Looking back | Three times in Italy is not a charm for Verstappen in Imola

13-04-2021 08:44
by GPblog.com
F1 News
Looking back | Three times in Italy is not a charm for Verstappen in Imola

The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix is coming up this weekend and that means that Formula 1 travels to Imola for the second Grand Prix of this season. In 2020, Imola was a circuit where Red Bull Racing had a good time, but Max Verstappen was unable to finish the race due to bad luck. Here's a refresher on last year's edition.

Grand Prix in Imola

Last year's Grand Prix weekend in Imola started on Saturday 31st October with only one free practice session prior to qualifying. Formula 1 did this to give the teams more rest after the Grand Prix in Portugal. The teams had everything ready in time, so many people suspected that F1 wanted to test a new format.

After the 90 minute session it was time for qualifying, and it wasn't the first time a Mercedes was on top of the timesheet. However, for only the fourth time last season, it was Valtteri Bottas, and not Lewis Hamilton who started from pole on Sunday. Max Verstappen started from P3, after his team performed a miracle in Q2 to fix the electrical problem in the engine.

Verstappen having a hard time

A great start put Verstappen ahead of Lewis Hamilton at the first corner, causing trouble for Mercedes. However, with two cars against one from Red Bull Racing, Mercedes had a strategic advantage and played it to perfection. Hamilton stayed out longer than Bottas and Verstappen, and when the Virtual Safety Car came on due to a problem for Esteban Ocon, Hamilton pitted quickly and was gifted the leading position due to the cheap pitstop. 

With Hamilton in the lead and Bottas' floor damaged, the gap between the two grew, and Verstappen made frantic attempts to catch up with Valtteri. Eventually Verstappen succeeded in his mission, but by then Hamilton had disappeared on the horizon. It looked like it was going to be a simple 1-2-3, but the race got chaotic after all.

Ricciardo takes advantage

As in previous races in Italy that year, Verstappen would not see the finish line in Imola either. A flat tyre at the end of the straight brought him to a spin in the gravel, ending the race for the Dutchman. A Safety Car brought the field together and gave several drivers the chance to grab a podium. The most logical candidate seemed to be Alexander Albon.

Albon however made a terrible mistake after the Safety Car with a spin on cold tyres. He fell back and would not score any points. Daniel Ricciardo got another podium for Renault after the Eifel Grand Prix, and this time he would let everyone on the podium enjoy a Shoey.

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