Emilia Romagna Grand Prix 2021: What did we learn?

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix: What did we learn?

Max Verstappen put in a fantastic performance as he won his first race of the season | Photo credit by Morio

Round two of the 2021 Formula 1 season carried on from the blockbuster action from Bahrain with a pulsating, incident packed race at Imola in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. Max Verstappen took his first win of the year after a near faultless performance.

Lewis Hamilton took second place despite a spin midway through the race that caused him to be lapped, but thanks to a red flag due to a contentious crash between Mercedes teammate Valterri Bottas and Williams driver George Russell, he recovered. Thankfully both drivers were unharmed.

The fuse is well and truly lit for a historic season

If the first two races are anything to go by, we are set for a truly extraordinary edge of your seat season.

With Hamilton and Verstappen both winning one race each so far, Hamilton is only leading the Dutch driver by a single point after earning an extra point for getting the fastest lap yesterday, something Verstappen failed to do in the Middle East.

After starting third on the grid, Verstappen got off to an explosive start in rainy conditions in Italy, overtaking both team mate Sergio Perez.

The Mexican was starting on the first row of the grid for the first time of his career. Verstappen also passed Lewis Hamilton, the seven time world champion who started on pole position for the 99th time in his career.

Verstappen widened the gap on Hamilton over the course of the first half of the race. With uncertainty on when to switch onto slick tyres, neither Red Bull or Mercedes wanted to make a rash decision but it was Verstappen who pitted first and Hamilton stayed out a lap longer.

Hamilton made a rare error on lap 32 as he spun out into the gravel, acting slightly rash to try and get past George Russell as the blue flag was shown, where there was only one dry line for the drivers.


Following the red flag Hamilton was able to recover from ninth place to earn second place following an entertaining battle over the course over a few laps towards the end of the race with fellow Briton Lando Norris who claimed third place.

This was the 699th and 700th time a British driver has stood on the podium.

George misses out on points at Imola again

Following an impressive Saturday for both Williams drivers, with Russell p12 and Nicholas Latifi with a career best of p14, it looked like a promising weekend for the side. However Latifi was unable to get past the first lap of the race after spinning out.

At Imola last year Russell was on course for his first points at Williams but whilst attempting to warm up his tyres during a safety car period he spun into a wall.

Yesterday saw the British driver sitting in 10th place once again, but whilst trying to overtake Bottas the two collided after the Fin ever so slightly moved his car towards Russell forcing him onto the wet part of the track causing a nasty collision.

Russell looked furious as he got out of the car following the crash and walked over to Bottas and words were exchanged as Bottas showed him the middle finger.

Both drivers blamed the other for the crash.

Lando impresses again

Lando Norris proved his credentials once again with another stellar performance this season.

After a blistering qualifying session for the McLaren driver with a time that would have seen him start third on the grid, but it was unfortunately removed for exceeding track limits, which was a common occurrence over the practice sessions and qualifying.

He started seventh on the grid, just behind teammate Daniel Ricciardo and got off to a solid start and was battling with his team mate before a strategic move by the McLaren team that meant the two drivers swapped places as Norris was showing considerably more pace.

Lando was then hunting down the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc. Following the restart after the red flag Lando got off a flying start which saw himself climb into second place. He held onto that position for the majority of the race until he was taken over by Lewis Hamilton after the world champion was able to overtake him using DRS.

He stayed in front of both Ferrari drivers who finished 4th and 5th respectively.

It was another stellar performance from the young Briton, who finished fourth place in Bahrain and now finds himself third in the drivers championship.

Rain causes uncertainty for drivers

After a dry couple of days for practice and qualifying, showers of rain just before lights out caused a dilemma for the teams of what tyres to go onto.

The majority opted for the intermediate tyres whilst Pierre Gasly chose the wet tyres.

Following the first few laps it was clear to see that the intermediates was the right option with Gasly slipping down the leaderboard rapidly after initially starting fifth on the grid.

The Frenchmen managed to recover to finish in seventh place after Lance Stroll had a penalty for an illegal overtake on Gasly.

The conditions proved tricky for others with Carlos Sainz nearly spinning out on the formation lap and Sergio Perez also spinning out twice, once under a safety car which led to a ten second penalty, which led to him finishing p12.

Mick Schumacher also spun out and caused damage to his front wing. After a faultless race before the red flag, Max Verstappen almost had a disaster, losing slight control during the formation lap but he managed to gain control.

The Emilia Romagna 2021 Grand Prix will go down as one of the classics, and if the first two races are anything to go by we are in for a corker of a season. This is the Hamilton vs Verstappen battle we have been waiting for.

The next race is at Portimao in Portugal next race on the second of May.