There are races in which the pilots suffer more than others, and that of Imola, second of this year, was one of those you suffer a lot. An hour before the start it started to rain, and there Lewis Hamilton knew that his ‘pole’ was not going to be guarantee of victory like so many other times.
It was not the British, who for the first time in many years was seen to fail, but the one who aims to make things very complicated: Max Emilian Verstappen. The Red Bull driver managed his first win of the year, eleventh in his sporting career, ahead of a Lewis Hamilton who lost the race at the first corner and who can give thanks to the plane he carries for finishing second and not much further behind. The Briton, for the first time in many years, made a piloting error that it almost costs him the abandonment.
However, within what could have been, the race went exceptionally well for the seven-time champion. Given that it started with the wet track, little happened for what could have been. Yet the Alonso’s runway exit in the formation lap of the grid he did not invite calm, although in his case it was just a scare. Nothing else to leave, the first accident: Latifi and Mazepin. This time it wasn’t the Russian’s fault. Stop in the test, with Verstappen already ahead of Hamilton, and many doubts behind. In fact, Mick Schumacher crashed going alone.
With tension between all the drivers to resist, the dry tire game began to kick in. The dry lane made it practically impossible pilot out of it, something that was verified by a Sergio Pérez who was as brilliant on Saturday as he was clueless on Sunday. “I drove like an idiot,” he confessed later, when he finished ten positions below what he started. These track conditions often bring accidents, even for those who do not usually make mistakes.
Either because of Verstappen’s pressure, or because he simply erred, Hamilton went against the wall while bending pilots. He almost stars in a review of the historic ‘Sanganchao’, but after staying against the wall he backed off and an almost impossible comeback began. He needed a stroke of luck to bring the grid together and it came from his partner and his possible replacement.
Russell and Bottas’ accident
Midway through the race, on the back straight from Imola, Russell and Bottas, two candidates for Mercedes in 2022, they touched and ended up crashing. The violence of the coup, over 300 km / h, scared friends and strangers. Although the stewards determined that neither man was at fault, the incident occurred as Russell threw himself into the wet grass, lost control of his Williams and swept away Bottas’s Mercedes. The Finn blamed the English and vice versa. A couple of mutual bad words, a comb and a pique that has as a background the contract to be in the first team next year, but racing action in the end.
The immediate consequence was a Red flag that forced to do a sprint of 29 laps, in which Hamilton had the opportunity to come back. And he did it to the champion. It was going up places from ninth place in which he began this second exit until he was planted in the second position. Along the way he got rid of pilots almost two by two, until he ran into the Ferraris. Sainz and Leclerc found themselves in podium positions at times, but the push from the Mercedes man was too much to resist the position. Either Norris, the rider of the day for the fans, who settled for a more than optimal Third place final.
Sainz was left with a fifth place that tastes like more, especially since he came out eleventh. Everything that was to add was the objective, and to sneak among the best, much more. Much worse was Fernando Alonso. It was gray. Unable to fight, struggling to keep up. He was not fast at any time and it was seen surpassed by Esteban Ocon, his partner, who has confirmed himself as the leader of Alpine to this day. The Frenchman entered tenth, with a little more than eight tenths of advantage over Alonso.
However, the Frenchman finished the day one place ahead and the Spanish decimno. The reason was a late sanction to Kimi Raikkonen for violating the highlighting procedure of the race, for which they gave him 30 seconds of punishment. This unexpected gift gave the Asturian a point, the first in this new stage of F1.
#Verstappen #sticks #claw #Imola