♦ The day started with rain that continued to the start of the race, and some drivers had incidents even while preparing to get to the starting grid. Lance Stroll’s Aston Martin had brakes on fire while Sebastian Vettel had brake issues without a fire, and Carlos Sainz slid off and damaged part of the front wing which needed to be quickly replaced. Charles Leclerc also spun during the formation lap, showing how slippery conditions were.
♦ Not surprisingly, the start of the race saw a mess in the first corner. Verstappen was quick off the line and then got in contact with Lewis Hamilton. with the latter heading into the grass. Nicholas Latifi was less lucky though, colliding with Nikita Mazepin and ending up heading into a barrier, triggering deployment of the Safety Car.
♦ Yuki Tsunoda, who had broken his gearbox in an accident during qualifying, had to start from the back of the grid but was able to speed through the pack to 15th place in the first lap. The wet conditions also saw Mick Schumacher crashing at the pit lane exit, and he had to go with a damaged front end for a couple of laps. Fortunately the Safety Car was still out but it didn’t help that he could not get into the pit lane again due to the debris – from his own car earlier.
♦ Racing resumed when the Safety Car pulled in on the 6th lap, and Max Verstappen shot off again, pursued by Hamilton. The wet conditions were slowing tyre-warm-up so the drivers had to adjust accordingly. Only Pierre Gasly and Mazepin had chosen to start off with wet tyres.
♦ By lap 13, Sergio Perez was in fourth but was informed that he was given a 10-second penalty (stop/go) for overtaking while the Safety Car was leading the convoy earlier. He would have to work hard to stay well ahead of Daniel Ricciardo who was tailing him.
♦ The track was slowly drying by lap 15 but still slick in some parts, and Carlos Sainz was caught on wet patches twice. While Latifi’s race ended early, his Williams team mate George Russell was up in tenth place and holding on well.
♦ With one-third of the 63-lap race completed and the track conditions slowly drying, the teams were watching each other to see who would come in to change from the intermediates. It was Vettel who would be the first but he was also hit with a 10-second penalty (stop/go) for not having wheels fitted at the 5 minutes signal (before the race started). He came back in on lap 24, while in 17th place, to serve his penalty.
♦ Verstappen came in on lap, and Hamilton slipped into the lead, still with the damaged front wing. When the Red Bull driver rejoined, he was in third place but quickly got Hamilton in his sights and started the chase. He didn’t have to work hard as the Mercedes-AMG driver also came in to change tyres. By lap 28, every car had come into the pits at least once.
♦ On lap 31, Hamilton slid off into the gravel and touched the barrier, coming to a stop for a short while. But he managed to reverse out and rejoined the race, though down in seventh.
♦ His team mate, Valtteri Bottas was not so lucky – he had a collision with Russell which got debris all over and the Safety Car was called into action. Hamilton took the opportunity to get back and have the damaged wing changed. There was some much debris that the Stewards decided to stop the race on lap 34 for clean-up work. All cars were required to return to the pits and wait. For Hamilton, it may have been a small blessing as his team could work on the repairs with less pressure.
♦ At the time the race was stopped. Leclerc was 15 seconds behind race leader Verstappen but things would be different when racing resumed. 17 cars were still in the running and there would be 29 laps left to run.
♦ The race was restarted after 23 minutes with a rolling start after the cars circulated for one lap with the Safety Car at the front. And though track conditions were drier, Kimi Raikkonen slid off into the gravel! Verstappen shot off (and almost crashed), while Leclerc was quickly passed by a determined Lando Norris. Tsunoda was in tenth but a spin dropped him all the way to the back.
♦ Hamilton was ninth when the race restarted and within 2 laps, he had passed Stroll and Raikkonen to move into 6th, and was working hard to get to the front. In the process, he set the fastest lap which would get him one extra point if no one else was quicker in the race.
♦ With 10 laps remaining, Verstappen was still in the lead and 17 seconds ahead of Hamilton who was in 4th and trying to get past Leclerc. Norris was closest to the leader and even he was about 16 seconds away.
♦ Hamilton got past Leclerc on lap 55 but Verstappen had been pushing harder and the gap to third place (Hamilton) had extended to 18 seconds – and would extend to more than 20 seconds with 4 laps remaining.
♦ With 3 laps remaining, Hamilton pushed past Norris but the gap was just too big to reach Verstappen, and unless the Dutchman had very bad luck, he would take the chequered flag. He had beat Hamilton’s fastest time but in the effort to pass Norris, Hamilton had set an even faster time so he would still claim that 1 extra point even though he would not win the race.
♦ Further back, while Vettel had to pull out with gearbox issues Alpine and Alfa Romeo Racing Orlen could celebrate with the first points of the season as their cars finished in the top ten.
The post F1/Round 2: Highlights & Provisional Results For 2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix appeared first on News and reviews on Malaysian cars, motorcycles and automotive lifestyle.
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