Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix – Verstappen (Red Bull) quiet winner, Leclerc (Ferrari) 6th after a spin

The Ferrari sinking. On its land, in Imola, the Scuderia saw Red Bull spoil the tifosi party by signing a double on Sunday afternoon. Max Verstappen never doubted in 63 laps to clinch his second victory of the season, protected by his defense minister Sergio Pérez.

Launched into a big attack after putting on soft tires thirteen laps from the finish, Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) made a mistake when he left Rivazza, dropping from a potential second place to sixth, while his teammate Carlos Sainz retired on the first lap, harpooned by Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren). Lando Norris (McLaren) is on the podium for the sixth time in his career.

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Leclerc’s mistake

Two innings everywhere, ball in the center. For Max Verstappen (Red Bull), the equation is simple: when his single-seater does not act up, he wins and wins all the points. At the end of this Italian weekend, the 2021 title champion took control of all the units in play, i.e. 34 points. Winner of the sprint race, the Grand Prix and holder of the fastest lap, he is 27 points behind Charles Leclerc (Ferrari).

The Monegasque is still the leader in the drivers’ classification, but he can harbor immense regrets. In front of delirious tifosi, he missed his takeoff and found himself P4 at the end of the first loop, while Carlos Sainz found himself stuck in the gravel trap because of Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren). The Spaniard’s early retirement dashed hopes of a crowded Enzo e Dino Ferrari circuit.

The expectations of the transalpine people then rested on the shoulders of their leader. But Leclerc did not find the opening on Pérez, sometimes coming back to less than a second. The Mexican’s mission was simple: he had to block the Monegasque candidate to offer a comfortable lead to his teammate. The Ferrari driver suffered from the absence of the DRS, which he claimed on the radio, due to the wet track. Race direction finally authorized the use of the removable rear wing on lap 34.

We were waiting for the rain to revive interest in this race. It was announced over and over again during the race, and we had to wait for the last loops to feel a few drops here and there. So Ferrari took matters into their own hands by calling Leclerc to the pits to put on some Tendres with thirteen laps remaining. The chain reaction was quick, with Pérez and Verstappen covering the Prancing Horse strategy.

The Monegasque raced at full speed towards second place defended by the Mexican and, in full attack, committed irreparable damage. Climbing a curb at the Variante Alta, he hit a wall of tyres, damaging his wing which he had to replace to cross the finish line in sixth position.

Russell saves Mercedes honor, Hamilton humiliated

This mistake made the business of Lando Norris (McLaren) for the gain of his sixth career podium. And to think that the Briton was 24 seconds behind Leclerc before the latter’s pit stop… Starting in eleventh position, George Russell (Mercedes) finished at the foot of the podium, ahead of Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo), and continues to maximize every opportunity. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) failed in thirteenth place and suffered the ultimate affront: being taken a lap by Verstappen, with whom he fought for the world crown last year.

The Briton was at the heart of the main plot of this Grand Prix, namely the battle for P11 between Alex Albon (Williams), Pierre Gasly (Alpha Tauri) and himself. Penalized for contact with … Hamilton following a dangerous exit in the pit lane, Esteban Ocon (Alpine) signed a pitiful fourteenth place. Weekend to forget for the French team, since Fernando Alonso threw in the towel quickly in the race. With all these twists and turns, Sebastian Vettel orchestrated a fine comeback, from his thirteenth position at the start to P8, thus registering Aston Martin’s first units this season.

In the drivers’ standings, Leclerc (86) lost valuable points on the lands of the Reds and sees Verstappen come back to 27 lengths (59). Red Bull (113) is also putting pressure on Ferrari (124) at the constructors, before the next stop in Miami!

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