EFESports Desk

The Mercedes Formula One team claimed the top two spots Friday in both practice sessions for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Finland's Valtteri Bottas and Briton Lewis Hamilton finished first and second, respectively, in Free Practice 1 and FP2.

Three weeks ago in Bahrain, Red Bull - seen as the only team capable of challenging the hegemony of the Silver Arrows - fared best in practice and its title contender, Max Verstappen, took pole position in qualifying.

Even so, it was seven-time champion Hamilton who won the race, albeit by just seconds over the Dutchman.

Verstappen was a respectable third in FP1 at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola, but dropped to 14th in FP2 after suffering a mechanical failure just 10 minutes into the session.

The other Red Bull driver, Sergio "Checo" Perez of Mexico, recovered from a collision in FP1 to take 6th place in FP2.

Frenchman Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) was the third-fastest in FP2, less than a tenth of a second behind Hamilton. The Ferrari duo of Spaniard Carlos Sainz and Monaco's Charles Leclerc grabbed the fourth and fifth places at the Scuderia's home track.

Gasly's Japanese teammate, Yuki Tsunoda, was seventh. Briton Lando Norris (McLaren), Italy's Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo) and Canadian driver Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) rounded out the top 10.

Fernando Alonso (Renault-Alpine) had to settle for 13th in FP2 on round two of his return to the circuit after a stint in endurance and Indy-car that saw the Spanish two-time F1 champion win the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2018 and 2019 and compete three times in the Indianapolis 500.

German quadruple F1 champion Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) finished 15th. EFE lsl/dr