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Sports Articles: Formula 1: Imola Talking Points

Formula 1: Imola Talking Points
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Formula 1: Things To Think About After Italy

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1. Welcome To Miami

A Miami track has been confirmed for next season, though the layout has to be decided, it is going to be around the Miami Dolphins stadium. Always good to have a new track, it jumbles up the order a bit and makes for good racing until the teams get to know it well.


2. Quali!

So much happened in qualifying it was full of twists and turns. The track limits issue caused times to be chalked off, including Norris's great time. Tsunoda binned it early and somehow Hamilton put it on pole despite the Red Bull pair both being quicker. It really set up the race for a battle.


3. Rain

If there is anything that will excite an F1 fan more than the sight of rain on a race day, I have no idea what it is. When rain even managed to turn the out lap into an exciting event, it is easy to see why so many do rain dances ahead of races, in the hope of a downpour. There were a number of drivers who spun or went off the track, including Alonso, who managed to damage a wing. Stroll's brakes caught fire on the way round, requiring the mechanics to have to replace the rear breakes before the race could start. Meanwhile, poor Vettel is still having no luck as he had to start from the pit lane and his team did not get the wheels on in time, so he got a 10 second stop/go penalty for that. The rain even made the warm up/parade lap interesting, as Leclerc spun on the way round.


4. The Start

Right from the start it was a battle between Hamilton and Verstappen, with the Dutchman getting the better of it and forcing the reigning champion to run wide and damage his front wing endplate. That left a little gap between them but Latifi decided to fix that by spinning off the track and then returning to it and cutting across Mazepin. That caused Latifi to spear off into the wall and brought out a safety car on Lap 1.


5. Rookie Mistake By Mick

Mick Schumacher must under intense pressure to live up to the family name, but that was no excuse for his rookie error during the safety car. He was weaving intensely to keep his tyres warm and lost the back end, smashing into the wall right on the pit lane exit, ripping off his front wing. His mistake was compounded as his debris was strewn over the exit, causing the pit lane to be closed while it was cleared up. Schumacher ended up having to drive an extra lap with no front wing.


6. Perez

An absolute disaster for the second Red Bull driver, he had problems with the fly-by-wire system and the steering was moving itself. He ran off track with regularity, possibly as a consequence, and he picked up a 10 second penalty for running off track and dropping two places and immediately retaking them under the safety car. Ending up outside the points in the fastest car is a major letdown, even if it was almost certainly down to the problems, it does not help his chances of pushing Verstappen.


7. Tsunoda

He looked so good in the first race, but this time round he was trying far too hard. He messed up his qualifying and then pushed himself off the road a number of times, nearly taking off Hamilton's nose in the process. He ended up with a 5 second penalty for constantly exceeding track limits as well. Not a good day, he needs to settle down a bit and not try to make up for a bad start, but just carry on as ever.


8. Alpine

An extremely disappointing race for Alpine, there were terrible in the wet and never on the pace. How long until Alonso is on the radio whinging?


9. Gasly Error

Not Gasly's error necessarily, but whoever made the call to start him on full wets got it wrong. The biggest error was compounding that mistake by leaving him out there for far too many laps so that he dropped completely out of the picture by the time he changed tyres. The fact that he eventually ended the race in 7th just showed how much potential there was in that car and how badly it cost him. He could well have been battling Norris, Hamilton and the Ferraris at the end without that horrendous call.


10. McLaren

A good race for them, but it could have been even better. First off they took far too long to tell Ricciardo to move over for Norris, who was clearly much faster. The moment he got on Ricciardo's tail was the time to get him to let Norris go. But then a bit of bad luck as there was a problem with the clutch kicking in mid-corner on Norris's car which they were unable to figure out that it was simply his knee knocking the paddle until after Hamilton was past. I also have to question the choice of softs for the restart. If you are putting softs on it should be to let a driver go for it, not so you can immediately start talling him to be careful not to burn them out! He would have been better off on mediums and pushing. Third was a good result but he could have been second, which would have been a great result.


11. Hamilton

Once again an eventful race that came close to being a complete disaster after he had done everything humanly possible to put himself into a position to win the race. After losing out at the start he showed enough pace to push Verstappen all the way and looked set to jump ahead at the pit stops until a sticky front right held up his stop. After that he was pushing hard to catch up and took an extra risk in traffic but lost it on the wet part of the track and ended up putting it in the wall trying to get the car going again. Luckily for him there was a safety car which allowed him to get back to the pits, stick a new nose on and be right in the mix once more behind Tsunoda. He was lucky on the restart to not ned up tangling with the rookie when he lost it right in front of him, then lucky when he climbed all the way back up the order to third as Norris was having issues with a clutch paddle. Second and the fastest lap was an incredible rescue act.


12. The Crash

It really seems like there is some personal needle between Bottas and Russell. Russell did make Bottas look amateur when covering for Hamilton last season. The way Russell reacted to the slight jink from Bottas to end up on the grass before coming back on to collect the Finn suggests Russell believes Bottas has no love for him. There was space there for Russell to get through, but he clearly expected Bottas to drive into him and panicked a little. It does feel like that was a very personal matter. The middle finger Bottas put up to Russell when he went over to remonstrate after the crash also suggests personal needle. I would say it could be an interesting duel for the rest of the season but it seems unlikely there will be many more races a Williams has any hope of racing the Mercedes. I was surprised Toto Wolff seemed to lay the blame on Russell for trying to overtake though, surely he should be finding out why Bottas was so much slower than a Williams?


13. Aston Whine

It seemed like Aston Martin were just there to sulk and pout the weekend away, everything about the team was underperforming. They could not even make it to the grid without incident! It is also extremely disappointing that Laurence Stroll decided to have a moan to the FIA about the new rules hindering them. He did, after all, vote for these exact same rules!


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Written by Tris Burke April 19 2021 16:44:55