Max Verstappen won the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix weekend after dominating from pole, while Charles Leclerc lost third place after spinning.
During a race that started wet but dried out throughout the 63 laps, Verstappen was never challenged in the lead. In second, Sergio Perez completed a Red Bull one-two finish, with Lando Norris inheriting third after Charles Leclerc spun in the closing circuits at the Variante Alta chicane.
Between the completion of the Formula 2 feature race and the start of the F1 formation lap, rain had fallen on the Imola circuit, making the track moist when the field took to the track. However, because there had been no rain for at least an hour prior to the start, all 20 drivers lined up on intermediate tyres for the start.
After the lights went out, Verstappen got a far better start than in the sprint and took the lead on the run to Tamburello, while Perez out-dragged Ferrari’s Leclerc to take second by the time they reached the chicane, and Norris pushed ahead of Leclerc to take third.
Through the chicane, Carlos Sainz Jnr’s Ferrari collided with Daniel Ricciardo’s McLaren, sending the Ferrari spinning into the gravel and out of the race, while Valtteri Bottas tagged the back of the McLaren, caught out by Ricciardo braking in front of him.
While the Ferrari was being recovered from the gravel, the Safety Car was activated, with the two Red Bulls leading Norris in the train. At the start of the sixth lap, the race resumed, with Verstappen driving his teammate away.
At the start of the race, Mick Schumacher bumped Fernando Alonso on the side of his Alpine gently, but as the race resumed, Alonso’s lightly damaged sidepod abruptly burst apart along the main straight, ripping a massive hole in the side of the Alpine and causing him to retire.
On the eighth lap, Leclerc passed Norris for third place and began chasing down the two Red Bulls in front of him. Meanwhile, George Russell battled Kevin Magnussen for several laps before claiming fifth, but Bottas found a way through the Haas to demote Magnussen to seventh.
As the track began to dry out, McLaren was the first to take the risk of switching to dry tyres, pitting Ricciardo at the conclusion of lap 16. Ricciardo became the fastest guy on the circuit on brand-new mediums almost immediately, causing a flurry of activity in the pit lane.
Before Verstappen and Leclerc pitted the following lap, Red Bull brought Perez in from second place. Leclerc took second place out of the pits ahead of Perez, but Perez passed the Ferrari on the run to the Villeneuve Chicane thanks to his much warmer dry tyres.
Alpine was penalized five seconds for releasing Esteban Ocon in front of Lewis Hamilton in the pit lane in an unsafe way, according to the stewards.
Leclerc appeared to have a faster lap time than Perez and began to put pressure on him for second, going close to the Red Bull’s slipstream but unable to draw alongside due to the lack of DRS.
Perez had opened up a tiny lead over the Ferrari, but a miscalculation at the Variante Alta caused him to entirely miss the chicane, allowing Leclerc to loom huge in his rearview mirror once more. Leclerc, on the other hand, was once again unable to put up a fight.
Verstappen appeared to be in command of the race, pushing away from Perez, who steadily gained ground on third-placed Leclerc.
Ferrari chose to bring Leclerc in for soft tyres at the end of lap 49. He returned just behind Norris, but was able to pass the McLaren on the following lap with his fresh tyres to reclaim third.
After Ferrari’s pit stop, Red Bull brought in Perez for soft tyres, then did the same for Verstappen the next lap. Perez re-entered the race in second place, but his lead over Leclerc vanished.
In an attempt to put pressure on Perez for second position, Leclerc took too much kerb into the Variante Alta, spinning the Ferrari and lightly bouncing it into the barrier. Leclerc was able to right his car and continue, but he had to pit for tyres and a front wing replacement, dropping him to ninth place.
Before the chequered flag, Leclerc had to make up as many positions as possible, passing Magnussen for eighth and then Vettel for seventh, before chasing down Yuki Tsunoda for sixth.
Verstappen led the field into the final laps and crossed the finish line just over 15 seconds ahead of teammate Perez to win his second race of the season. After Leclerc’s error, Norris inherited third place for McLaren, securing his first podium of the season and his second consecutive third place at Imola.
Russell finished fourth after taking a lot of pressure from Valtteri Bottas in the Alfa Romeo in the final laps. Leclerc finished sixth, ahead of Tsunoda, Vettel, and Magnussen, with Lance Stroll completing the podium with Aston Martin’s best weekend of the season.
After struggling to pass Pierre Gasly in the second half of the race, Lewis Hamilton finished a lap down in 13th place, inheriting a position after Esteban Ocon’s time penalty was applied.
2022 F1 EMILIA ROMAGNA GRAND PRIX – RACE RESULTS
|1||Max Verstappen||NED||Oracle Red Bull Racing||63 Laps|
|2||Sergio Perez||MEX||Oracle Bull Racing||+ 16.527s|
|3||Lando Norris||GBR||McLaren F1 Team||+ 34.834s|
|4||George Russell||GBR||Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team||+ 42.506s|
|5||Valtteri Bottas||FIN||Alfa Romeo F1 Team Orlen||+ 43.181s|
|6||Charles Leclerc||MON||Scuderia Ferrari||+ 56.072s|
|7||Yuki Tsunoda||JPN||Scuderia AlphaTauri||+ 61.110s|
|8||Sebastian Vettel||GER||Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team||+ 70.892s|
|9||Kevin Magnussen||DEN||Haas F1 Team||+ 75.260s|
|10||Lance Stroll||CAN||Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team||+ 1 Lap|
|11||Alexander Albon||THA||Williams Racing||+ 1 Lap|
|12||Pierre Gasly||FRA||Scuderia AlphaTauri||+ 1 Lap|
|13||Lewis Hamilton||GBR||Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team||+ 1 Lap|
|14||Esteban Ocon||FRA||BWT Alpine F1 Team||+ 1 Lap|
|15||Guanyu Zhou||CHN||Alfa Romeo F1 Team Orlen||+ 1 Lap|
|16||Nicholas Latifi||CAN||Williams Racing||+ 1 Lap|
|17||Mick Schumacher||GER||Haas F1 Team||+ 1 Lap|
|18||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||McLaren F1 Team||+ 1 Lap|
|Fernando Alonso||ESP||BWT Alpine F1 Team||DNF|
|Carlos Sainz||ESP||Scuderia Ferrari||DNF|