F1 Emilia Romagna GP 2024 Qualifying: Highlights and reaction

Follow all the action on the Total Motorsport live blog as teams and drivers hit Imola for Qualifying at the 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

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Welcome to this Total-Motorsport.com F1 blog for Qualifying at the 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, coming to you from the paddock at Imola as the 2024 Formula 1 season continues on into Europe for the summer.

Imola, with its 4.909-kilometer track length, is renowned for its high-speed straights, technical corners, and unforgiving chicanes. The circuit features 19 corners, each presenting a unique challenge, from the fast-flowing Variante Tamburello to the tight and twisty Acque Minerali, especially given the unique anti-clockwise direction of the track.

Qualifying is scheduled for 16:00 local time in Imola, with all eyes on Ferrari and McLaren who have dominated the preceding practice sessions, while Red Bull look all at sea in Imola with Sergio Perez crashing into the barrier in FP3 and Max Verstappen complaining about his car.

Stay tuned as we bring you real-time updates, insights, and analysis from Qualifying. From lap times and sector splits to driver feedback and team strategies, we’ll cover all the action as it unfolds. Join us as we kick off the 2024 Emilia Romagna GP weekend with this crucial qualifying session at the historic Imola circuit!

Emilia Romagna GP 2024 Qualifying at Imola: Latest News and Updates


Qualifying report: Verstappen sees off McLaren challenge

In case you missed it, you can look back on what happened at Imola earlier today by reading out qualifying report.

Hamilton explains balance issues

“It’s been a harder day than yesterday but I still enjoyed it. I love qualifying. Saturday is always a fun day but it’s been a struggle on Saturdays for me.”

“If the balance is like that [in the race], I don’t know. Our car is on a knife edge. We are making the smallest changes from session to session, trying not to do the big changes we have done in the past.

“It felt really good yesterday, the upgrades felt great on track. For us in general, coming into today, it felt like a lack of rear end then when we got into qualifying the rear was a lot more loose than it was in previous sessions.

“All you can do is try and combat it when you are out there. But the rear temperatures end up getting hotter through the lap, so the car was sliding more and once you get to the last corner, the car feels a lot different.”

Lewis Hamilton at 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix | Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton at 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix | Mercedes

Perez blames car setup tweaks for Q2 exit

“We have been playing up and down with the car a lot. Going into Qualifying with the small margins, Q1 I started quite badly because I had a poor lap but in the end it turned out we were safe.

“This meant we started Q2 with scrubbed tyres. Once we put the new tyre on in the second run, I surprisingly picked up a lot of rear grip and got caught up with it. Going into Turn Seven I went straight and lost two-and-a-half tenths.

“I think we made some good progress with the car, like Max showed, but unfortunately from my side I didn’t get to show it in Q3. I think if we get a good amount of points tomorrow and minimise the damage, that will be very important.”

Piastri faces stewards probe

Piastri could still lose his grip on P2 after being summoned to the stewards along with Magnussen.

The McLaren star clearly impeded the Haas driver and it’s now up to the stewards to decide if he should be punished. There could be a three-place grid drop coming.

Oscar Piastri during practice for the 2024 Emilia Romagna GP | McLaren
Oscar Piastri during practice for the 2024 Emilia Romagna GP | McLaren

Norris excited by pace but McLaren star laments tiny margins

“P3 is not a bad job at all. Within a tenth both of us for P1. Tiny margins but for us as a team we have had a great weekend. Oscar did a great job and so did Max. Exciting. I can’t wait for tomorrow.

“We are getting closer. To be ahead of Ferrari is also a nice result for us. It’s going to be close, it’s going to be a good race tomorrow.

“Hopefully it’s an exciting one. Tough, especially when the lap times are so tight. A lot of it is down to Lap One, strategy and the pit stops. It’s going to be a tough race”

Piastri confident of fighting Red Bull

Speaking to F1 TV, Oscar Piastri said: “It was pretty good, a little bit of a scruffy last corner but here it’s so, so difficult to do a perfect lap. So really happy. I’ve been really comfortable with the car from the moment we put it on track yesterday.

“So close to pole, but very happy. It’s been a little while since I’ve been back up here. We’ll see what we can do (tomorrow). I think we’ve definitely been on the pace all weekend.

“You can never count out Max and Red Bull of course, like we’ve just seen, but I think the confidence is high. Of course it’s not the easiest track to overtake on, but the confidence is high that we can do something good.”

Verstappen surprised by pole position

Speaking to F1 TV, Max Verstappen said: “A really difficult weekend so far, even this morning. Incredibly happy to be on pole here. I didn’t expect that. We made some final changes before Qualifying and they seemed to make it feel better. I could push harder.

“This track is unbelievable. To be on the limit here in qualifying, close to the gravel, I touched the gravel in the last corner. I touched the gravel in the last corner and I’m still pumping. The adrenaline is still high.”

