Grand Prix race results: Verstappen wins wild Imola F1 race

Max Verstappen won a crash-packed and red-flagged Emila Romagna Grand Prix at Imola for Red Bull on Sunday, the second race of the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship season.

Grand Prix race results: Verstappen wins wild Imola F1 race

Verstappen won by over 20 seconds ahead of a recovering Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), who bounced back from a costly off-track moment from which he had to reverse out of the gravel. His race was saved by a red flag, and he was able to surge back to second place after the restart.

Verstappen made a terrific start to vault from third on the grid to the lead by the first corner, where he touched Hamilton, who was forced wide and damaged his front wing.

Just after a pitstop sequence to switch to dry tyres, Hamilton went off at Tosa while lapping the Williams of George Russell. A lap later, Russell touched wheels with the second Mercedes Valtteri Bottas on the approach to Tamburello, and the race was stopped to clear all the debris from the massive crash that followed.

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The race restarted behind the safety car, Verstappen leading despite a half spin at Rivazza just before the race went green. McLaren's Lando Norris jumped past Ferrari's Charles Leclerc for second, but was on the soft tyres.

Hamilton charged through from ninth to second, having replaced his broken front wing under the red flag. He took fastest lap near the end to retain his world championship lead.

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2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix race results

Cla Driver Laps Time Gap
1 Netherlands Max Verstappen 63 2:02'34.598  
2 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton 63 2:02'56.598 22.000
3 United Kingdom Lando Norris 63 2:02'58.300 23.702
4 Monaco Charles Leclerc 63 2:03'00.177 25.579
5 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr. 63 2:03'01.634 27.036
6 Australia Daniel Ricciardo 63 2:03'25.818 51.220
7 France Pierre Gasly 63 2:03'27.416 52.818
8 Canada Lance Stroll 63 2:03'31.507 56.909
9 France Esteban Ocon 63 2:03'40.302 1'05.704
10 Spain Fernando Alonso 63 2:03'41.159 1'06.561
11 Mexico Sergio Perez 63 2:03'41.749 1'07.151
12 Japan Yuki Tsunoda 63 2:03'47.782 1'13.184
13 Finland Kimi Raikkonen 63 2:04'09.371 1'34.773
14 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi 62 2:02'46.823 1 Lap
15 Germany Sebastian Vettel 61 2:01'19.044 2 Laps
16 Germany Mick Schumacher 61 2:02'36.636 2 Laps
17 Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin 61 2:03'44.864 2 Laps
  Finland Valtteri Bottas 30 50'58.945 33 Laps
  United Kingdom George Russell 30 50'59.447 33 Laps
  Canada Nicholas Latifi 0    

Formula 1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix: How the race unfolded

Pre-race rain ahead of the formation lap caused drama, as Alpine's Fernando Alonso hit the tyrewall at Tosa. He managed to drag his damaged car back to be fixed with a new front wing. Sebastian Vettel's Aston Martin started from the pitlane due to damage from a rear brake fire, something that also affected teammate Lance Stroll.

The majority of cars started on intermediate tyres on a track that was damp in some places but soaking wet at others. Leclerc spun at Acque Minerali on the warm-up lap but managed to extract himself from the gravel to take up his place on the grid.

Launching off an almost-dry startline, Verstappen – who started in second gear – surged alongside Hamilton on the run to Tamburello, where they collided. Hamilton bounced across the kerbs, damaging the base of the front wing endplate. Perez ran third, ahead of Leclerc – the pair swapping positions at Variante Alta after Perez got crossed up on the exit.

Williams’s Nicholas Latifi spun at Acque Minerali, as Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz went across the grass at Variante Alta. Latifi went little further, crashing a few yards later after contact with Haas’s Nikita Mazepin, which brought out the safety car. Haas’s Mick Schumacher, one of the few drivers to start on full wets, crashed into the wall while weaving to warm his tyres at the pit exit under the safety car.

Perez went off at Piratella also warming his tyres, losing two places, but he decided to regain his fourth place after a trip through the gravel. For that he received a 10-second stop/go penalty at his next pitstop.

The race restarted on lap seven, with Hamilton trying to repass Verstappen into Tamburello but he soon came under pressure from Leclerc. Norris, who lost places after an early clash with Stroll, surged through the pack with some spectacular overtaking moves. Falling the other way was AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly, who started on wets and tumbled down the order from sixth position and eventually dumped them for inters on Lap 16.

Sainz was another to struggle, multiple trips to the gravel meant he lost touch to the battling McLarens, who switched positions after Ricciardo was instructed to let Norris past. Ten laps later, Sainz passed Ricciardo for sixth.

