2024 Emilia-Romagna GP Qualifying Preview – JP

by | May 18, 2024

2024 Emilia-Romagna GP Qualifying Preview

Now, it is time for James Punt’s 2024 Emilia-Romagna GP Qualifying Preview. You can read his outright preview here.

2024 Emilia-Romagna GP Qualifying

Friday’s free practice was notable for the struggles at Red Bull. The car was unpredictable on turns in and Verstappen was doing a lot of off-roading. He wasn’t alone as the gusty wind was pushing drivers off the track at time, but Verstappen’s woes were car related.

It is not the first time they have been poor on Friday, but the overnight work done back in the UK based simulator can fix things. Red Bull were working hard on the car this morning, no doubt changing the set up based on the results from HQ. They were first out in FP3, getting as many laps in as possible. The car was clearly more driveable than it was on Friday.

Ferrari Upgrades

Ferrari’s upgrades got the thumbs up and Leclerc was fastest in FP1 and FP2. Carlos Sainz wasn’t quite getting the same out of the Ferrari, finishing 3rd and 6th. With Leclerc saying that his simulator work has improved his tyre preparation for qualifying, he must be right in the frame for pole position.

McLaren were not setting headline times, but Piastri was 2nd in FP2. Norris had earlier gone purple in S1 and S2, by some margin, but he put a wheel in the gravel on the final corner and aborted his lap. Had he just had a tidy corner, he would have been fastest, and comfortably so.

Mercedes Still Off Pace

Mercedes upgrades saw Russell 2nd in FP1 and Hamilton 4th in FP2, but they still look to be a few tenths off the pace. Yuki Tsunoda was 6th and 3rd in the Visa RB. This is their home race and maybe their fuel loads were on the low side? They did fall back in FP3 but they look to be the best of what is now the third division.

FP3 was the final chance to get the car set up for the rest of the weekend. It was clouded by a very late red flag, the second of the session, meaning that there was a mad scramble to get the last flying lap in, and nobody did.

Piastri Fastest

Before the late red flag, Oscar Piastri had put in a flying lap on the soft tyre. His 1.15.529 ended up as the fastest time off the session. The question is, would Ferrari have been able go any faster? Would Verstappen? The answer to the latter is very probably no.

Verstappen had set a personal best in S1, but that was 0.25s slower than what Piastri had done, and Perez was even further off, before crashing. Ferrari’s ultimate pace remains an unknown.

Leclerc got blocked by an Alpine at the very start of his final flier, as was Piastri, and then the two Ferraris had a squabble and completely messed it up. They had done all their running on the soft tyres and I wasn’t expecting them to get more than a tenth or two faster on a final flyer and they were over 0.5s slower than Piastri.

Norris Has Potential

Norris’ aborted lap in FP2 yesterday looked to be an outstanding one in the making. Piastri backed that up today. Norris did get a final flier in, but was 0.3s slower than Piastri. However, that final run was not ideal, it was all very rushed and nobody was going faster, so we are a bit in the dark as to Norris’ pace relative to his teammate.

Fight For Pole

To me, it looks like McLaren vs. Ferrari for pole. Red Bull may have won the first six pole positions but they have just not been on it so far. Better today, but still slower than McLaren, and probably Ferrari as well.

I would be surprised if they suddenly came out and went faster. Yes, they may have a bit more power to squeeze out, but they are looking for tenths and a bit more juice just isn’t going to do it.

If McLaren have the quickest car, which driver is faster? Today it was Piastri. He has now had three sessions to get used to the fully upgraded car and is up to speed. It really is a bit of a toss-up.

Norris is a bit mistake prone at times in qualifying, and I am leaning towards the young Aussie. Of course, just backing a McLaren to be the fastest car is an option.

2024 Emilia-Romagna GP Qualifying Tip: 1 point e/w Oscar Piastri to be the fastest qualifier @ 8.00 with Livescorebet, Ladbrokes
2024 Emilia-Romagna GP Qualifying Tip: 2 points McLaren to be the fastest team @ 2.62 with Betfred, Hills

I may update this page 30 minutes or so before qualifying with any interesting match bets, but I wanted to get these two out there before the price comes in.



I am happy enough to take on Max Verstappen today. He is limited by the car, and the Red Bull just isn’t on song so far this weekend. The car’s real strength is race pace, and despite winning the first six pole positions, he looks beatable today.

I wonder if it is the bumpy track surface that is the problem. That is why they have struggled in Singapore in the past. Whatever it is, the car has not been close to the best pace in any session so far.

McLaren look very potent, as do Ferrari, and I expect them to be fighting for pole. Max may have to put up with a second row for once. Leclerc has had three second places from the six GP qualifying sessions and he has been fastest in two of the three sessions this weekend.


2024 Emilia-Romagna GP Qualifying Tip: 1 point Charles Leclerc to beat Max Verstappen @ 1.85 with Ladbrokes (alternative MB1)

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