Max Verstappen at the Emilia Romagna GP | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Qualifying results

1) Max Verstappen, Red Bull

2) Oscar Piastri, McLaren

3) Lando Norris, McLaren

4) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari

5) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari

6) George Russell, Mercedes

7) Yuki Tsunoda, RB

8) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes

9) Daniel Ricciardo, RB

10) Nico Hulkenberg, Haas

Verstappen clinches pole position!

Leclerc does improve his time but not his grid position. What can Norris do? He’s less than a tenth off but it’s just not enough!

Piastri is just seven hundredths behind Verstappen. An incredible effort to leapfrog Norris! But Verstappen improved by a tenth, and that was enough to clinch pole for Red Bull.

Ferrari are P4 and P5, which will be a huge disappointment for the Tifosi in Italy.

Russell just pipped Tsunoda to sixth, with Hamilton eighth, Hulkenberg ninth and Ricciardo rounding off the top 10.

Max Verstappen during final practice ahead of the 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
Max Verstappen during final practice ahead of the 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Verstappen on provisional pole

Max Verstappen takes provisional pole with a storming lap, a 1:14.869, but the McLarens are hot on his tail and Norris is only a tenth off in P2.

Leclerc beats Piastri’s time and takes P3, he’s 0.147 of a second slower than the Red Bull. The Ferrari star has some time to find if he wants to get on the front row.

Sainz and Russell are half a second off the pace, Hamilton is a whole second down on Verstappen although he’s on used soft tyres. Ricciardo stays in the garage and will only get one lap in.

Game on at the front!

Q3 GREEN LIGHT!

It all comes down to this: the top-10 shootout with 12 minutes of high-velocity racing to the line to come.

Will Verstappen make it seven poles in a row in 2024, or is it finally going to Leclerc’s time to shine? Don’t discount the McLarens getting in on the act either.

Q2 CHECKERED FLAG: Verstappen quickest, Perez knocked out

Russell is the first of the second runners to cross the line and improves to P6, while Hamilton slots in behind him in P7. Better from Mercedes.

But Hulkenberg leapfrogs them to claim sixth. Another stellar qualifying from the Haas driver as Q3 beckons again.

Sainz also goes faster to put Ricciardo on the brink in 10th, with Perez still on a lap. But he misses out by 0.015 of a second! That means the Red Bull man will start 11th for tomorrow’s race, which is an absolute disaster for the Mexican.

ELIMINATED: 11) Perez 12) Ocon 13) Stroll 14) Albon 15) Gasly

Sergio Perez during practice ahead of the 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
Sergio Perez during practice ahead of the 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

5 MINS TO GO: Top-10 order

1) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, 1:15.328

2) Yuki Tsunoda, RB, +0.030

3) Max Verstappen, Red Bull, +0.058

4) Oscar Piastri, McLaren, +0.079

5) Lando Norris, McLaren, +0.148

6) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari, +0.374

7) Sergio Perez, Red Bull, +0.525

8) Daniel Ricciardo, RB, +0.639

9) Nico Hulkenberg, Haas, +0.779

10) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, +0.869

Leclerc quickest, Tsunoda springs surprise

Leclerc goes to the top of the timings ahead of Verstappen, and there’s less than a tenth separating the top three. Oof.

BUT HERE COMES YUKI TSUNODA… IT’S P2 FOR THE JAPANESE! Quicker than Verstappen! That is a staggering lap from the RB driver.

Yuki Tsunoda of Visa Cash App RB ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
Yuki Tsunoda of Visa Cash App RB at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

10 MINS LEFT: Red Bull flex their muscles

Hamilton beats Russell by three-thousandths of a second on their first run on the soft tyre, but they’re in the early 1minute 16s… that’s way off what McLaren, Ferrari and Red Bull have produced.

Sure enough, Verstappen posts the quickest time of the weekend with a 1:15.386 – half a second up on Perez.

Q2 GREEN LIGHT!

Lance Stroll is the first car out on track and this is where things are about to get tasty over the next 15 minutes.

It’s been so tight at the top – there really isn’t much between the 10 teams here at Imola.

Stewards investigating Piastri-Magnussen incident

Kevin Magnussen, who will start from P19 for tomorrow’s race, was furious with Piastri after the McLaren appeared to impede him on a hot lap.

The Australian could find himself in trouble as there was clear evidence from the onboard footage that he was in Magnussen’s way. That would be a real shame with McLaren looking mightily quick.

Q1 CHECKERED FLAG: Verstappen fastest, Alonso out

Wow! What a lap from Nico Hulkenberg! The Haas driver goes from P20 to P1 with a 1:15.841 before Verstappen trumps him as the checkered flag waves.

