Despite their win in Bahrain, there were still lingering questions about the actual pace of the Mercedes versus Red Bull. What amounted to terrific tactics securing the Mercedes win in Bahrain, it looked to be a reversed opportunity for Red Bull with Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen on split strategies.
With Lewis Hamilton on pole and his wingman, Valtteri Bottas mired down in 8th, he had no teammate to fight off the Red Bull duo so the champ was exposed. In the end, none of that mattered as rain came at the start of the race and created a changing-conditions race that threw all strategy in the bin.
In the end, it was a win for Max Verstappen, his 11th, with a fantastic recovery drive for Lewis Hamilton, who benefitted from a red flag session due to his teammate’s crash with Williams driver George Russell, came him in 2nd. McLaren’s Lando Norris had a fantastic drive to complete the podium.
A win for Red Bull and Max Verstappen who claimed his 11th win with a great start to take the lead on Inters and hold off the Mercedes of Hamilton to take the win. The changing conditions were tricky and the team made the switch to Medium compounds at the right time while covering Mercedes strategy.
It’s a win for Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes who kept their heads despite and unforced error when trying to pass back markers that lost them a lap. The red flag un-lapped Lewis and he stormed back to second with an incredibly inspired drive. His fastest lap point keeps him in the championship lead.
A win for Lando Norris who had a terrific weekend and despite his 7th place starting position, he was much quicker that his teammate, struggled early on but managed to make the most of the red flag restart with soft tires and run to the podium. A key performance as both Ferrari’s were hounding him and McLaren look set for a fight for best of the rest with the Scuderia.
A win for Ferrari with Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz in 4th and 5th. Carlos made several mistakes early on while pushing hard but recovered from those mistakes to finish on the tail of his teammate. For Charles, he looked set at the beginning of the race but the red flag didn’t work in their favor as it left him vulnerable to Lando’s McLaren.
A win for Lance Stroll who struggled on the formation lap with brakes that were on fire. The team managed to repair the brakes and he ran a strong race in 7th while his teammate, Sebastian Vettel, suffered the same issue and had to start from the pit lane.
Honorable mentions to Pierre Gasly, Kimi Raikkonen and Esteban Ocon for a points finish.
A fail for Valtteri Bottas who struggled all weekend long and could not make his way forward, like Lewis did, for a recovery drive after a challenging qualifying session. Bottas was then involved in a crash with George Russell with both pointing the finger at the other.
A fail fo rSergio Perez who qualified 2nd and steadily went backwards. The king of tire management may be good on tires but changing conditions was not his strong suit on Sunday. A few unforced errors and penalties left him adrift and even when he benefited from the red flag to get back in the top 4, he ran off again and spoiled his race finishing 12th.
A fail for Williams who saw both their cars out of the race. Nicholas Latifi managed that all on his own with a spin into the wall and George Russell had a collision with Bottas that ended his race and he was heading for the points.
While no one had aspirations of points, with the attrition and red flag, you never know. That’s why Mick Schumacher had a bad day as he spun on lap 4 and the pit lane was closed. It cost him time and left him at the back.
Not sure what Yuki Tsunoda wasn’t understanding about track limits but was shown the black/white flag and given a 5s penalty for continually ignoring them.
While Pierre Gasly finished 8th, it was a tough race as the team had him on full wets and waited, seemingly too long, to get him on to Inters. Esteban boxed early to get his full wets off and one might think this would have been the right move for Gasly too given his pace.
Pirelli Key Moments:
- The thrilling Imola race, with Pirelli as title sponsor, was interrupted by a red flag after 34 laps to clean debris off the track following an accident. The red flag allowed teams to service the cars and change tires, meaning that the final part of the race was a 29-lap sprint.
- Rain before the start of the race meant that nearly all the cars started on Cinturato Green intermediates, with just four on the Cinturato Blue full wet. There were two safety cars before the red flag, which occurred when the track was almost dry. During the second safety car period all the runners moved onto slick tires. Everyone selected P Zero Yellow mediums once the crossover point was reached, apart from Haas, which went onto the P Zero Red softs.
- Verstappen took the lead at the first corner of lap one from Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, who had started from pole. Red Bull driver started from the head of the field following the re-start on the medium tire and held onto his advantage until the end. He then maintained the lead after stopping before Hamilton for P Zero Yellow medium slicks.
- Hamilton finished second following a fantastic fightback and claimed the extra championship point for fastest lap, despite being a lap down before the re-start after going off the track. McLaren’s Lando Norris was third, using the P Zero Red soft for the final stint.
- The combination of rain, safety cars and red flags meant that strategies were a question of reacting to rapidly changing circumstances. Most drivers followed a broadly similar run plan though: starting on Cinturato Green intermediates and then switching to P Zero Yellow mediums from just before the red flag all the way to the end of the race.
Imola GP Results
|1||33||RED BULL RACING HONDA||63||2:02:34.598||25|
|8||18||ASTON MARTIN MERCEDES||63||+56.909s||4|
|11||11||RED BULL RACING HONDA||63||+67.151s||0|
|13||7||ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI||63||+94.773s||0|
|14||99||ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI||62||+1 lap||0|
|15||5||ASTON MARTIN MERCEDES||61||DNF||0|
|16||47||HAAS FERRARI||61||+2 laps||0|
|17||9||HAAS FERRARI||61||+2 laps||0|