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Emilia Romagna Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton only 18th fastest in practice as Charles Leclerc sets pace

Lewis Hamilton only EIGHTEENTH fastest in first practice for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix as Mercedes distress goes on with early season chief Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari once more setting the pace

Lewis Hamilton completed only 18th as Charles Leclerc set the pace in opening practice for Sunday’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

A fortnight on from a sun-drenched Melbourne, Formula One reconvened at a rain-hit Imola for the fourth spherical of the brand new season.

Leclerc, who has received two of the opening three races, holds a commanding 34-point lead on the prime of the championship.

Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes was once again miles off the pace in first practice at Imola in Italy

Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes was as soon as once more miles off the pace in first practice at Imola in Italy

It is set to be another frustrating weekend for Hamilton, who was 18th quickest in practice

It is ready to be one other irritating weekend for Hamilton, who was 18th quickest in practice

George Russell managed to come 10th quickest during Friday's practice session at Imola

George Russell managed to come back tenth quickest throughout Friday’s practice session at Imola

And regardless of a lot of off-track excursions, he led the way in which right here in the only real operating earlier than qualifying afterward Friday.

But Mercedes’ early-season woes confirmed few indicators of fixing with George Russell only tenth, and team-mate Hamilton even additional again, seven seconds off Leclerc’s pace.

The battle for pole position has been introduced ahead to Friday to accommodate the primary of three dash rounds this season.

Qualifying will decide the grid for Saturday’s 21-lap sprint, with the order of the Sprint setting the grid for Sunday’s most important occasion.

Charles Leclerc takes a small detour in his Ferrari but still managed to be quickest in practice

Charles Leclerc takes a small detour in his Ferrari however nonetheless managed to be quickest in practice

Leclerc had every reason to look pleased with himself after a wet practice session in Italy

Leclerc had each purpose to look happy with himself after a moist practice session in Italy

But this night’s motion seems set to happen in difficult situations with the poor climate anticipated to proceed all through the day.

The early indicators recommend Ferrari will stay the group to beat.

The Scuderia boast the speediest machine of the game’s new period and so they led the way in which once more in practice with Leclerc ending forward of team-mate Carlos Sainz – the Spaniard whose two-year contract extension with the Italian group was introduced earlier than their house race.

Carlos Sainz, of Ferrari, goes wide onto the grass in wet conditions but was second quickest

Carlos Sainz, of Ferrari, goes vast onto the grass in moist situations however was second quickest

Max Verstappen of Red Bull pictured during practice with qualifying to come on Friday

Max Verstappen of Red Bull pictured throughout practice with qualifying to come back on Friday

World champion Max Verstappen completed third, 1.465 seconds down, with Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher fourth and fifth respectively for Haas.

A purple flag was deployed in the closing moments of the one-hour operating after Lando Norris quickly beached his McLaren in the gravel at Acque Minerali.

Norris was capable of return to the pits with out main harm, with the motion resuming for the ultimate three minutes. Qualifying takes place at 5pm native time (4pm UK).

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