After the promising sprint race, Sunday had the potential of being fantastic, with another Ferrari vs Red Bull battle on the table, McLaren having improved. With the track being wet from the rain earlier it meant the race would start out on wet weather tyres. There ended up being some surprises it what was a decent affair around Imola.
At lights out, both Ferrari’s got away very poorly, with Charles Leclerc dropping to fourth. This gave both McLaren drivers the opportunity to pass the Ferrari drivers. A fast-starting Lando Norris got himself up into third while into the first chicane Daniel Ricciardo tried a move on Sainz, they collided, and both went off into the gravel. Ricciardo was able to keep going but Sainz was stuck in the gravel trap unable to get out. This in turn caused a safety car.
Other starters that did well included George Russell who got himself up to sixth, gaining five places. Bothe Aston Martin drivers gained four places. After the safety car was called out, Ricciardo came into pit, onto another set of intermediate tyres.
End of lap four is when the safety car was called in and right on the restart Sebastian Vettel gained another place by passing Fernando Alonso. Magnussen was in fifth, while Lewis Hamilton not having the start that his team-mate did, was only up to eleventh.
While this was going on, the laps following the safety car seen Alonso drop through the field quite quickly, as it turned out he had sustained damage to his sidepod, causing a big lack of downforce, this ended his race early and came into the pits to retire from the race.
After the poor start of Leclerc, he was able to get an overtake done on Norris come lap eight, diving it down the inside of turn 1 beautifully.
With Russell behind the Haas of Kevin Magnussen it did feel like a matter of time before the Mercedes would get past. Lap ten he attempted, but it did not come to anything. The following lap he tried again but this time ran out of space to get a move done. On the next lap, this time Russell got by into turn 1, but Magnussen got a better exit and got the place back. Later in the lap, into turn 15, Russell finally managed to definitively make the move stick on Magnussen.
All while they were battling it out, this allowed Valtteri Bottas to catch up to them. The lap after on lap 14 Bottas overtook Magnussen into turn 17.
Leclerc, after the bad start he had, was showing some good pace, which allowed him to close the gap to Sergio Perez.
There was also a battle for ninth going on with Yuki Tsunoda defending the position from Lance Stroll, Lewis Hamilton and Esteban Ocon.
Lap eighteen seemed like the crossover point for switching onto the slick tyres, with Ricciardo being the first one to switch over, this turned out to be the correct decision as not only was he quicker on those the medium tyres he switched to, but in the following three laps, all the drivers came in and switched tyres. Perez came in the lap after Ricciardo.
During all the pitstops, Hamilton and Ocon almost had a collision in the pitlane when Ocon had an unsafe release in front of Hamilton, this meant Ocon got 5 second time penalty.
After Leclerc’s pitstop, he came out ahead of Perez but with warmer tyres Perez got the place back out of turn 5, as he had more grip than Leclerc in that exchange. Lap twenty-two seen Leclerc get back up to speed and set the fastest lap and looked like he would be able to get himself up into second. That did not happen as two laps later the gap was widened to beyond a second. Going into turn 15 on lap twenty-six Perez made a mistake and missed the chicane, allowing Leclerc to have a chance to get an overtake done but did not happen as the Red Bull had just enough speed to keep the Ferrari at bay.
The same lap seen Tsunoda still defending valiantly against Stroll and the other drivers behind him. Still without DRS, nobody was able to make a move.
Ricciardo came in to pit for a set of hard tyres on lap thirty-two, then after a lot of questioning as to why DRS had not been enabled yet, it was finally enabled on lap thirty-four. With Alexander Albon defending from Gasly and Hamilton, none of them were able to get into a position to pass each other, even with DRS, it just caused a “DRS train” where multiple cars have DRS meaning it is tougher to pass.
In a rather weird sight that happened on lap forty-one, Hamilton was officially lapped by race leader and former championship rival Max Verstappen. This instance being the first time he has been lapped since all the way back at the 2017 Mexican GP. If the signs were not already there that Mercedes are struggling massively, this showing just cements that.
With Tsunoda doing a good job with his race, he passed Magnussen for eighth place on lap forty-eight.
Lap fifty, Leclerc comes into the pits for a set of soft tyres, seemingly trying for a fastest lap, and comes out just behind Norris. Possibly just pitting for insurance, Red Bull pit Perez and Verstappen on lap fifty-one and fifty-two respectively. Leclerc once again got the overtake on Norris.
With all three on soft tyres, Leclerc and Perez were once again battling for second place, this being after Perez came out ahead of Leclerc after his stop.
During that, Tsunoda caught up to Vettel, got himself into seventh place, ahead of the German who was running a good race in the points.
Lap fifty-four and Leclerc was looking like he may pass Perez this time. But going into the turn 15-16 chicane, he went too much on the kerb spinning out into the wall. While he was able to keep going, it ruined his challenge of second, went into pits to change the front wing and came out in ninth.
Up until the end Leclerc started to make his way through the field, as much as he could, lap fifty-six, he passes Magnussen, then lap fifty-nine he flew past Vettel, then on lap sixty-two grabbed sixth from Tsunoda. It was a piece of damage control for Ferrari, which overall was bad result for them.
In the closing laps, Bottas caught up to Russell, and was close to getting himself up to fourth. But he never got close enough to make a proper move.
In the end, Max Verstappen got the win in a dominant display, Team-mate Perez came in second place, with Lando Norris grabbing third after a good drive from the Brit. Russell ended up fourth with Bottas close behind. Leclerc got himself to sixth, followed by Tsunoda, Vettel, Magnussen and Stroll rounding out the top ten.
It was a promising performance for Aston Martin, getting their first points of the season to take them above Williams. With Red Bull having a dominant display, they have closed the gap on Ferrari to just 11 points. Mercedes and McLaren maintain their positions of third and fourth. Alfa Romeo and Alpine just 3 points apart in fifth and sixth. Alpha Tauri and Haas closely follow with 10 points being the gap between fifth and eighth in the constructor’s championship.
The gap at the top of the driver’s championship has come down to 27 points, with Verstappen in second just 5 points ahead of Perez in third. Leclerc still leads the championship.
F1 Emilia Romagna GP 2022 Results
1 – Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
2 – Sergio Perez (Red Bull)
3 – Lando Norris (McLaren)
4 – George Russell (Mercedes)
5 – Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo)
6 – Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
7 – Yuki Tsunoda (Alpha Tauri)
8 – Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin)
9 – Kevin Magnussen (Haas)
10 – Lance Stroll (Aston Martin)
11 – Alex Albon (Williams)
12 – Pierre Gasly (Alpha Tauri)
13 – Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
14 – Esteban Ocon (Alpine)
15 – Zhou Guanyu (Alfa Romeo)
16 – Nicholas Latifi (Williams)
17 – Mick Schumacher (Haas)
18 – Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren)
DNF – Fernando Alonso (Alpine)
DNF – Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)