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IMOLA, ITALY - APRIL 24: Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing celebrates in parc ferme during the F1 Grand Prix of Emilia Romagna at Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari on April 24, 2022 in Imola, Italy. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Ferrari Suffer a Nightmare Race as Red Bull celebrate one-two

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Red Bull led the race in Imola to celebrate a one-two while Ferrari struggled to keep up with a spin from Leclerc and a DNF from Sainz.

Red Bull dominated Imola with a good strategy and pace and redeemed themselves from technical issues which caused DNFs in previous races.

Max Verstappen led the race while Sergio Perez put on a great drive to keep Leclerc behind him. The pressure forced Leclerc in the Ferrari to spin and see himself out of the podium position.

Despite Ricciardo’s last-place finish, Lando Norris used information from the Aussie’s car to help the Brit finish in third and help McLaren redeem themselves from a disastrous season start.

Lando Norris explained it to be “An amazing race, an amazing weekend to be honest. The team deserve it, from where we were in race one to a podium, it’s amazing. I like these conditions, same as last year!”

This is what went down at Imola in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Leclerc’s Race

Charles Leclerc did not have a good start as both Ferrari were overtaken by the McLarens. As Carlos Sainz collided with Daniel Ricciardo, Leclerc had to battle it out with Lando Norris. After the safety car, Leclerc overtook the Brit to put him in a podium position and he started hunting down Sergio Perez in the Red Bull.

As all drivers started going in for tyre changes, the pit stops gave for some good drama. Leclerc was still left hunting down Perez as he waited for DRS to open and hopefully take him out on a straight.

The race directors waited till lap 34 to enable DRS. This put Red Bull on alert as Leclerc was only two seconds away from Perez in his Ferrari.

The Monagesque failed to reach Perez and on lap 50, with 13 laps to go, Leclerc changed for soft-compound tyres. Ferrari wanted to fight for that one point from the fastest lap and Red bull followed by pitting Perez too.

Leclerc conceded one position to Lando Norris, but his soft tyres helped to hunt him down. He overtook him on lap 51.

Verstappen and Red Bull decided to make the change too and the top three were all fighting for the fastest lap. The Red Bulls came out on top of Ferrari thanks to the good gap they built throughout the race.

Leclerc thought that the change for such tyres was not the right one and they should have stuck to the mediums. But the championship leader kept recording fastest lap after fastest lap but on lap 54 Leclerc spun and got damage on his front wing.

Ferrari had to take him into the pitlane to change tyres and his front wing. Leclerc came out in eighth making it an even more disastrous weekend for the Scuderia.

Changing for Mediums

All drivers came in to change for medium-compound tyres.

Ricciardo made his second pit stop at lap 17, as he changed for the medium compounds. The track started to dry up despite reports from Aston Martin saying that rain might come soon. Hamilton thought that it was too early to change to such a compound but Vettel followed, and Gasly and Albon followed the Aussie’s change too.

Daniel Ricciardo was putting on great sector times which forced other teams to think about pitstops such as Perez. This saw Leclerc go up to second, over seven seconds far from race leader, Max Verstappen.

Bottas lost about eight seconds as he had a problem with his front tyre while Esteban Ocon and Lewis Hamilton crashed in the pit lane. It was not a major collision but there was contact for sure. Ocon suffered a five-second time penalty for an unsafe release which could have seen a huge accident happen with the Mercedes.

Leclerc was also forced to “Box, box” as Ricciardo set the fastest lap time. Leclerc came out alongside Perez who pitted earlier, but the Mexican came out on top in the battle and the race table was Verstappen, Perez and Leclerc.

Sainz-Ricciardo Collision

The first corner of the race saw it have its first safety car.

Carlos Sainz saw an early exit from the Grand Prix after a tangle with Daniel Ricciardo saw him stuck in the gravel. The contact with the Australian saw Sainz, who just renewed his contract with Ferrari, out of the race for the second consecutive time.

Under the new guidelines, it was Sainz’s corner and so it can be claimed to be Ricciardo’s fault. The Aussie had little space to give Sainz some air, so it was concluded to be a racing incident.

Both drivers had very little space and not much could be done by any of them.

Ricciardo saw himself going down to last place after the incident and had an early pit stop. He kept his intermediate-compound tyres on as the track was still wet from the rain. There was no damage done to the McLaren but one of the tyres might had a puncture. There was no explanation given for the pit stop, but McLaren took the opportunity as they were racing under the safety car.

Alonso DNF

Fernando Alonso suffered some damage on his right sidepod. This forced him to retire from the race.

The covering on the side pod came off the side of the car as Lewis Hamilton got past him. The sidepod was hit by Mick Schumacher’s Haas, who also spun in the first corner. The track conditions saw instability with the cars, and porpoising was common for all drivers. The team did not want to risk damage happening to the rest of the car.

This is a race that Schumacher will probably want to forget after he spun again on lap 26. The German went over the grass and spun off onto the track. These mistakes saw him go down to eighteenth after he started the race in his best-ever position achieved in tenth.

Final Results

  1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
  2. Sergio Perez (Red Bull)
  3. Lando Norris (McLaren)
  4. George Russell (Mercedes)
  5. Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo)
  6. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
  7. Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri)
  8. Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin)
  9. Kevin Magnussen (Haas)
  10. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin)
  11. Alex Albon (Williams)
  12. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri)
  13. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
  14. Esteban Ocon (Alpine)
  15. Zhou Guanyu (Alfa Romeo)
  16. Nicholas Latifi (Williams)
  17. Mick Schumacher (Haas)
  18. Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren)
  19. Fernando Alonso (Alpine) DNF
  20. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) DNF

Head Image Credit: Dan Mullen – Getty Images

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