Sports Desk, Apr 22 (EFE).- Defending Formula One champion Max Verstappen (Red Bull) took pole position Friday for the qualifying sprint in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
The 24-year-old Dutchman triumphed after a session that was disrupted by rain and multiple red flags at the Enzo e Dino Ferrari track in the Bologna suburb of Imola.
But Verstappen was just 0.799s faster than Monaco’s Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), the current leader in the driver standings.
Briton Lando Norris (McLaren) will start Saturday’s spring from P3, alongside Kevin Magnussen (Haas), while the third row belongs to Spanish two-time F1 champion Fernando Alonso (Alpine) and Australian Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren).
Mexico’s Sergio “Checo” Perez (Red Bull) finished seventh, followed by Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo) and German four-time champion Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin).
Despite not taking part in the final round after crashing in Q2, Spaniard Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) qualified for the 10th spot on the grid.
For the first time since the Japanese Grand Prix in October 2012, neither Mercedes driver made it into Q3.
George Russell will start from P11, while fellow Briton Lewis Hamilton – in pursuit of a record eighth F1 crown – will be 13th on the grid.
Hamilton, 37, is now fifth in the standings with 28 points, more than 40 behind Leclerc, but 3 points better than Saudi Arabia Grand Prix winner Verstappen, who failed to finish the other two races of the young season.
The winner of Saturday’s sprint earns 3 points in the driver standings, with second place good for 2 points and third for a single point.
More importantly, the sprint result determines the start order for Sunday’s main event.
Emilia Romagna 2022 is the fourth Grand Prix to include a qualifying sprint since the feature was introduced at the start of last season. EFE