Max Verstappen took victory in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix for his second win of the season for a Red Bull top two finish with Perez taking second.
The Red Bull driver had a strong race at the wet-dry Emilia Romagna Grand Prix to bring himself back into the hunt for the title as his rival Charles Leclerc had a costly mistake which lead him to finish in a disappointing sixth place.
Leclerc made the error when he was trying to race past Red Bull’s Sergio Perez after a late pit stop. At the Variante Alta chicane at Imola, he lost control of his car and had to make another pit stop to replace his front wing and receive new tyres which dropped him down to ninth place. Unfortunately for him, he could achieve a sixth-place finish after the pit stop.
Verstappen was able to capitalize on the error and now the total points between the two drivers have been dramatically cut from 45 points to 27, which have moved the Dutchman from fifth to second in the championship.
Before the mistake, it looked like the Frenchman was going to finish in third position but the huge advantage that he had gained from the start of the season had been severely dented due to the Red Bull’s early-season poor reliability.
It made things even worse that the error happened in front of Ferrari’s home crowd in Italy especially as Leclerc wanted to be clear before the race to not be over the top with expectations at Imola.
Ferrari’s team had a bad day at the office as Leclerc’s team-mate Carlos Sainz went out of the race on the first lap when his car was tipped into the gravel by Daniel Ricciardo.
The mistake cost the Frenchman seven points which was the gap between third and sixth place. He was not happy with his performance and he thought that he tried too hard on the lap and crashed into the wall.
He took full responsibility for his mistakes and will look back at his error. Leclerc said he felt that the car strangely jumped before the crash but knew that sped up too soon and lost control of the car.
Mclaren’s Lando Norris claimed the third spot ahead of Mercedes’ George Russell after a good performance and Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas finished just behind them.
Lewis Hamilton had a shocking race as he was trailing behind slower cars throughout and was unable to get past them before finishing in a low 13th place. He was even lapped by Verstappen which would not have felt good for the Brit.
The Mercedes boss Toto Wolff had to apologise to Hamilton at the end of the race as the car was just un-driveable which led to a horrible race.
Verstappen at Number 1
Verstappen started in pole position after winning Saturday’s sprint and remained in the lead from the first corner.
All drivers had to change their tyres to wet-weather tyres due to the rain before the start of the race and that seemed to slightly affect Leclerc as he lost a little grip at the start which meant he dropped from second to fourth after the first corner.
On lap 8, Leclerc passed Norris and gained momentum to close the gap to second place as the track dried.
On lap 18, Perez pitted first to change his tyres to dry ones before Leclerc managed to get ahead of the Red Bull driver a lap later.
However, Perez managed to close the gap between him and the Frenchman and he passed him at the second chicane where he was able to hold him off until the Ferrari driver tries to make a late gamble that cost him.
Perez was able to hold the second position but he could not keep up with Verstappen who was around 10 seconds in front of him.
Verstappen explained that the weather influences how competitive you are on the track but he felt that the team did very well with the one-two finish.
Rest of the track
Norris finished comfortably in third place as he held off George Russell after all the drivers changed to dry tyres. The Mercedes driver managed to climb the table from 11th to 6th in the first lap and finished strong in the race.
Russell had to battle past Kevin Magnussen but was not able to get past Norris, which was not helped by front wings issues that were not sorted in the pit stop. This led to him having balance problems with the car for the latter stages of the race.
Bottas drove hard on the track to try and pass the man who took over from him in the world champion team but he was not able to close the distance.
Leclerc had to put his error aside and claw his way back up the field by passing Magnussen, Sebastian Vettel and Yuki Tsunoda but he was not happy with his performance when the race ended.
Lewis Hamilton had to struggle with Mercedes’ lack of straight-line speed which meant that he couldn’t even pass Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll as he remained in 12th place in the early stages.
The Brit was then slowed down by Alpine’s Esteban Ocon at the pit stops and then Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly which led to him having one of the worse races of his career.
Williams Racing Performance
Alex Albon narrowly missed out on a point by finishing in 11th, after starting in 18th position and running a one-stop race. Albon started on Intermediate Pirelli tyres and swapped to the Medium compound on lap 17.
