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Sprint Report by Aramco: Emilia Romagna GP

Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One™ Team's Sebastian Vettel battled for a top 10 position in the first F1 Sprint of 2022, only for tyre degradation to impact his Imola race late on.

Emilia Romagna GP portrait

The revised Sprint weekend schedule meant Saturday in Imola began with FP2, which proved a welcome change after a number of red flags and wet track conditions affected Friday qualifying.

Both Lance and Sebastian completed a further 38 laps of practice, with Lance locking in a fastest lap of 1.21.149, and Sebastian's run resulting in a best time less than one hundredth of a second behind, at 1.21.155.

Sebastian

Sebastian made a strong start in the first Sprint of the 2022 season and retained ninth at the start.

An early Safety Car, caused by a crash involving the Alfa Romeo of Guanyu Zhou, then affected Sebastian's race.

He lost a position on lap nine of 21 to Valtteri Bottas in the Alfa Romeo, dropping him to 10th.

The four-time World Champion then put in a strong defensive drive against Mick Schumacher, even though the Haas driver had the advantage of the more durable Medium tyre over Sebastian's Softs.

It took until lap 16 for Schumacher to get past at the first chicane. Having held up a train of cars, Sebastian was then unable to prevent several more drivers getting past.

He would complete the Sprint in 13th, the position from which he will start tomorrow's Grand Prix.

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Eric Blandin
Eric Blandin

"It was a shame that we were not able to hold onto a top 10 position, but I think the Safety Car did not help us and we struggled with some graining on the Soft tyres late on. I managed to defend strongly in the first few laps, which created a train of cars behind me.

"Mick [Schumacher] had the advantage of being on the Medium tyres and, once he got past, I lost a few positions quite quickly. I just did not have the pace to hold on.

"The Sprint always allows you to learn a lot about the car and what to expect in the main Sunday race. One thing we saw today is that the Soft tyre will not be the preferred compound tomorrow."

Lance

Lance maintained his position at the start, although Zhou's retirement lifted him into 14th.

While Lance drove strongly, he was unable to prevent the faster Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton from getting by under braking at Turn Two, having used DRS to complete the move.

Lance would remain to 15th place, and finish the Sprint in the same place, confirming his starting position for tomorrow's Grand Prix.

For both Lance and Sebastian, the Sprint gave the team a good opportunity to learn more about the AMR22 across 21 laps of racing.

Preview by Cognizant

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Fast, flowing and ready to punish even the slightest of errors: this is Imola, one of the most historic Grands Prix on the Formula One calendar.

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Emilia Romagna GP
Emilia Romagna GP

"We did everything we could today, but we just did not have the pace to make up significant ground. I enjoyed battling with Lewis [Hamilton] – he kept me on my toes!

"I have enjoyed having the Sprint format return because it is a great challenge to have just one practice session before qualifying on Friday and then racing on Saturday. It helps spice things up a bit.

"Now, though, we will go away and look at the data to see where we can improve for tomorrow. There is a chance of mixed weather conditions, so, hopefully, we will get a bit of rain and the race will come to us."

Mike Krack - Team Principal

"With our current performance we knew going into today's Sprint that it was going to be difficult for Sebastian to stay in his starting position.

"And, given the strength of DRS around this track, he was then powerless to resist the attacks from behind. He fell back a couple of places and will start tomorrow's Grand Prix from 13th.

"Lance was unlucky in qualifying yesterday and got stuck in a long train which meant he was unable to make progress. As a result, he finished where he started – in 15th.

"This was an eventful first Sprint of the season, with plenty of racing up and down the whole field, and there is still plenty to play for in tomorrow's Grand Prix.”

Explained

F1 Sprint's 2022 changes