Formula One’s first European race of the season takes place on Sunday afternoon, as the teams and drivers face the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola.
The first sprint race of the 2022 season took place on Saturday and it was Red Bull’s Max Verstappen who claimed pole position for Sunday’s main event, just edging ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc on the penultimate lap. With the teammates of each of those two on the second row, it’s McLaren who fill the third on the grid, Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo both looking to continue their fine starts to the campaign. But while Alpine, Haas and Alfa Romeo all have at least one driver in the top 10 to start at Imola, Mercedes pair George Russell (11th) and Lewis Hamilton (14th) face another dismal weekend which has left the seven-time world champion already writing off the year.
Last year Verstappen beat Hamilton after overtaking him on the very first corner, with Norris claiming the other podium spot – and despite the Belgian-Dutch racer starting in top spot this time around, his teammate Sergio Perez is looking to claim victory himself.
Follow all the latest updates from the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix below:
Harry Latham Coyle24 April 2022 11:50
Max Verstappen still no fan of sprint races despite Imola win
A fine victory for Max Verstappen yesterday, fighting back after a rough start to proceedings to pass Charles Leclerc and strike the first significant blow of the weekend at Ferrari’s home circuit. But if it was up to the reigning world champion, he wouldn’t have got the chance – despite the win, Verstappen still isn’t keen on sprint race weekends.
“I’m still not a fan of sprint races because in the end it doesn’t change anything,” Verstappen explained yesterday.
“It doesn’t matter if you have such a good fight during the sprint race or during the actual race. I just like the way the whole weekend goes much better with a normal weekend schedule.”
Harry Latham Coyle24 April 2022 11:38
Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – Updated Championship standings after sprint race
Plenty more points and prizes to be won today, but here’s how things are looking after yesterday’s totting up. Not particularly pretty for Mercedes.
Harry Latham Coyle24 April 2022 11:26
Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – the rain is falling…
It’s been a weekend of wild weather in northern Italy, and the wet stuff is coming down again a few hours before the lights go out. It looks likely to be a damp one.
Harry Latham Coyle24 April 2022 11:22
Emilia Romagna Grand Prix
Race day number two in Imola on the first sprint race weekend of 2022 – and how good was the format’s season debut yesterday afternoon?
Harry Latham Coyle24 April 2022 11:19
F1 grid today: Starting positions for Emilia Romagna Grand Prix
Emilia Romagna Grand Prix starting grid
1. Max Verstappen – Red Bull
3. Sergio Perez – Red Bull
5. Lando Norris – McLaren
6. Daniel Ricciardo – McLaren
7. Valterri Bottas – Alfa Romeo
8. Kevin Magnussen-Haas
9. Fernando Alonso – Alpine
10. Mick Schumacher-Hass
11. George Russell-Mercedes
12. Yuki Tsunoda – AlphaTauri
13. Sebastian Vettel-Aston Martin
14. Lewis Hamilton-Mercedes
15. Lance Stroll – Aston Martin
16. Esteban Ocon – Alpine
17. Pierre Gasly – AlphaTauri
18. Alex Albon-Williams
19. Nicholas Latifi-Williams
20. Guanyu Zhou – Alfa Romeo
Karl Matchett24 April 2022 10:51
Lewis Hamilton writes off F1 world title chances after woeful sprint race showing
The seven-time world champion crossed the line an eye-watering 41.4 seconds behind winner Max Verstappen after just 21 laps of racing in Imola.
World champion Verstappen passed Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc on the penultimate lap to take the checkered flag and secure pole position for Sunday’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
But Hamilton endured another woeful afternoon in his desperately uncompetitive Mercedes machine.
The British driver started 13th before dropping two places on the opening lap.
Hamilton regained one spot when he passed Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll but, after failing to score, he is already 50 points behind Leclerc in the championship standings – the equivalent of two victories.
And, with Saturday’s result deciding the grid for Sunday’s main event, Hamilton faces losing even further ground in the title race.
“We are obviously not fighting for the championship,” said the 37-year-old.
“We are fighting to understand the car, improve and progress through the year. That’s all we can hope for now.
“Ultimately we haven’t got it right, but everyone’s working as hard as they can to reverse it.”
More from the Mercedes camp as Toto Wolff explains heated conversation with Hamilton:
Karl Matchett24 April 2022 10:49