And here we have it… our first big casualty of the day! Alonso goes straight into the pits! He’s aborted the lap and will start from the back of the grid. What a nightmare for the Aston Martin man.

Hamilton, right on the cusp in P15, survives and makes it into Q2.

ELIMINATED: 16) Bottas 17 Sargeant 18) Zhou 19 Magnussen 20) Alonso

Fernando Alonso ahead of the Emilia Romagna GP at Imola
Fernando Alonso at the Emilia Romagna GP at Imola | Aston Martin F1 Team

Hamilton in peril

Albon goes quicker than Hamilton for P12 and with his team-mate Russell only a tenth off the pace at the front, the seven-time world champion needs to find some more pace.

He’ll get one more run on the soft tyre to keep himself away from the elimination zone.

5 MINS TO GO

Incredibly, there’s just two tenths separating the top seven at the moment!

There could be a few high-profile casualties if it stays like this. The track is ramping up and drivers are making mistakes, with Alonso and Logan Sargeant both going off onto the gravel.

The American is still yet to set a lap time along with his team-mate Alex Albon.

Piastri in fine form

Oscar Piastri is flying this weekend in the upgraded McLaren.

He’s the first driver in the 1:15s, going a tenth quicker than Max Verstappen at the top. The Australian is still four tenths down on the time he recorded in FP3, so there’s definitely some pace to find in the MCL44.

Oscar Piastri during practice for the 2024 Emilia Romagna GP | McLaren
Oscar Piastri during practice for the 2024 Emilia Romagna GP | McLaren

Ocon and Norris make an impression

Decent lap from Esteban Ocon, who goes top of the timings in the Alpine before Charles Leclerc beats his time by two tenths.

But Lando Norris, who nearly loses the rear at Rivazza 2, recovers well to punch in a 1:16.194. Sergio Perez crosses the line two tenths slower for P2.

Mercedes split tyre strategy

George Russell comes out from the garage on medium tyres, but it’s the quicker soft tyre for Lewis Hamilton. Russell doesn’t finish the lap, however, and heads straight into the pits.

They’ll be keen to avoid an early exit with their sights set on Q3.

Q1: GREEN LIGHT!

Here we go then! The sun is shining at Imola and it’s a glorious day for the fans.

Now we’ve got 18 minutes of exciting qualifying action to get through. Don’t go anywhere!

Alonso to take part after FP3 shunt

Fernando Alonso WILL be able to take part in qualifying despite his heavy crash in FP3.

The Aston Martin star lost his rear going into the first Rivazza, but it seems the hard-working mechanics have managed to piece his AMR24 back together.

Sky Sports F1’s Ted Kravitz reports it should be ready in time for “Fernando to have a go in Q1”.

Vasseur under no illusions over Verstappen

Ferrari boss Fred Vasseur believes Max Verstappen will be back near the front after a disappointing FP3.

“McLaren are back, we are closer to Red Bull. It’s all about details,” he told Sky Sports F1.

“This morning’s session was strange with the red flags but McLaren have always been there since the beginning of the weekend. It was good fight with them in Australia and Miami. It’s good for F1 with three teams fighting and Mercedes are not far away as well.

“Max will be back for quali but we are closer than at the beginning of the season. We have to put everyone under pressure including Max. As Lando showed last week, that’s the best way to win the race.”

FP3 results: Piastri fastest, Verstappen struggles

It’s not gone to plan so far for Red Bull, who were fifth and seventh in FP3 after McLaren dominated the timings sheet.

Good afternoon!

Hello and welcome to Total-Motorsport.com’s LIVE coverage of qualifying for the Emilia Romagna GP.

Imola is one of the most challenging circuits on the calendar and after a feisty FP3 session, it’s shaping up to be a close battle at the front for pole position.

We’re just under half an hour away from the green light for Q1, so stick with us for all of the action!

Emilia Romagna GP 2024 Pirelli Tyre Info

Pirelli introduces the softest trio of dry tire compounds (C3, C4, and C5) at Imola for the first time, aiming to enhance strategy options in a race typically requiring just one pit stop. The circuit’s relatively abrasive asphalt and narrow layout, combined with a single DRS zone, make overtaking challenging, underscoring the importance of qualifying

Where to Watch the F1 2024 Emilia Romagna GP

Sky Sports F1 remains the home for live Formula 1 racing in the UK. The channel will provide comprehensive coverage of the Emilia Romagna GP, including practice, qualifying, and the race itself. Meanwhile, F1 fans in the USA can catch all the action across ESPN.

Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan is an NCTJ-qualified journalist who has worked for a number of media organisations, including the Daily Express, The Mirror, Evening Standard, The Independent and Bleacher Report. Joe has been following F1 since when he watched Mika Hakkinen clinch the 1999 drivers' championship, and his first taste of real-life racing action was watching David Coulthard spin off into the gravel at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 2001.
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