Friday, April 30, 2021

Verstappen Scores Win While Mercedes Slips Up in Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Photo Credit: Mark Sutton/LAT Image/Pirelli


The second race of the 2021 Formula 1 season was a wet and wild affair thanks to some April showers on the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari prior to the start of the 63-lap event. A soaked race track presented to the field of 20 drivers and cars at the beginning of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix provided an antagonist as they adjust to the young season. As the water and slickness of the Imola circuit would claim almost every driver off-guard at some point in the Sunday event with varying consequences, a charging Red Bull driven by Dutch driver Max Verstappen weathered the on-track storm best.

The #33 Honda-powered Red Bull Racing machine of Verstappen capitalized on a well-timed launch at the start of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix to aggressively take the lead from polesitter Lewis Hamilton. The Red Bull race car had roared from third place on the grid to edge out the Mercedes AMG machine into the second corner. Hamilton battled Verstappen through the opening set of turns but would fall back to second after clipping the track curbing causing minor damage to his car.

Photo Credit: American Honda Motor Co., Inc.

While rain subsided for the actual race, the conditions on the wet Imola track proved treacherous as many drivers started on intermediate compound Pirelli tires. On the formation lap, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc spun on cold tires through the driver from Monaco quickly returned to the track and hold on to his fourth place grid position. The first retirement of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix came on the opening lap when Williams Racing’s Nicholas Latifi crashed in the second sector of the track. The Canadian lost control of his vehicle entering a corner when he locked up his rear wheels under braking. When he rejoined the track, he made contact with the Haas F1 Team driver Nikita Mazepin. This incident would be one of two occasions a safety car period was called.

The second safety car of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix came after a roughly one-lap period in the middle part of the race where both Mercedes AMG cars appearing in the gravel traps in separate incidents with one retiring. On lap 31, second-place runner Lewis Hamilton slid off track at turn 7 as he was lapping the Williams Racing car of George Russell. Although Hamilton’s #44 car was stationary for several seconds he was able to rejoin the race in seventh place. The reason for the safety car occurred on lap 32 as the #63 car of Russell and the #77 Mercedes AMG entry in the hands of Valtteri Bottas crashed. Battling for ninth place ahead of the entry to turn two, the drivers collided on the narrow track causing both to retire.

Photo Credit: LAT Images for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd

As Max Versteppen maintained a steady lead through the closing laps at Imola, Lewis Hamilton masterfully salvaged his race. On lap 55, the #44 Mercedes AMG car was able to overtake Leclerc’s Ferrari for third place and would stalk the McLaren-Mercedes race car driven by Lando Norris for the runner-up position. With the aid of DRS, Hamilton sailed by the McLaren just after the start of lap 60 to take the second place spot. Thanks to setting the fastest lap time of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix on lap 60, Lewis Hamilton set maintains the drivers’ championship point lead arriving at the Portuguese Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen’s 11th career Formula 1 victory, the Dutch driver’s win at the 2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix gives a lot of hope for a season-long rivalry with the seven-time and reigning Formula 1 World Drivers’ Champion Lewis Hamilton.

Crossing the line in third place, Lando Norris’ second career series podium is redemption for the Brit after losing third place in qualifying for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix on Saturday due to exceeding track limits in the run.

Photo Credit: Steven Tee/LAT Images/Pirelli

In fourth and fifth place after 63 laps at Imola, Scuderia Ferrari had a quietly successful team effort. Charles Leclerc led his new-for-2021 teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. across the finish line. Daniel Ricciardo, Pierre Gasly, Lance Stroll, Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso rounded out the top 10 for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

The next Formula 1 event will take place on May 2nd as teams return to the Algarve International Circuit for the Portuguese Grand Prix.

2021 Formula 1 Season
Emilia Romagna Grand Prix
Race Results
Pos # Car # Driver Team Engine
1 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing Honda
2 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes-Benz
3 4 Lando Norris McLaren F1 Team Mercedes-Benz
4 16 Charles Leclerc Scuderia Misson Winnow Ferrari Ferrari
5 55 Carlos Sainz Jr Scuderia Misson Winnow Ferrari Ferrari
6 3 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren F1 Team Mercedes-Benz
7 10 Pierre Gasly Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda
8 18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Cognizant F1 Team Mercedes-Benz
9 31 Esteban Ocon Alpine F1 Team Renault
10 14 Fernando Alonso Alpine F1 Team Renault
11 11 Sergio Perez Red Bull Racing Honda
12 22 Yuki Tsunoda Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda
13 7 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari
14 99 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari
15 5 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin Cognizant F1 Team Mercedes-Benz
16 47 Mick Schumacher Uralkali Haas F1 Team Ferrari
17 9 Nikita Mazepin Uralkali Haas F1 Team Ferrari
18 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes-Benz
19 63 George Russell Williams Racing Mercedes-Benz
20 6 Nicholas Latifi Williams Racing Mercedes-Benz

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