The Grand Prix Emilia Romagna at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari was won by Max Verstappen in a dominant way. Sergio Perez completed the 1-2 for Red Bull. Behind the duo, McLaren driver Lando Norris finished in third place
Charles Leclerc was the big loser, the Ferrari driver finished the race in P6 behind Valtteri Bottas’ Alfa Romeo.
Max Verstappen had a brilliant start from pole position in Imola, ahead of Charles Leclerc. Sergio Perez from p3 passed the Monegask who had a dramatic start. Lando Norris also passed the Ferrari and took over P3. However, a touché between Daniel Ricciardo’s McLaren and Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari resulted in a safety car situation. The Spaniard stood firm and was the first dropout of the race. The situation brought calm to the field after the hectic start.
Sprint race Emilia Romagna Grand Prix: Max Verstappen takes victory with resilience
The race resumed on lap 4 with Verstappen setting the pace for Perez. Lando Norris and Leclerc followed the Red Bull drivers. Fernando Alonso was the next dropout on lap 6, The Spaniard had suffered damage caused by Haas driver Mick Schumacher during the start. The crowd in the stands at Tamburello cheered two laps later, the championship leader, Leclerc passed Norris in the battle for P3.
After 10 laps in the race, Verstappen already had a big tussle on teammate Perez, Leclerc had a gap of 7.5 seconds to bridge. Further back in the field there was a fierce battle for P5 between George Russell, Kevin Magnussen and Valtteri Bottas. The Finn outwitted Magnussen and was now in P6 while the race was 14 laps old. Behind the Finn was now Sebastian Vettel who in turn was followed by the Alpha Tauri of Yuki Tsunoda.
At the front of the field, Max Verstappen widened his lead, the Dutchman gave a good temp and for a number of drivers this was a sign that the track condition was good enough to switch to medium tires on lap 18. At Red Bull it was Sergio Perez who switched rubbers and was followed by the whole field who, like Perez, switched to the intermediate tyre. Verstappen and Leclerc came in a lap later, the Dutchman kept the lead for Perez.
The lap times were getting faster and faster especially at the front of the field, on P3 Leclerc was very fast who could even start thinking about an attack on Perez but could not complete it. Meanwhile, on lap 23, Esteban Ocon was given a five-second penalty for an unsafe pit lane release. At the time, Ocon was in P11 ahead of Alex Albon, Pierre Gasly, Lewis Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo.
The en masse present Tifosi had a great time because Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari came closer to Perez’s tail, this because Sergio Perez went through the grass at Variante Alta chicane. Things fizzled out for Perez and the duo were able to continue on their way. Due to the two ruffs, however, there was no view of the leader in the race, Verstappen. The Limburger had a 9.8 second lead over his teammate.
That the conditions were better was evident from the battles on the track. On lap 33, Lewis Hamilton was close behind Pierre Gasly in the back field. The Briton drove away from the Frenchman in DS, who now had the task of defending P13. The battle of the two ruffs increased the pace and now threatened du Alex Albon who in turn brought closer to the Alpine of Ocon.
Going into race lap 40, Verstappen was unthreatened in the lead of the race. The Dutchman now had a 12-second lead over his trailing driver, Perez. The Mexican still had Leclerc behind him, but for the time being he was 2.2 seconds short of Perez. At that moment Lewis Hamilton was given a blue flag and was put on a lap by the Dutchman.
Tension mounted in the Alfa Romeo garage with 17 laps to go. Valtteri Bottas on P6 slowly but surely got closer to George Russell. Sebastian Vettel was behind the Finn, the German was 18 seconds behind Bottas. Behind it, Tsunoda passed Magnussen’s Haas and took P8.
Charles Leclerc was brought in for fresh tires in the battle for the fastest lap. The Ferrari driver got back on track but lost his position to Lando Norris. Red Bull followed Ferrari’s strategy and brought in Perez for new tires. Leclerc was again past Norris but closed behind Perez. One lap later Verstappen came in . The Dutchman made his tire change but came back safely into the race at P1.
On lap 53 the drama was complete at Ferrari when Leclerc made a steering error and hit a curb. The championship leader hit the wall with 2 wheels and damaged his front wing. Leclerc had to go in to have the nose replaced. Norris was the smiling third and took possession of P3 again for Russel. The Mercedes driver was not yet safe as he came under pressure from Bottas.
Tsunoda was now driving behind the Finn while there were still 7 laps to race. Behind the pair was still Vettel who now had Leclerc behind him. The battle for P4 intensified as Bottas drove away from Russell in DRS. Leclerc had now passed Vettel and was chasing Tsunoda as the final three laps went into effect. In the last lap the fight continued, but at the top of the field Max Verstappen passed under the black and white checkered flag. Sergio Perez closed perfectly behind his teammate in P2 ahead of Lando Norris. George Russell held out in the fight with Valtteri Bottas who finished the top 5 for Charles Leclerc.
Results FORMULA 1 ROLEX GRAN PREMIO DEL MADE IN ITALY E DELL’EMILIA-ROMAGNA 2022