Imola Madness

After seeing the craziness that the Formula E drivers got up to in Rome, F1 decided they wouldn’t stand for it and actually one upped them with the insanity. Imola was a hotbed of drama with dry conditions in practice and qualifying. Yet drivers still found themselves spinning out or squabbling especially Giovinazzi and Mazepin. The rookie Russian once again ignoring the “gentleman’s agreement” during qualifying by overtaking the Alfa Romeo driver right before his turn at a hot lap. Giovinazzi called him out publicly citing his lack of respect for his other competitors. Mazepin noticeably didn’t gain anything from the manoeuvre as he qualified 19th just ahead of Yuki Tsunoda who crashed out. On the other side of the grid, Lando Norris hit a phenomenal hot lap that almost saw him grab P3. A slight mistake saw him exceed the track limits however and his time was deleted relegating him to P8.


Moving to the actual race the track conditions suddenly swung for the unpredictable as the rain poured down with parts of the track sopping wet and other parts dry. This left a lot of race strategies up in the air and drivers were forced to choose between wet and intermediate (wet/dry) tires. With a majority on the intermediates, everyone was feeling the pressure as Leclerc spun out in the formation lap but managed to make up his place. Stroll and Vettel had it worse with fire spreading from their brakes causing a scramble at parc fermé. From there the race began and the two leaders ran neck and neck through the tamburello chicane. Hamilton tried to push Verstappen but did not have the racing line and went over the inner turn bumpers damaging his front wing. Latifi just like Leclerc was a victim of the Acque Minerali turn as he spun out and then ran into Mazepin as he rejoined, ending his race in the wall. Schumacher also hit the wall at the pit exit leaving a lot of debris and a broken front wing.


Checo also feeling the stress would overexert the car and understeer off the track losing position, he would retake these positions but because of the safety car enforcement he would be hit with a 10 second penalty. After the clearing of the track the race restarted and the drying conditions left those on wet tires to struggle. Hamilton after a slow stop would lose the 28 second lead he built up against Verstappen who pit earlier. He would cut down the gap but then overshoot the corner and hit the gravel trying to lap the Williams car. Losing 7 positions he manages to rejoin the race which was quickly cut short by a huge accident. The collision between Bottas and Russell as the Williams driver touched the grass after the Mercedes driver shut the door led to a big hit and a spraying of debris all over the track with a red flag for the race. The two would have serious words with Russell slapping Bottas in his seat. The chaos led to a restart with Verstappen, Norris, and Leclerc in the top 3 with 28 laps to go. Both Tsunoda who made it up to 8th from last and Perez who was consistently running in the top 5 would spin out and lose positions. Hamilton would take advantage of the restart to its fullest moving himself up all the way to 2nd from 9th. This meant Verstappen would win the Imola Grand Prix, Hamilton in second, and Lando Norris in third.

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