Max Verstappen led team-mate Sergio Pérez to a one-two finish at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola on Sunday afternoon after a faultless drive in changing weather conditions. The reigning World Champion continued his streak of winning every race he has finished in the first four rounds of the 2022 FIA Formula 1 World Championship, and now finds himself trailing Scuderia Ferrari‘s Charles Leclerc by twenty-seven points in the Drivers Championship.
Pérez was able to overtake Leclerc on the run down to the first chicane, after the Monégasque suffered a slower getaway than that of his rivals as the lights when out. After resisting pressure from the Ferrari driver throughout the race, the Mexican joined his team-mate on the podium in what is Oracle Red Bull Racing‘s first one-two since 2016.
A Sunday to forget for Ferrari
The Italian-outfit suffered a bad day in the office at what is their first home race of the season, when unfortunate contact with Daniel Ricciardo at Turn 2 saw Carlos Sainz Jr beached in the gravel for his second consecutive race. Despite signing a contract extension in the build-up to the weekend, Sainz will be frustrated with another bad weekend after also crashing in Friday’s Qualifying session.
Leclerc also finished the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix feeling frustrated, as he was on form to finish third (but rapidly chasing Pérez) when an unnecessary spin at Turn Fifteen, saw the 24-year old hit the wall, damage his front wing and flat spot his tyres in the race’s closing stages. The incident happened shortly after pitting for a fresh set of Soft tyres to set the fastest lap; the extra pit-stop saw Leclerc drop to almost the bottom of the points places, however the Monegasque driver did well to recover to sixth.
McLaren take podium number one of 2022
The McLaren F1 Team had a taste of champagne for the first-time in the 2022 Formula 1 season, when Lando Norris crossed the line in third place, very much thanks to Leclerc’s spin. Having started fifth, Norris kept out of trouble all race and was in no-man’s land for most of it; but pounced on the opportunity for third when it arrived and scored some more points for the Woking-based team. Ricciardo was not quite as lucky, having dropped to the back after his contact with Sainz on the opening lap and then being unable to progress through the field.
How about the others?
George Russell made an excellent recovery for Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team, crossing the line in fifth place, having started eleventh. Lewis Hamilton, however, had an awful race after being stuck in a DRS train behind Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon all race before finishing thirteenth. The British duo struggled with the Mercedes W13 all weekend, and will hope for an improvement in Miami.
After making contact with the rear of Ricciardo’s car at Turn Three, Valtteri Bottas was lucky to escape without damage and brought his Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN car home in sixth place – narrowly missing out on fifth following a late-race battle with Russell. Guanyu Zhou was unable to finish in the points after finishing fifteenth; but the Alfa Romeo team will still go home with a smile on their faces knowing they scored more points.
Another individual with a smile on their face is Yuki Tsunoda of Scuderia AlphaTauri, who charged from twelfth on the grid to seventh in the race, with an impressive move on Kevin Magnussen along the way. Pierre Gasly however, was unable to score points after being sandwiched between Albon and Hamilton virtually all race. the Frenchman finished twelfth.
Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll were able to bring Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team their first points finish of the year, with an eighth and tenth place finish respectively. With five points under their belt, the British team will be hoping to catch up to the mid-field in the upcoming races.
Kevin Magnussen was able to finish in ninth place at Imola on Saturday afternoon, dropping just one position from the start of the race. The Haas F1 Team simply did not have a lot of speed in the low speed corners during the race, leaving them vulnerable to moves throughout the lap. Sunday afternoon was one to forget for Mick Schumacher after a half-spin on lap one and another spin later in the race saw the German not progress through the field, finishing the race a lap down in seventeenth.
Alex Albon had a promising race for the Williams F1 Team, finishing in eleventh place and just outside the points, but found himself looking more in the mirrors than he did ahead of him throughout the race. Nicholas Latifi was unable to catch his team-mate and finished sixteenth.
Imola was another difficult weekend for the BWT Alpine F1 Team, with Fernando Alonso retiring in the early stages of the race due to body damage. While defending from Hamilton on the pit-straight, a large piece of body work flew off the Spaniard’s side-pod, inevitably causing his retirement. Esteban Ocon finished fourteenth after a five-second time penalty was applied for an unsafe release in the pit-lane between himself and Hamilton, though the Frenchman did cross the line in eleventh.
What did we learn?
The 2022 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix didn’t fail to impress, with the newest generation of Formula 1 car showing it can still follow closely to rivals, even in bad weather conditions. Even though the race-director took a while to activate DRS; the race overall provided uncertainty throughout, and a late spin by Leclerc showed that even the championship leader can still make mistakes.
Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Full Results: