Sir Lewis Hamilton started from pole after yesterday’s intensely fought qualifying session at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, followed by Red Bull teammates, Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen. Yuki Tsunoda was forced to start at the back of the grid following a crash in Q1. Lando Norris almost got a taste of the front row when his fastest lap time, which had provisionally put him in second behind fellow Brit Sir Lewis Hamilton, was deleted following a track limits infringement.
Written By Hafiz Akbar, Edited by Tanishka Vashee & Aiden Hover
The weather turned shortly before the race was set to start as light rain began to engulf the track. This forced much of the grid onto intermediate tyres, with the exception of the two Haas cars, Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon who all opted for wets.
Max Verstappen got a wonderful start along with his teammate, Sergio Perez. They quickly put Sir Lewis Hamilton on choke as they squeezed him out to the outside of turn 1. Verstappen began to stretch a lead with a gap of over 5 seconds to Hamilton behind. Nicholas Latifi’s race came to an end shortly after an embarrassing spin. He joined the track again only to have Nikita Mazepin tap his rear right wheel, sending him into the Armco barrier, prompting a full course safety car. During the safety car period, Mick Schumacher lost control of his VF-21 and damaged his front wing and causing a closure to the pit lane.
Sergio Perez was slapped with a 10-second time penalty for overtaking under safety car conditions, having run wide with the tricky conditions. Sebastian Vettel was also awarded a stop-go penalty after his tyres were not fitted properly at the 5-minute mark before the race, despite starting from the pit lane.
Hamilton fell off the track after closing down to Max Verstappen during the pit-stop period as the damp conditions got the better of the driver’s newly fitted dry tyres. Mere seconds later, a huge collision between George Russell and Valtteri Bottas created a lot of debris and brought the session to an abrupt stop as the race was red-flagged.
Hamilton’s error had dropped him down to 9th on the restart, but the 7-time world champion pulled off an impressive surge back up to a podium finish. There was yet more trouble for the Honda-powered cars as Yuki Tsunoda and Sergio Perez lost control on lap 34 and lap 39 respectively. The nightmare weekend was not over yet for Tsunoda as he was awarded a 5-second penalty due to track limits infringement. Kimi Raikonnen will be investigated after the race for a suspected rolling start infringement as the race was continued on lap 34.
Ultimately, after a long day for all involved, Max Verstappen would finish the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in first place. Lewis Hamilton crossed the line in second 20 seconds later, while his fellow countryman, Lando Norris came home in third. Ferrari had a good home race with Charles Leclerc finishing fourth and Carlos Sainz finishing in fifth.
As it stands, Lewis Hamilton leads the drivers’ championship by one point, followed by Max Verstappen and Lando Norris. The constructors’ championship sees Mercedes still leading the pack by 7 points ahead of second-place Red Bull Honda.
The first two races of 2021 have proved how a regulation change is all Formula 1 needs to stay entertaining for the fans while increasing competitiveness amongst the drivers and the teams. Be sure not to miss the Portuguese Grand Prix in two weeks time.