Having pulled out a 5s lead, Hamilton closed the gap to Verstappen as the inters wore down to semi-slicks. Well out of the points, and penalized for not having his wheels on the car 5 minutes before the start, Vettel was the first to switch to slicks on Lap 22, but didn’t start setting fast sector times for another six laps.

Verstappen pitted for slicks on Lap 28, with Hamilton going for the overcut and staying out for a lap, but Lewis suffered a slow 4s stop and rejoined even further behind.

The lead battled changed on Lap 31, as Hamilton went off at Tosa while trying to lap Russell, further damaging his front wing against the tyrewall before reversing out of the gravel trap.

The safety car, and then a red flag, was required again when Bottas and Russell – who had already been lapped before half distance – clashed on the high-speed run to Tamburello. After touching wheels both cars slammed into the wall, creating so much debris that the race was halted. Both drivers blamed the other, and Russell went over to Bottas where they remonstrated with each other.

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The race was restarted from behind the safety car, but not before Verstappen half-spun at Rivazza before the race went green. Nonetheless he led from Leclerc, who was passed by Norris (running soft tyres unlike the majority on mediums) at Tamburello. Perez was fourth, ahead of Sainz and Ricciardo. Hamilton – who had changed his damaged front wing in a pitstop before the red flag – restarted ninth but regained his lost lap, and then immediately gained a spot when Yuki Tsuonda spun at Tamburello.

Perez spun away fourth place at Variante Villeneuve, rejoining 14th. Hamilton passed a gearbox-hampered Stroll, Ricciardo, Sainz, Leclerc and Norris.

But, having sprinted well clear, Verstappen was well out of reach and scored his first win of the 2021 season. Hamilton finished second, ahead of Norris, Leclerc and Sainz.

2021 Formula 1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix fastest laps

Cla Driver Laps Time Gap
1 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton 60 1'16.702  
2 Netherlands Max Verstappen 60 1'17.524 0.822
3 Mexico Sergio Perez 49 1'18.334 1.632
4 Japan Yuki Tsunoda 62 1'18.353 1.651
5 Monaco Charles Leclerc 60 1'18.379 1.677
6 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr. 60 1'18.490 1.788
7 United Kingdom Lando Norris 61 1'18.557 1.855
8 France Pierre Gasly 59 1'18.782 2.080
9 Canada Lance Stroll 52 1'18.994 2.292
10 Germany Sebastian Vettel 59 1'19.074 2.372
11 Germany Mick Schumacher 58 1'19.193 2.491
12 Australia Daniel Ricciardo 54 1'19.341 2.639
13 Spain Fernando Alonso 62 1'19.396 2.694
14 France Esteban Ocon 62 1'19.417 2.715
15 Finland Kimi Raikkonen 62 1'19.422 2.720
16 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi 57 1'19.470 2.768
17 Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin 55 1'20.402 3.700
18 United Kingdom George Russell 28 1'26.543 9.841
19 Finland Valtteri Bottas 30 1'28.485 11.783

2021 Formula 1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix tyre history

Cla Driver 1 2 3 4 5 6
1 Netherlands Max Verstappen I 27 M 6 M 35            
2 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton I 28 M 7 M 1 M 1 M 31    
3 United Kingdom Lando Norris I 28 M 5 S 32            
4 Monaco Charles Leclerc I 28 M 5 M 35            
5 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr. I 27 M 6 M 36            
6 Australia Daniel Ricciardo I 27 M 6 S 32            
7 Canada Lance Stroll I 27 M 5 M 5 M 36        
8 France Pierre Gasly W 14 I 12 M 6 M 6 M 36    
9 Finland Kimi Raikkonen I 26 M 6 M 6 M 37        
10 France Esteban Ocon W 1 I 26 M 4 S 3 M 5 M 34
11 Spain Fernando Alonso I 28 M 4 M 4 M 34        
12 Mexico Sergio Perez I 28 M 5 S 32            
13 Japan Yuki Tsunoda I 25 M 7 S 1 S 30        
14 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi I 27 M 5 M 5 M 13 M 35    
15 Germany Sebastian Vettel I 3 I 17 M 2 M 12 S 1 S 29
16 Germany Mick Schumacher W 5 I 16 S 13 M 1 M 30    
17 Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin W 12 I 11 S 11 M 1 M 30    
  Finland Valtteri Bottas I 28 M 5                
  United Kingdom George Russell I 26 M 4                
  Canada Nicholas Latifi I 0                    

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About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Emilia Romagna GP
Author Charles Bradley
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