappen had a driveshaft failure yesterday in second practice, while his team-mate Sergio Perez clashed with Alpine’s Esteban Ocon which resulted in a puncture.

Lewis Hamilton described Red Bull’s day as ‘messy’, and warned we hadn’t seen the best of the team yet.

And it appears he was right, as Verstappen pulled out half a second on second place Lando Norris, with Hamilton a tenth slower than the Brit in third, all running the soft compound of tyres.

But with Hamilton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who took pole around this tricky and fast circuit last year, ending P10 – it may not be representative of Mercedes’ pace come qualifying this afternoon.

Lewis Hamilton not convinced by dominance after practice sessions

Mercedes were top in both FP1 and 2 yesterday, but Hamilton was adamant it didn’t tell the full story of the day.

“The team worked very hard to understand what happened in the last race where we were weak and to see if we can try to tweak the car for a better set-up.

“I also think the track has come a little bit more in our direction.

” We started off with a really good set-up today, a few tweaks here and there but no major issues. So far, good pace from us this weekend.


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