VIDEO | Schumacher vs Alonso?!? Recap the last five races at Imola

15-04-2021 21:51

Imola is back this weekend and the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix will be looking to make its case for a more permanent fixture on the calendar in the years to come. There have been some memorable races at the circuit, some of which I’m too young to even know about, but some I am a bit more familiar with, have taken place in my lifetime, so we thought we’d take a look at the last five races to be held at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari.


One which will still be in most F1 fan’s memory is last year’s edition of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. Introduced as part of the rejigged schedule, it was the third of three Italian races last year. The weekend looked to break the mould as it was held over just two days, a single 90-minute practice session on Saturday, before qualifying and the race itself filling their regular slots. It looked set up to be a good weekend for Valtteri Bottas who qualified on pole ahead of his teammate Lewis Hamilton and the Red Bull of Max Verstappen. At the start of the race Verstappen briefly overtook Hamilton for second whilst Bottas got away cleanly. However, Bottas picked up damage on lap two and was overtaken by Verstappen and Hamilton, the latter pitting under the safety car. However, a tyre failure for the Red Bull forced Verstappen out and left Hamilton and Bottas to claim a Mercedes one-two with Daniel Ricciardo joining them on the podium. 


We have to go all the way back to 2006 for the next nearest race at Imola. The 2006 San Marino Grand Prix was a landmark one for Michael Schumacher. The German qualified on pole position breaking the record for the number of poles, previously held by Ayrton Senna who had tragically died at the 1994 edition of the race, coincidentally also won by Schumacher. The German suffered with tyre graining throughout, and it was to go down to the wire with Fernando Alonso chasing hard. The Spaniard wasn’t able to make up the ground and Schumacher held on for another victory.


A year earlier it was roles reversed. However, Kimi Raikkonen started on pole thanks to the aggregate system which involved the Q1 and Q2 times being combined for one time. The Finn was forced to retire on lap nine, typical of his struggles at times in the McLaren. It was left for Alonso to storm to a comfortable win with Schumacher starting further down the grid. Any fans hoping to see some late-race action were denied when British broadcaster ITV cut to a commercial break with just three laps to go. This outraged fans who crashed the ITV website with the volume of complaints. 


The 2004 San Marino Grand Prix marked the tenth anniversary of Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna’s fatal accidents. When racing got underway the likes of Fernando Alonso and Juan Pablo Montoya were in the mix but it was really a race between, Schumacher and Jenson Button. The Brit in the BWM scored his maiden pole position and he had initially built a lead with him and Schumacher lapping almost a second faster than the rest of the field. However, eventually, Schumacher’s speed came to the fore and he drove home a comfortable win, with Button second and Montoya third.


And last but not least we have the 2003 race and surprise surprise Michael Schumacher won this one too. Ralf Schumacher made it a family affair when he qualified on the front row alongside his brother and took the lead at the start of the race but he would drop down the field, finishing in fourth. The pair raced on despite their mother passing away just hours before lights out. Michael was able to secure the win on a truly emotional weekend, making it his fourth consecutive wins at the iconic venue.

Well, that’s the last five races to be held at the historic Imola circuit, but what’s your favourite memory? Let us know in the comments below, and make sure you stay up to date with all the news from this weekend’s race with GP Blog!

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