Max Verstappen won the superb Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix on dry wet Sergio Perez as Ferrari couldn’t find success on home soil – Charles Leclerc finished late to finish sixth after Carlos Sainz retired.
Dutchman Sprint topped Saturday and crossed the goal line on Sunday, joined by team-mate Perez at the front – while Leclerc temporarily slipped to fourth. The safety car appeared on the opening lap as Daniel Ricardo drove Carlos Sainz to the gravel and out of the race for the second Grand Prix.
With the track drying up, the drivers started switching from center to center on lap 19 – Perez came ahead of Verstappen, who led Leclerc to pits one lap later. Monegasque appeared just ahead of the Mexican, but Perez passed P2 with warmer tires and then kept Ferrari in turmoil.
A late P3 gambler from Leclerc saw the Red Bulls follow suit and retain the lead, but at Lap 54 – again in pursuit of Perez – the championship leader made a spin and hit the wall at Variante Alta. He dropped to 9th after having to dig for a new nose and lint, only recovering to P6 at the flag.
So Lando Norris finished last on the podium, climbing twice as Sainz retired and Leclerc got off track. Mercedes’ George Russell had a great start and climbed seven places to P4 with the appearance of the checkered flag, defeating Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas by less than a second despite a late duel with the driver who replaced him at Silver Arrows.
Yuki Tsunoda finished seventh for AlphaTauri, passing Aston Martin (P8) Sebastian Vettel late – while Leclerc finished ahead of the duo in a late rescue effort.
Haas’ Kevin Magnussen ran into a P5 level thanks to another strong start but fell back to ninth. Lance Stroll of Aston Martin rounded out the top ten, a double-point total for the team that entered Imola on zero.
Alex Albon’s solid performance put him in eleventh place, ahead of AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly – who couldn’t override his way even with the DRS (which was revitalized when the track was deemed dry enough on lap 34). Lewis Hamilton was next, a Mercedes driver after Verstappen unceremoniously snatched him away on lap 40, to finish 13th – Esteban Ocon finished 11th but slipped back to 14th thanks to a five-second penalty for an unsafe launch.
2022 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix: Carlos Sainz spins his start at Imola
Zhou Guanyu started from the pit lane after the Sprint crash, taking the Alfa Romeo P15 driver ahead of Williams driver Nicholas Latifi.
In 17th place was Haas’ Mick Schumacher after making two laps on Sunday afternoon – while Daniel Ricciardo was in 18th after tangling on lap 1 with Sainz, poised again to tackle mid-race difficulties in a fruitless strategy. .
Besides Sainz, compatriot Fernando Alonso was the other DNF after he lost a bit of his side streak, Schumacher lost control and hit the Alpine wings on lap 1.
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as it happened
The rain may have washed away the wonderful weather experienced by thousands of Imola fans in the morning, but it did little to dampen their spirits – typhous Paint the stands red, and a little blue and white in between for the AlphaTauri race. The clouds stopped during network cycles, which were performed on intermediate compounds – but there was still a risk of precipitation in the air.
After earning a P1 pole position at Sprint, Max Verstappen ensured he would line up against Charles Leclerc, while Sergio Perez and Carlos Sainz made serious moves on Saturday at Sprint to take the front row in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
There was also a sense of danger for Ferrari, which overnight changed parts of all its engines – including those of customer teams Haas and Alfa Romeo – and Mercedes’ 14th-placed Lewis Hamilton who noticed snags in his power unit on laps. network, with assurances that the problem will be fixed.
The lights went out under gray skies, and the entire field on intermediate tires — Zhou Guanyu starting at the pit lane — chased Verstappen, who drove away as Perez moved into second. The heart of the Ferrari believers broke: Daniel Ricciardo collided with Sainz in the Tamburillo, and he dispatched the Ferrari – and knocked out the safety car.
Leclerc also lost, fourth behind Lando Norris, who pushed him into Turn 2; The winner in that mess was Kevin Magnussen, going from P8 to P5, ahead of George Russell (P11 to P6). Lance Stroll also enjoyed the opening round, going from P15 to P11 while his teammate Sebastian Vettel was ninth from P13.
The race resumed on lap 5 of 64, and Red Bull held one – two for now, while Norris held strong in P3 ahead of Leclerc – until lap 8, when Ferrari swept the main straight. The Dutchman was three seconds ahead of teammate Perez by that point, leaving Leclerc another three seconds ahead.
The dry line was prominent on lap 10 and the drivers were looking for some wet spots to cool off their burning inner tires – racers who stuck to what was described as an oncoming shower.
Russell, who had a five place lead thanks to a superb start, delivered the fireworks at this point in a stunning duel with Magnussen for P5. Chasing Haas from lap 11 to 13, the Dane kept his elbows at multiple points and almost lost to Russell in the second turn on lap 12, but about keeping his place. The Silver Arrow finally overtook the Variant Alta with a stunning move on lap 13.
