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Verstappen will no longer have an easy life. Main results of the F1 Grand Prix in Imola

Date: June 18, 2024 Time: 07:27:20

The end of the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix turned out to be the most intense of the year: never before this season had the fight for victory in the final laps been so close. This was largely due to the nature of the Imola track, but the key was something else: McLaren really made a breakthrough and is capable of fighting with Red Bull. There is every reason to believe that Max Verstappen will no longer have the carefree life he has enjoyed in recent years.

We summarize the results of the seventh stage of Formula 1.

How was the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix:

What if it was just one or two more rounds? In the F1 race at Imola, the leader almost changed at the same finish line

Three teams in the fight

The weekend at Imola started with problems for Red Bull: the team couldn’t really find the balance of the car and the drivers, trying to get the most out of it, crossed the line of what was possible and made mistakes. Verstappen later admits that he did not expect to win qualifying, and this is not false: if it were not for Hulkenberg’s slipstream in the middle of the slick in the final corner, Max could have easily finished behind the McLarens. Yes, Red Bull took the eighth consecutive pole, but Milton Keynes found it more difficult than others.

Start of the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

Photo: Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images

In the race, the victory also went to Verstappen, but in the end he was clearly not the fastest on the track: the Dutchman confidently caught up with Lando Norris, who would almost certainly have attacked if the race had lasted longer. two or three more turns. In seven races of the 2023 season, this was the third time that Red Bull was not the leader in pure speed, and if in Melbourne the reason was a stuck brake, in Miami and Imola the rivals, the McLaren drivers, were simply faster . .

For the second consecutive stage, Lando Norris had a car capable of fighting for victory. If there were more DRS zones at Imola, it would have been easier for the Brit to stay behind his opponent and eventually overtake him. On the other hand, if at the time of the pit stop Lando was not 6.5 seconds behind Max, but at least two or three less, then in the current track configuration there would be more chances to overtake Red Bull . Be that as it may, the Briton showed that McLaren’s success in Miami was no coincidence.

For the second consecutive stage, McLaren is faster than Red Bull.

Photo: Lars Baron/Getty Images

In the context of McLaren’s progress, Ferrari’s third and fifth place finishes may seem like a disappointment, but with the updated chassis, the Scuderia also looked good. Leclerc kept Norris under pressure during the first stint and remained a threat until his mistake in the Variant Alta on lap 47. Furthermore, like Lando, Charles after the pit stop was not inferior in pace to Verstappen and little Little by little he approached him. Perhaps, if it weren’t for Leclerc’s failure at the chicane, three drivers would have fought for victory in the final laps.

Verstappen achieved two victories during the day:

The F1 champion competes in a virtual race parallel to the Grand Prix. Shine here and there!

Wolf keeps believing

In sixth and seventh place, exactly behind Verstappen, the McLarens and the Ferraris, Hamilton and Russell finished the race at Imola. Throughout the weekend Mercedes was the fourth fastest car and did not allow us to fight for anything else either in qualifying or in the race. However, German team leader Toto Wolff is optimistic about the future. “We are on a trajectory to improve the car, and it shows,” he said after the finish. “And as long as the direction of movement is correct, I am calm.”

“We see improvements in the car we build for you. It’s not a miracle update that will fix the balance issues and make the car faster, Wolf explains. “Instead, it recovers between a tenth and a tenth and a half through gradual improvements. But at the same time, other teams are also making progress. Nothing is guaranteed in this sport. We are not happy with where we are now. And we just have to do better.”

Mercedes believes they have made progress

Photo: Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images

“We got a little bit closer to the Red Bulls and increased the gap to the group behind us, so it was a lonely race for us,” agrees boss George Russell. – But McLaren and Ferrari were also able to improve, and even more than us. In any case, sixth and seventh place do not suit us, but they are exactly the positions we deserve now.”

Overall, despite the results, Mercedes looked relatively good at Imola: the car seemed stable throughout the weekend and the team understood from the beginning what they could claim and achieved this result. For Hamilton alone, this weekend marked the sixth defeat in seven qualifyings against his teammate, whom the former champion was only able to beat at the finish line after his extra pit stop.

Lewis called the start of the 2024 season the worst of his career:

Is Hamilton already thinking about Ferrari? The farewell of the Mercedes champion is blurry

Alonso was upset. Aston Martin too

If McLaren and Norris shine for the second consecutive stage, Fernando Alonso disappoints for the second consecutive stage. In Miami, the former champion was inferior to Stroll throughout the weekend, and in Imola he suffered an accident that ultimately ruined his entire weekend. The Spaniard made a mistake in practice on Saturday, and the mechanics – not only those attached to Alonso’s car, but also those working with Stroll – had to fix the car at the last moment. It got to the point that work continued during the session.

The Aston Martin was managed to return to the track, but Alonso could not feel the rhythm. In one of his attempts in Q1, Fernando made a mistake in Tamburello, and threw the next one by team order. The result is the first flight of the first segment in 2024. On Sunday, the Spaniard started from the pit lane, but changing the suspension settings did not help: Alonso spent almost the entire race at the back of the pack, and a couple of laps before from the goal he withdrew completely. Stroll’s pace towards the points shows that the Spaniard could have done much better.

Alonso ruined his own weekend in training

Photo: Clive Rose/Getty Images

On the other hand, something more was expected from Aston Martin itself. We’re not even talking about podiums, which at the beginning of the 2023 season became almost a regular occurrence for Alonso. Lawrence Stroll’s team fell from the top group last year and it was foreseeable that they would not be able to quickly return to it. However, the new car is not as good as last year’s and the new products do not provide any tangible results.

In four of the seven stages of the season, Aston Martin scored three points or less. If last year, after seven Grands Prix, Lawrence Stroll’s team was third in the Constructors’ Championship and scored 134 points, now it only occupies fifth place and 44 points. And the question arises: Did Alonso make the right decision by signing a new contract with Aston Martin, even though Mercedes has a free place? On the other hand, even in the worst case scenario, engineers will have to build a completely new chassis for the 2026 season.

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Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.
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