Red Bull’s Max Verstappen claimed his first pole position of the season in the Qualifying session of the Emilia Romagna GP. The 2021 world champions set a time of 1:27.999 on a damp and rainy day in Imola. He finished ahead of the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc and Mclaren’s Lando Norris who will be starting P2 and P3.
Max and Charles were the fastest two out there on the circuit with that two topping the charts. But the Dutchman got a little help from the weather and Red Flags that were often sighted. Max Verstappen was rewarded the top spot after the session ended early after Lando Norris crashed in the dying laps
The session saw 5 Red-flags, the highest in any F1 Qualifying session till date. Added to that the rainy conditions made the track slippery. No wonder Verstappen was “happy to be here” after claiming a hard-fought pole position.
Max Verstappen: “It was a hectic, long qualifying but of course at the end happy to be here”
Max Verstappen got lucky during the dying moments of the Qualifying session. Valtteri Bottas stopped on track and got the Red Flags out as the Dutchman set the fastest lap. This made it difficult for Charles Leclerc to make a final attempt as the weather also started to get worse. Eventually, after Lando Norris was sent to the barriers, the session was called off and Max was awarded the Pole position as Leclerc was unable to set a faster lap.
The Dutchman reflected on this and said, “It was tricky out there with the rain… It was very slippery to get the tyre temps to work. It was a hectic, long qualifying but of course at the end happy to be here. It’s an amazing track, it also really punishes you if you make a mistake, you know you can go in the wall. That’s what we like to make it really hard and difficult.”
Imola holds the First sprint race of the 2022 calendar and this means there will be more points to grab. The winner of the sprint race takes home 8 additional points and if the same driver can claim a race win and fastest lap, they will be awarded 34 points in total. This gives Verstappen a great chance to trim his 46 point deficit to championship leader Charles Leclerc.