Alfa Romeo’s Chinese rookie Zhou Guanyu will start from the pit lane for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, after colliding with Pierre Gasly on the first lap of the sprint race. Starting P14, Zhou was scrapping with Gasly over the same piece of track going through turn 9 when they came together, with Zhou coming off worse as he hit the barriers, dislodging his rear wing – while Gasly suffered a puncture and front wing damage, forcing him to pit. “I haven’t seen the footage, but to be honest there was a lot of fighting between me and Pierre. I got hit on the exit,” Zhou said afterwards. “The rear of the car is fully destroyed. It’s unfortunate, of course, to end the race like that.” Despite having to start from the pit lane, Zhou said it was too early to give up. “It will be less opportunities, but I think, looking at the weather forecast, everything could still happen. There’s more to play for, it’s too early to give up yet, but let’s get the car fixed first and then we’ll have a look.” Not the start Zhou Guanyu was hoping for 💔 His #F1Sprint was cut short after contact with Pierre Gasly in the opening lap #ImolaGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/Y1YByiE58I — Formula 1 (@F1) April 23, 2022 Saturday’s wet qualifying session set the grid for this Sprint, with Formula One champion Max Verstappen having taken pole position over Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc. Verstappen, who retired in the first two races of the season, is now 45 points behind Leclerc. “My start was not very good, but I think we had pretty decent pace; it took a while to try put the pressure on,” Verstappen said. “I’m of course happy about today but I know that tomorrow, with also other tyres compounds coming into play, it might be a bit different. But we had a good day.” McLaren’s Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo finished fifth and sixth with Valtteri Bottas seventh for Alfa Romeo and Kevin Magnussen banking the final point for Haas after starting in fourth place. Mercedes had an afternoon to forget, with George Russell finishing 11th and losing second place in the standings while seven-times world champion Lewis Hamilton was 14th – one place lower than where he started.