Verstappen wins an action-packed Imola GP

The action at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix 2021 got underway before the lights even went out in the form of an unprecedented downpour only effecting certain parts of the track. This threw all carefully planned strategies out the window and meant most drivers started on the green-striped intermediate tyres. Aston Martin had some surprise drama before the race start as well and both their cars needed parts of the breaks replacing in only 15 minutes. This time constraint meant the team was unable to complete the job on Vettel’s car and he had to start from the pitlane.

Once the five lights finally went out, Max Verstappen got an incredible start and leapfrogged Sergio Perez and Lewis Hamilton to take the lead of the race. The race was largely uneventful for a short while after that, bar a few spins and a close pit-stop battle between Hamilton and Verstappen. It was looking likely we might end up with a Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton battle in the last 20 laps of the race as the seven time world champion was only 5 seconds behind the Red Bull. However, on Lap 31, Hamilton locked up and beached his car at Tosa, only to rejoin P8. The pitstop that followed meant he was a lap down on the leader.

A massive accident quickly followed Hamilton’s spin and it saw Bottas and Russell came together at Tamburello. Both were unhurt, but certainly furious and blaming each other. In the moments after the accident, Russell marched over to Bottas’ car to let him know how he felt.

The red flag followed to allow marshals to clear the cars and debris and crucially it meant Hamilton could also unlap himself. The rolling restart saw Verstappen keep his lead, with Hamilton quickly making up ground from P8. A brilliant recovery followed, with the world champion up to fifth by Lap 43, fourth by Lap 50 and third by Lap 55. It then took Hamilton a few laps to muscle his way past Norris but he got the job done and took second place.

Victory was to be Verstappen’s, and by a margin over 20 seconds at the flag as the action behind did nothing to deter him. That left Hamilton second and Norris third thanks to a sensational drive from P7.

The full results are as follow:

1Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda2:02:34.59825
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes+22.000s19
3Lando NorrisMcLaren Mercedes+23.702s15
4Charles LeclercFerrari+25.579s12
5Carlos SainzFerrari+27.036s10
6Daniel RicciardoMcLaren Mercedes+51.220s8
7Lance StrollAston Martin Mercedes+51.909s6
8Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri Honda+52.818s4
9Kimi RäikkönenAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari+64.773s2
10Esteban OconAlpine Renault+65.704s1
11Fernando AlonsoAlpine Renault+66.561s0
12Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Honda+67.151s0
13Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri Honda+73.184s0
14Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari+1 lap0
15Sebastian VettelAston Martin MercedesDNF0
16Mick SchumacherHaas Ferrari+2 laps0
17Nikita MazepinHaas Ferrari+2 laps0
NCValtteri BottasMercedesDNF0
NCGeorge RussellWilliams MercedesDNF0
NCNicholas LatifiWilliams MercedesDNF0

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