Not only did we see a fantastic performance from Red Bull at the Imola circuit but solid performances from McLaren and Ferrari, especially from Driver of the Day, Lando Norris who finished on the podium after a hard fight with Hamilton.
What a race! As soon as the lights went out at Imola the rain couldn’t stop the onslaught that Max Verstappen would lay down on the other racers. The weather took on a character of its own with a little drizzle here and a little rain there. But, undaunted by the weather, Max Verstappen managed to take P1 from Hamilton in the very first lap with a brilliant start from second gear.
Verstappen continued to dominate for much of the race but once he established himself firmly in P1, nobody could catch him. He ended winning the race with a margin of over 20 seconds!
A terrible accident at the halfway point saw Bottas and Russell spin out into the barriers setting off a red flag. Bottas and Russell shared a few words, and it was clear that they were not impressed with one another with Bottas giving Russell a hand-gesture no one could misinterpret. Russell was set to win his first points for Williams while Bottas struggled to find a footing in the wet weather.
While it was bad news for Bottas, the accident incidentally was good news for his teammate Lewis Hamilton. After a mistake on lap 31 saw him almost collide with a barrier, Hamilton was down to P8. Bottas and Russell’s accident having set off a red flag gave Hamilton the chance to catch up with the leaders. And catch up he did.
From P8 all the way to P2, Hamilton raced as hard as he could to make up for his mistake. The race for 2nd place was the highlight of the race. With Hamilton on the rise, Charles Lerclerc managed to hold him off P3 for significant amount of time but eventually Hamilton kept the gap close and got ahead of the Ferrari.
Norris would be just as much of a challenge for Hamilton. The pace on the McLarens this year is impressive, and it certainly made Hamilton work for P2. After an almost perfect race from Lando Norris, the last few laps saw him fending off the advance of Hamilton. Norris had the pace but on lap 60, Hamilton managed to take P2 from Norris with only three laps to go. It was an impressive drive from all the podium winners this race and Norris certainly deserved the Driver of the Day.
It was nice to see a solid performance from the Ferrari’s given their disastrous 2020. While the cars still lack something in pace, especially in comparison to the McLaren’s, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz still managed to retain P4 and P5 respectively.
Carlos Sainz had a rocky start from P11 with a couple of trips into the gravel but managed to recover nicely once he became comfortable in the wet. The Tifosi should be happy with the result coming just shy of a podium finish. Ferrari look like their very competitive this year and it’s good to see them back.
Alpha Tauri had a lacklustre race after Gasly’s gamble to start on wet tyres didn’t pay off as the rest of the grid used inters. He managed to regain some positions once he switched tyres and took P7 from Stroll after a five-second penalty was given post-race to the Aston Martin driver.
Tsunoda couldn’t catch a break this race after receiving a black and white flag after failing to adhere to track limitations. Tsunoda took P12 an underwhelming performance from a driver with a lot of hype surrounding him.
The Haas team can say they improved this race with both cars managing to see the chequered flag this time around. However, the team were still lacklustre with Schumacher and Mazepin finishing P16 and P17 respectively. It is frustrating to see Schumacher at this position but what can he do in a Haas really? Mazepin retains his ‘Mazespin’ title after spinning on the last lap with no pressure around him.
Aston Martin saw some success this race, but Vettel’s luck still isn’t on his side as he had to deal with many issues on the car suffering in particular from overheating brakes. Something his teammate, Lance Stroll, was also dealing with. Stroll managed to fare better than his teammate and managed to stay in the points. Stroll took P8 while Vettel’s gearbox issues led him to DNF which still put him in front of the Haas at P15.
It’s safe to say that this season is going to be an exciting one. Bahrain was no fluke; Red Bull are going to give Mercedes a run for their money this season, Ferrari look like podium contenders once again, and McLaren are breaking away from the midfield to compete for podiums. Portugal on May 3rd can’t come soon enough!