Race Report: Verstappen, Red Bull win Imola GP as Ferrari stumbles

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Taking pole position, winning the Sprint race and taking the Imola Grand Prix win and fastest lap for Red Bull’s Max Verstappen is a weekend to remember and with his teammate on his tail securing second at Ferrari’s home race, that’s just adding salt to the wound.

There’s no doubt the space is very tight at the sharp end of the grid between Ferrari and red Bull and that bodes well for an exciting season of racing. With two DNF’s in the first four races this season for Max Verstappen, you would think Ferrari have things squarely in hand but the Italian icon threw away critical points this weekend and allowed their rival to close the gap substantially.

Win

A big win for Red Bull who maximized the total points haul his weekend. A Sprint race win and race win with Sergio Perez in second and the fastest lap, the team pulled within 11 points to Ferrari in the Constructor’s championship.

A win for Max Verstappen who had two DNF’s already this season as his performance this weekend launched up the Driver’s championship and in to second place behind Leclerc. It was also a win for Sergio Perez who does seem to have found his pace in this year’s car and is now delivering critical points.

A win for McLaren and Lando Norris for a podium finish. Lando said before the race that they needed to be patient and see if the race would come to them and that it did. Inheriting the podium spot from Charles Leclerc’s spin was a perfect reward for a team who, unlike their engine partner Mercedes, seems to have been able to make serious improvements from the first race of the season.

A win for George Russell who has beaten his veteran teammate, Lewis Hamilton, three to one now this season. There’s no doubt the car is a handful to drive and when the team missed the wing adjustment during his stop for dry-weather tires, he still managed to keep Valtteri Bottas behind him for a crucial 4th place.

A win for Yuki Tsunoda who managed to best his teammate, Pierre Gasly, for a well-deserved 7th place at the team’s home race.

A win for Aston Martin who managed to dual-points finish scoring the first points of the season with Vettel in 8th and Stroll in 10th. The team needed to turn things around and Vettel needed to get his mojo back and in the points and they did.

Also a win for Haas F1’s Kevin Magnussen who had a decent day and finished in 9th place.

Fail

A fail for Ferrari and Charles Leclerc who entered their home race well in control but they bled a lot of points this weekend losing the Sprint race, missing out on pole and Leclerc being too greedy for P2 when P3 was about the best he could have done. Charles spun trying to catch Perez and dropped through the field finishing in 6th. Equally frustrating was Carlos Sainz being punted out of the race by Daniel Ricciardo on the fist lap. A home race to forget.

A fail for Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton who couldn’t manage more than 13th and with his teammate Russell in 4th, there is no doubt some head-scratching going on at Mercedes. To be fair, after dominating for eight seasons, you have to wonder how motivated would Lewis be trundling around in a DRS train at the back of the grid.

A fail for Haas F1’s Mick Schumacher who had his highest qualifying position in 10th reduced to P17 with a ragged race and for punting Fernando Alonso’s Alpine causing him to abandon the race. With Magnussen up in P9, Mick needs to get thing sorted.

A fail for Daniel Ricciardo. I don’t think it was anything untoward but he did lose the front end over the curb and took Sainz out which I am sure he did not want to do. With Norris on the podium, Dan missed a lot of points for the team.

WTH

After last year’s crash between George Russell and Valtteri Bottas, the FIA chose not to allow DRS until there was more than just a dry line formed on the track and the Sky broadcast was apoplectic as to why there was no DRS for Lewis to pass Gasly but when they finally did get DRS, it created the DRS train which was worse than having no DRS and allowing the driver and car combination to work the pass. As it was, Gasly just used DRS to keep Lewis behind and without DRS, I have little doubt that Lewis would have eventually passed him.

Not sure what’s going on with the broadcast but Saturday’s aborted Davide Valsecchi interview was halted so we could have a young person ask Max to “talk us through it”. Surely we can do better with more insightful questions like Rachelle, PdR, Ant and others ask? Although Davide is like a 100-watt lightbulb running at 200-watts, at least he asks insightful questions that are relevant to the actual event.

The Imloa circuit needs to have a long look at their dvLED display on the podium. Heavily saturated and the color calibration is way off. I realize its low-res outdoor tiles but not good.

Where was Martin? Although I did like the Ted and Ant paddock walk in true energetic Ted stylings. Also, spending 10 laps watching Lewis mired in a DRS train was not fun. Would rather have seen the battles further up the road.

I’ve been picking Red Bull all year in my Fantasy GP picks until this weekend when I chose my Ferrari team…DOH!

Pirelli Tire Story:

  • Max Verstappen led a Red Bull one-two from first on the grid, after starting on the Cinturato Green intermediate tire, moving onto the P Zero Yellow medium, and then finishing the race with a 12-lap stint on the P Zero Red soft. Exactly the same strategy was used by his teammate Sergio Perez.
  • Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc instigated this strategy by stopping before the Red Bulls, but was forced into an extra pit stop after hitting the wall in the closing stages from third. He recovered to finish sixth.
  • All the other drivers stopped only once (from intermediate to medium) with the exception of McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo and Haas driver Mick Schumacher.
  • The race started with ambient temperatures of 14 degrees centigrade and track temperatures of 16 degrees. Earlier rain meant that the track was damp when the grand prix got underway, with all the drivers starting on the intermediate before a dry line emerged, allowing the drivers to switch to slick tires.