That fight helped Bottas close in and take out the Haas driver’s P6 on a later lap at Rivazza.
Up front, Leclerc was reeling at Perez in a race of the decade, 1.3 seconds behind the Mexican who was in turn six seconds behind his teammate in lap 15 – Verstappen still stretching his legs.
It hadn’t rained yet so the tires were suffering, and it was Ricciardo who risked digging for the media on lap 18, perhaps hoping to salvage something after his collision on lap 1 with Sainz. This opened the window.
A Ferrari pit crew then appeared but Leclerc didn’t come for a new kit. Instead, it was Red Bull who responded first and sent Perez into the middle. On lap 20 Verstappen led Leclerc to enter – the Dutchman enjoyed a stop 1.4sec faster than his rival – and then the entire field was on yellow spots.
Leclerc was out just ahead of Perez, but the Mexican’s tires were warmer and he slammed into the opening streak on lap two. Red Bull’s strategy appears to have worked, and they’re back on track one to two… albeit with Leclerc lurking.
Leclerc had a look on lap 22 but couldn’t get past it, and gave his tires some rest before locking in again on lap 29 when Perez went off the track. With no DRS yet, scrolling for the P2 will be much more difficult. Verstappen continued, now 9.5 seconds in the lead.
On lap 34, conditions were considered dry enough to enable the DRS.
2022 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix: Fernando Alonso retires after tore off Sidebod
Unmoved, Verstappen extended his legs further, symbolically turning the then 14th-placed Hamilton on lap 41 with the defending champion now 12 seconds ahead of his teammate.
The Lap 50 saw Leclerc enter the soft tyre, prompting Perez and then Verstappen to dig for the same vehicles on the following laps. Perez has now been put in the clutches of Ferrari and once again forced to mount a solid defense if he is going to rule Red Bull one by two.
That was the case until Leclerc rolled the wall at Variante Alta on Lap 53 – causing him to drop to P9 as he slashed toward a new front wing. On another set of soft tyres, he bounced back into P6 with late passes to Vettel and Tsunoda.
Verstappen took a 16.5-second victory over teammate Perez, the driver of the day working his way back to the championship with a decisive victory. Ferrari’s problems faltered at home, allowing Norris to finish last on the podium for McLaren.
In P4 it was Russell, 0.6secs ahead of ex-Mercedes driver Bottas – the Alfa Romeo driver after he chased the Silver Arrow late unsuccessfully. Seventh-placed Yuki Tsunoda overtook Magnussen with the DRS on lap 48 and was again out of Vettel on lap 54 – useful points for the AlphaTauri a few miles from the Faenza factory even though the Japanese driver struggles for traction mid-race.
Vettel finished eighth, and teammate Stroll tenth – both returning Aston Martins with points entered Imola without any points. In between was Magnussen, the Dane fell to P9 although he was making it to P5 after another great start.
Alex Albon had a superb P11 for Williams, his quarterback is good enough to keep AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly 0.6secs behind, another Lewis Hamilton by seven tenths in P13 as the Mercedes driver couldn’t get past his way, despite his pain. Close after opening the DRS on lap 35.
Esteban Ocon finished 11th out of 16th, but was ranked 14th, thanks to a five-second penalty for an unsafe release in his stop, which saw Alpine wheels with a Hamilton Mercedes in the pit lane.
Chu Guanyu saw him start from the pit and finish 15th with Alfa Romeo – ahead of Williams’ Nicholas Latifi in 16th.
Mick Schumacher flirted at first, after Sainz was on the beach in Tamburillo. The Haas driver suffered another turn on lap 25 in a duel with Latifi, finishing 17th.
After being tangled up on lap 1 with Sainz, Ricciardo was the first driver to look for spots. The Australian came in again halfway for a set of hard tyres but only finished 18th – with Alonso and Sainz retiring on Sunday.
It wasn’t Ferrari’s best day, but fans were in full sound as they watched the jubilant Red Bull duo splashing champagne on the podium with equally beaming Norris.
“It’s always difficult to achieve something like this,” said Max Verstappen, winner of the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix. “Yesterday and the day before, we were on it, and it felt like a solid weekend. Today, you never know with the weather how competitive you are…But as a team we all did well and I think one and two is very well deserved.
“The beginning was very important, but then [also], judging by the conditions and when to switch to slick tires and slick tires so we don’t make mistakes. In the lead you always have to dictate the pace, it’s always a little bit harder at first but everything was managed well.”
The Miami Grand Prix starts May 6-8, this brand-new era of Formula 1 is moving to a whole new circuit – Max Verstappen clinched a precious victory in Ferrari’s backyard, and Verstappen has now moved to P2 in the drivers’ standings behind Leclerc.