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|1||M. Verstappen||Red Bull||2:02:35||25|
|5||C. Sainz Jr.||Ferrari||+27.036s||10|
|8||L. Stroll||Aston Martin||+56.909s||4|
|11||S. Pérez||Red Bull||+67.151s||0|
|13||K. Räikkönen||Alpha Romeo||+94.773s||0|
|14||A. Giovinazzi||Alpha Romeo||+1 Lap||0|
|15||S. Vettel||Aston Martin||DNF||0|
|16||M. Schumacher||Haas||+2 Laps||0|
|17||N. Mazepin||Haas||+2 Laps||0|
Following a lengthy three-week break between races, Formula One gets back into gear and returns to continental Europe for Round 2 of the 2021 world championship at the famed Imola circuit in Italy. Join me on The Roar from 10:50 pm AEST for live blog coverage of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
Having made its return to the schedule in 2020 as part of the revised calendar, Imola earned a callup once again for this season and this time sees the racing take place in April as opposed to November.
Despite the different time of year, the conditions are quite similar with an unexpected chill – though ultimately the stark opposite of what was seen at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.
First blood was drawn by Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton at Sakhir, with Red Bull and Max Verstappen were left to lick their wounds. The Silver Arrows have capitalised in Imola on Red Bull, who’ve had quite the messy weekend so far.
Hamilton will start from pole for the 99th time in his career, as Verstappen ended qualifying only third fastest – albeit 0.087 seconds behind the Mercedes. A surprise from Sergio Perez saw the Mexican collect his first front-row start in the sport for Red Bull.
Perez will start the race on the soft tyre, which means he’ll have much more grip than both teammate Verstappen and Hamilton, who’ll be on the mediums. At least Red Bull have strategy options for this race where overtaking on track will be limited.
Outsiders for the podium include both Italian-based outfits in the impressive AlphaTauri and the resurgent Ferrari, who in terms of their race pace during practice were only six-tenths off initial pacesetters Mercedes.
Charles Leclerc put Ferrari on the second row in fourth, while Pierre Gasly was fifth and they are in great positions to pick up the pieces if there were anything to go wrong with the top three. No doubt though they’ll be joined in the fight by the McLarens, led by Daniel Ricciardo in sixth.
2020 saw Verstappen retire from the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix with a tyre failure, completing an unwanted but unique, trifecta of retirements in Italy through a single season. Will this be the Red Bull driver’s year for redemption?
Who will reign in Imola at the end of 63 laps? And will it be the result of another epic battle between prospective title challengers in Verstappen and Hamilton?
Be sure then to tune in on The Roar from 10:50 pm AEST for live blog coverage of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
Lights out: 11pm (AEDT)
Venue: Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola
TV: Fox Sports 506
Online: Kayo Sports, Foxtel Now, Foxtel Go
Previous winner: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), 2. Sergio Perez (Red Bull), 3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull), 4. C. Leclerc (Ferrari), 5. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri), 6. Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren), 7. Lando Norris (McLaren), 8. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes), 9. Esteban Ocon (Alpine), 10. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin), 11. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari), 12. George Russell (Williams), 13. Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin), 14. Nicholas Latifi (Williams), 15. Fernando Alonso (Alpine), 16. Kimi Räikkönen (Alfa Romeo), 17. Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo), 18. Mick Schumacher (Haas), 19. Nikita Mazepin (Haas), 20. Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri)