Red Bull’s Imola upgrade will play a major role in Leclerc-Verstappen title fight

Red Bull's Imola upgrade will play a major role in Leclerc-Verstappen title fight

With a one-two finish from Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, Red Bull is believed to have achieved significant advances with the upgrade they brought to the 2022 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

After qualifying first in wet conditions on Friday, Verstappen tracked down and passed Charles Leclerc to win the sprint race despite losing a position at the start.

As a result of the update they brought to the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Red Bull is said to have lost five kilogrammes.

Verstappen would go on to win the race from start to finish on Sunday, securing all of the weekend’s points by posting the fastest lap, so he was extremely satisfied with his and his team’s performance in Italy.

“It’s always tough to achieve something like that but already yesterday and the day before we were on it,” said Verstappen.

“I think it was looking like a strong weekend. Today, you never know with the weather how competitive you’re going to be but I think as a team we did everything well.

“I think this one-two is very deserved.”

As the teams strive to keep the weight down due to the naturally heavier vehicles nurtured by the new technical requirements, Red Bull and Mercedes were thought to be operating at around 813kg – 15kg over the limit – and 5kg heavier than Ferrari.

After a shortfall in the corners compared to Ferrari in the first three races of the season, they introduced an improvement at Imola that provided them additional performance in the bends.

They also lost 5kg as a result, ostensibly putting them on par with the Scuderia, given the Maranello team chose not to bring anything new to the race weekend.

Meanwhile, Ferrari had a disastrous Sunday, with Carlos Sainz being wiped out by Daniel Ricciardo on the opening lap, followed by a spin for Charles Leclerc, which cost him a predicted P3 and sent him to sixth.

It only added to the fact that they were already behind Red Bull, who, given the gap in Melbourne two weeks ago, made massive gains last weekend.

“Certainly the are strong and we know that they are developing the cars,” he told Sky Sports. “Two weeks ago we were in Australia we were in Australia, we though we’ve got the best car.”

“Today is the opposite, I think it will be a race-by-race [championship], the balance may change a bit but again here we have a good package overall, we are second in quali, in the wet conditions and in the dry I think he had a good sprint race.

“So overall I think again we can keep smile. We know that developing will be a key element of the season, no doubt.

“We know that Red Bull will be very strong, they are coming back but again we will review the race of today and move forward.”

In the Constructors’ Championship, Ferrari is now only 11 points ahead of Red Bull, with the fight very much back on after a disappointing start to the year for the Milton Keynes team, with three reliability-related DNFs so far this year.

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