Conclusions after Imola: Clear duel at the top and end of Bottas in sight

19-04-2021 10:01
F1 News
Conclusions after Imola: Clear duel at the top and end of Bottas in sight

The second Formula 1 weekend of 2021 is over and this was immediately the second round of the battle between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen. Imola brought us a chaotic race full of incidents and these are the conclusions we can draw after the Grand Prix.

Verstappen and Hamilton from another planet

It may be clear: the world championship in 2021 will not be a battle between the two Mercedes drivers. This year it will be between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton. The two drivers drive for the best two teams, but leave their teammates far behind. For years, Formula 1 has been yearning for a battle like this and in 2021 we will finally get to see it again. The first lap was a victory for Hamilton, the second was for Verstappen. In two weeks time we will see the battle continue in Portugal.

Bottas' end at Mercedes in sight, but who will replace him?

Bottas had a weekend to forget. A dramatic qualifying and an even worse race. As George Russell said Bottas should 'fight for the podium every weekend', but in Imola he fought with Russell for the final points. If the Finn continues in this manner, he will lose his seat quickly.

Russell still seems to have the best chance of taking over this spot, but he failed to drive himself into the limelight in Italy. A mistake during a move on Bottas meant both drivers had to leave the race early. But it's mainly the words the young Briton spoke after the race that has diminished his popularity with Mercedes. He accused Bottas of making the Finn fight less hard at other opponents, probably because Russell looks set to take over the seat.

Drivers at new teams still need some time

Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo, Sergio Perez, Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz all finished behind their teammate. Some did a lot better than the others, the fifth place of Sainz was a good result. For others it went less well. Perez saw his second place disappear after a race full of mistakes to a finish outside the points and said he was glad to have not spoken to Helmut Marko yet.

Ricciardo too must have suffered a mental blow when he heard over the board radio that his teammate, ten years younger, was much faster. The Australian was asked to let Lando Norris pass and eventually the young Briton managed to finish on the podium.

Szafnauer the pathetic one

Otmar, the rules are the same for everyone. One year they are good for the team, the other year they are less so. This year it is clearly the second case for Aston Martin. But to start whining that the rules should be changed immediately is a bit pathetic. Lance Stroll is the saviour of the team. He scored points again, while team mate Vettel had to retire just before the end of the race. Even though he didn't drive in the points anyway.

Painful year for Haas F1

Two rookies, minimal changes to the car and 23 races in total. If you are going to talk about a long and hard year, it will be at Haas. This season seems hopeless for the Americans who have already set their sights on 2022. Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin have been given a dragon of a car for their first season. Both drivers spin regularly, although the Russian does it significantly more often than the German.

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