Imola GP Results:

PosNameCarLapsLaps LedTotal TimeFastest LapPitstopsPts
1Max VerstappenRed Bull63631h32m07.986s1m18.446s234
2Sergio PérezRed Bull630+16.527s1m18.949s224
3Lando NorrisMcLaren-Mercedes630+34.834s1m20.903s119
4George RussellMercedes630+42.506s1m20.962s112
5Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo-Ferrari630+43.181s1m20.758s112
6Charles LeclercFerrari630+56.072s1m18.574s315
7Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Red Bull630+1m01.11s1m20.544s16
8Sebastian VettelAston Martin-Mercedes630+1m10.892s1m21.211s14
9Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari630+1m15.26s1m21.238s13
10Lance StrollAston Martin-Mercedes620+1 lap1m21.75s11
11Alex AlbonWilliams-Mercedes620+1 lap1m21.757s10
12Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Red Bull620+1 lap1m21.713s10
13Lewis HamiltonMercedes620+1 lap1m21.419s10
14Esteban OconAlpine-Renault620+1 lap1m21.887s10
15Guanyu ZhouAlfa Romeo-Ferrari620+1 lap1m21.286s10
16Nicholas LatifiWilliams-Mercedes620+1 lap1m21.338s10
17Mick SchumacherHaas-Ferrari620+1 lap1m18.999s20
18Daniel RicciardoMcLaren-Mercedes620+1 lap1m21.577s33
Fernando AlonsoAlpine-Renault50DNF1m39.685s10
Carlos Sainz Jr.Ferrari10DNF0s05

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Peter

“as Ferrari stumbles…” gave me quite a chuckle. A very, very, sad one.

Xean Drury

Another podcast I listen to as well put it best, “No team other than Ferrari is better at snatching defeat from the claws of victory.” ~X8

James

My opinion on drs. This race proved f1 doesn’t need drs. Watching 2 cars swap places lap after lap using drs, or 1 car sail through the field using drs is not exciting. Watching 1 car all over the back of another, lap after lap, exploring ways to get past, throwing dummy moves etc etc, that’s far more exciting.
Amusing in this race, that DRS had no real effect in the end..

Joe

That diversity hire that doesn’t know how to perform an interview came from the Formula W series. She is just awful

The Captain

Ah yes the good old, every non-white male a “diversity hire” and undeserving of their job by definition bullshit.

The Captain

Todd, I knew as soon as i saw Naomi Schiff on Friday that you were going to complain about it. I don’t know how to say this, but I mean this as a long long time (podcast in a cave) listener, you’re really starting to sound like my angry reactionary rural boomer relatives who complain endlessly about anything/one new. Yes there’s are now people younger than us on TV, that’s how life works, younger people occur.  I’m not sure what you’re talking about with the cutting away from Davis Valsecchi to Naomi Schiff since on the ESPN broadcast Valsecchi’s interview… Read more »

The Captain

Todd I need to apologize for disappearing on you here. Was enjoying the convo but work and non-work life took over right after you posted. But as I was driving back today catching up on the podcast from last week I was yelling ‘I’m sorry for not getting back to you”, and I would now but I’m right off for a 2 day Derby party. So just wanted to say sorry I’m horrible at the internet. 

Also I think we’re the same age :) 

Mike Smith

I don’t know that Lewis would have found his way past Pierre without DRS. Gasly repeatedly outbraked Lewis going into the Turn2/3 chicane. I don’t know if Hamilton’s early braking was due to porpoising or what, but Pierre was driving deeper into the corner every lap.

Fabio

I’m a massive fan of Daniel, but he is driving like someone who knows that if he doesn’t beat his teammate, he’ll be looking for another drive at the end of the year.
Yes, I know he has a contract for next year too, but as we all know, contracts are only worth the paper they are written on.

DonF1

Hi Todd, the Imola DRS zone was obviously not long enough to allow passes before the cars had to brake for Tamburello chicane. So can F1/the circuit owners at least consider restoring Tamburello as a sweeping curve?. It’s almost 3 decades since May ’94 and both car and circuit safety have improved greatly. Back then everyone accepted the wall at Tamburello couldn’t be moved further back to add more run off area due the river behind it. But now can’t we think about going the other way – move the wall forward a-la a street circuit to cut down the… Read more »

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Race Report: Verstappen, Red Bull win Imola GP as Ferrari stumblesI thought on Friday Ferrari looked good but Red Bull made their charge back at the Scuderia and while it wasn't a over the top race, I did find it interesting to see where the new upgrades benefitted which teams.
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