Nicholas Latifi finished 16th for the second Grand Prix running, and started in 19th. He also ran a one-stop race. Latifi started on Intermediate Pirelli tyres and swapped to the Medium compound on lap 18.
What they said:
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance:
Today’s mixed conditions made for some difficult decisions, but we took our opportunities well and can be pleased with the result. Alex drove really well, spending his entire stint on the Medium tyres both in the dirty air from Ocon and with Gasly constantly applying pressure behind. It’s a shame we couldn’t get a few more places when we first switched to the Medium tyre as the car was working really well at that point. However, it was a good recovery from a difficult weekend. Nicholas showed some excellent pace on the Medium compound and drove a strong and well controlled race.
I’m really happy with the result today. We maximised the opportunities and overtook some cars on track with the pace we had. We had a new rear wing configuration for the weekend which really helped us hold position, and was particularly important in the second half of the race when battling with Gasly. It’s a shame that we missed out on points by one place, but we are taking opportunities, doing things differently and showing that we can battle higher up despite not having the fastest car. I was hoping DRS would be enabled a little earlier; we had six or seven laps where we were faster than the cars ahead and, with our downforce levels, we could have got past straightaway if we’d had DRS. By the time it was enabled I was wishing it hadn’t been! Overall, another weekend with plenty of positives for the team to take onwards to Miami.
It was definitely a very tricky race and I think everyone expected that when we saw the rain coming down ahead of going to the grid. It was very similar conditions to the start of the race here last year so I’m pleased we managed to get to the end of the Grand Prix this year! It was important for me to get that experience and continue to build my confidence in the car, as I still feel that it’s not quite where it needs to be yet. I think we made some steps doing that though which is positive, and our pace at the end on the medium tyre was relatively strong.
Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Results
|Track: Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari||Weather: Mixed conditions|
|Lap Length: 4.909 km||Temperature: Air: 12-14 °C Track: 15-18°C|
|Pos||Driver||Team||Time/Gap (Fastest Lap)||Grid||Tyre Changes|
|1.||M. Verstappen||Oracle Red Bull Racing||1:32:07.986 (1:18.446)||1||2 (19, 51)|
|2.||S. Perez||Oracle Red Bull Racing||+16.527|
|3||2 (18, 50)|
|3.||L. Norris||McLaren F1 Team||+34.834|
|11.||A. Albon||Williams Racing||+1 LAP|
|16.||N. Latifi||Williams Racing||+1 LAP|
2022 FIA Formula One World Championship Schedule
|1||20-Mar-22||Bahrain Grand Prix||Bahrain IC, Sakhir|
|2||27-Mar-22||Saudi Arabia Grand Prix||Jeddah Street Circuit, Jeddah|
|3||10-Apr-22||Australian Grand Prix||Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Melbourne|
|4||24-Apr-22||Emilia Romagna Grand Prix||Imola|
|5||08-May-22||Miami Grand Prix||Miami International Autodrome, Miami|
|6||22-May-22||Spanish Grand Prix||Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona|
|7||29-May-22||Monaco Grand Prix||Monte Carlo, Monaco|
|8||12-Jun-22||Azerbaijan Grand Prix||Baku City Circuit, Baku|
|9||19-Jun-22||Canadian Grand Prix||Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal|
|10||03-Jul-22||British Grand Prix||Silverstone|
|11||10-Jul-22||Austrian Grand Prix||Red Bull Ring, Spielberg|
|12||24-Jul-22||French Grand Prix||Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet|
|13||31-Jul-22||Hungarian Grand Prix||Hungaroring, Mogyorod|
|14||28-Aug-22||Belgian Grand Prix||Spa-Francorchamps, Francorchamps|
|15||04-Sep-22||Dutch Grand Prix||Zandvoort|
|16||11-Sep-22||Italian Grand Prix||Monza|
|17||02-Oct-22||Singapore Grand Prix||Marina Bay, Singapore|
|18||09-Oct-22||Japanese Grand Prix||Suzuka|
|19||23-Oct-22||United States Grand Prix||Circuit of the Americas, Austin|
|20||30-Oct-22||Mexican Grand Prix||Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico City|
|21||13-Nov-22||Brazilian Grand Prix||Interlagos, Sao Paulo|
|22||20-Nov-22||Abu Dhabi Grand Prix||Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi|