Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – Race


An exciting Quali session resulted in a slightly different grid: HAM, PER, VER, LEC, GAS, RIC, NOR, BOT, OCO, STR, SAI, RUS, VET, LAT, ALO, RAI, GIO, SCH, MAZ, TSU* (*TSU did not set a lap time and will need to appeal to the stewards to be allowed to race)
The start should be interesting with HAM and VER on the medium compound tyres but PER on the quicker softs.

BBC forecast is for rain before the start of the race… and as I type that I see tweets saying it’s started pouring down!

TSU has been given a 5-place penalty for the gearbox change (needed due to him putting his AlphaTauri into the tyre wall at Variante Alta) so he’s dropped from P20 to… P20 🙂
Offically: “Tsunoda failed to set a qualifying time within the Q1 107% requirement, so races at stewards’ discretion. Penalised five places for an unscheduled gearbox change and required to start from the back of the grid for use of additional power unit elements.”

Damon Hill recalling his race at Imola in 1995, the first time they’d been back to this circuit since Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna died – Hill won the race for Williams

Sky Sports report it’s barely spitting in the pit lane but it’s still pouring down on the other side of the circuit

Pit lane is open – cars can go out to check the track and then either return to the pits or form up on the grid
Radio from VER saying “Massive rain, mate. We need to change to extreme” (full-wet tyres)
ALO is off, a slow tap of the tyre wall but he’s damaged his front wing
Meanwhile NOR reports “Final sector pretty much completely dry; inters is OK, but the first sector is pretty sketchy”
STR is driving down the pit lane with his brakes on fire! Radio for STR tells him to “drive quickly to put the fire out”!!
Radio for BOT telling him he’s got a rear puncture; “Interesting” says a very calm BOT

STR is on the grid and the Aston Martin mechanics are frantically changing brake components – apparently that’s usually a 20+ minute job but they’ve only got about 15mins before they have to clear the grid
The rain is getting harder

Air temperature 11°C; track 18°C – there were challenges yesterday with it being so cool, and today’s colder!
It’s time for “We race as one” and then the anthem and flyover

Radio for HAM; expecting a light shower about 5-10 minutes in to the race
FIA official forecast says “risk of rain for F1 race is 80%”
Temperature has dropped to 9.4°C

Looks like everyone starting on intermediate tyres except OCO, GAS, MAZ and SCH on full wets
VET has been pushed into the pit lane as the mechanics are still working on his car

HAM leads everyone (except VET) away on the formation lap
LEC spins – keeps it out of the wall and rejoins, so he can reclaim his grid spot
Radio from VET, “Brake by wire failed”

01/63: HAM swamped by the Red Bulls into Turn 1
VER and HAM make contact; did that damage HAM’s front wing?
VER takes P1
SAI runs wide, rejoins
LAT off too
LAT off a second time, into the wall – replay shows he collided with MAZ
Safety Car deployed

02[SC]: OCO pits to switch from full wets to inters
Radio for HAM telling him there’s damage to his front wing end plate

03[SC]: VER, HAM, LEC, PER, RIC, GAS, STR, SAI, NOR, BOT, RUS, RAI, GIO, TSU, SCH, ALO, MAZ, OCO, VET; out: LAT

04[SC]: Radio for SCH telling him there’s more rain
SCH hits the wall at the pit exit; wipes out his front wing but pulls away
Pit lane closed due to SCH’s debris

05/63[SC]: SCH can’t enter the pit lane for a new wing because his debris is still at the pit exit
PER runs wide, across the gravel; drops behind RIC
PER reclaims P4 … but is he allowed to overtake RIC while they’re behind the SC?

06[SC]: Pit lane open now
SC in at the end of this lap
SCH finally pits for a new nose

07: HAM attacking VER but backs off
SAI past GAS for P6
GAS reclaims P6, but SAI attacks again

08: VER, HAM, LEC, PER, RIC, GAS, SAI, NOR
NOR passes SAI
Race control: Lap 1 incident between HAM and VER “noted”

09: VER fastest lap 1:32.925
NOR takes P6 from GAS
SAI passes GAS too

10/63: VER, HAM, LEC, PER, RIC, NOR, SAI, GAS, STR, BOT
VER f/lap 1:30.953
PER reports “The steering wheel is moving by itself”
Radio for MAZ asking about his tyres; MAZ wants to be left alone

11: VER’s lead 5sec
HAM f/lap 1:30.100
SAI off across the gravel; recovers, still P7
NOR passes teammate RIC for P5 but RIC reclaims it
Race control: PER under investigation for overtaking while behind the SC

12: HAM f/lap 1:28.724
PER given 10sec stop/go penalty – Imola has the longest pit lane, so this is a big penalty
Penalty updated: it’s 10sec time penalty, not stop/go so the team can work on the car after he serves it

14: VER f/lap 1:28.119
TSU takes P13 from teammate GAS
(GAS is still on full wet tyres)

15/63: VER, HAM, LEC, PER, RIC, NOR, SAI, STR, BOT, RUS, RAI, GIO, TSU, VET, OCO
VER 1:27.740
SAI off across the gravel, recovers
GAS pits; inters go on

16: VER f/lap 1:27.059

18: VER’s lead fairly stable at ~5sec

19: Radio for NOR telling him to eek out the inters because they don’t want to be the first on dry tyres

20/63: VER, HAM, LEC, PER, NOR, RIC, SAI, STR, BOT, RUS, RAI, GIO, TSU, VET, OCO, ALO, SCH, GAS, MAZ; out: LAT

21: PER f/lap 1:26.456

22: VET pits; medium tyres go on
Race control: VET given 10sec stop/go penalty for not having the tyres fitted before the start of the race (Why did it take so long to decide that?)

23: BOT within DRS range of STR

24: VET serves his stop/go penalty

25/63: VER, HAM, LEC, PER, NOR, RIC, SAI, STR, BOT, RUS, RAI, GIO, TSU, OCO, ALO, GAS, VET, SCH, MAZ

26: HAM closing the gap to VER
SAI takes P6 from RIC
Radio from HAM reporting it’s still wet in places

27: VER’s lead down to 2sec
TSU switches to dry tyres

28: VER pits from P1; mediums go on; rejoins P3
Radio for HAM telling him to go for it, “You’ve got one lap”
RUS and RAI pit too
SAI and RIC pit as well

29: HAM pits from P1; a bit slow on the front right; rejoins P2
VET f/lap 1:25.524
PER pits; serves his 10sec penalty; new steering wheel
BOT pits from P6; mediums

30: VER, HAM, LEC, NOR, PER, SAI, RIC, BOT, STR, RUS, RAI, TSU, GIO, OCO, ALO, GAS, VET, SCH, MAZ; out: LAT
VER f/lap 1:24.169
VET f/lap 1:23.756

31: BOT (P8) lapped by VER
STR steals P8 from BOT
HAM off! Across the gravel, into the tyre wall
HAM finds reverse, back across the gravel and finds the track
SC deployed
BOT and RUS collide – both off

32[SC]: Replay shows RUS was trying to pass BOT, but BOT was moving right; RUS touched the grass, spun into the side of BOT; BOT hits the left wall; both of them spin into the gravel; they both hit the right wall; there’s debris everywhere! Good thing is both drivers are ok, but RUS is furious at BOT
Replay of HAM’s incident shows he was passing a backmarker, found some water and slid off across the gravel

33[SC]: Red flag – race suspended
Cars line up in the pit lane

Track workers busy clearing the track and removing BOT & RUS’ cars from the gravel
They’ll have to put up new brake countdown markers, if they have them
A chance for the drivers to calm down and collect themselves

More replays of the BOT/RUS incident
RUS was almost alongside as BOT was drifting right, so I’m not sure who’s to blame
Was it RUS that HAM was lapping when he slid off?

Restart order: VER, LEC, NOR, PER, SAI, RIC, STR, RAI, HAM, TSU, GIO, ALO, OCO, GAS, VET, SCH, MAZ; out: BOT, RUS, LAT
They’re all on mediums except OCO, SCH and MAZ … but they are allowed to change before the restart
Everyone’s served their penalties (at least the penalties known when the red flags came out) so what you see is what you get 🙂
Race control: lapped cars from STR (P7) down will leave the pit lane first so they will go round and join the back of the pack

The lapped cars are sent out, and they rejoin at the back of the queue in the pit lane

34[SC]: Race control: SC will enter pits, rolling start
Looks like a few have switched to soft tyres
RAI loses the tail, across the grass but recovers
VER loses it too but recovers just in time before the restart

35/63: NOR immediately passes LEC and PER to steal P2
TSU off, spins into the gravel but recovers

36: VER, NOR, LEC, PER, SAI, RIC, STR, HAM, RAI, GIO, ALO, GAS, OCO, VET, TSU, SCH, MAZ; out: BOT, RUS, LAT

37: VER f/lap 1:21.006

38: VER f/lap 1:20.353
PER runs wide, backwards across the gravel; recovers but he’s down to P14

39: VER f/lap 1:19.726
DRS now enabled
HAM uses DRS to get the jump on STR and takes P6

40/63: VER, NOR, LEC, SAI, RIC, HAM, STR, RAI, GIO, GAS
VER f/lap 1:19.579
HAM f/lap 1:19.479
Radio for STR telling him there’s a problem with the Aston Martin losing sync

41: VER f/lap 1:18.935
GIO pits from P9; adjustment to right rear brakes; rejoins P15

42: VER f/lap 1:18.786
HAM closing on RIC; swoops past for P5

43: VER f/lap 1:18.680
HAM f/lap 1:18.332
VET closing on ALO
Radio for HAM telling him NOR (P2) is on softs so that might back everyone up

45/63: VER, NOR, LEC, SAI, HAM, RIC, STR, RAI, GAS, OCO, ALO, VET, PER, TSU, GIO, SCH, MAZ
TSU time deleted for exceeding track limits; once more and he’ll get a penalty

46: VER f/lap 1:18.284
Black and white flag for TSU for exceeding track limits
GAS takes P8 from RAI

47: VER f/lap 1:18.011
PER right on the tail of VET
LEC now inside DRS range of NOR
PER dives past VET but bounces over the corner and VET reclaims P12

48: SAI closing on LEC as NOR starts to create a train
PER takes P12 from VET

49: HAM has a look at SAI but the Ferrari stays ahead

50/63: VER, NOR, LEC, SAI, HAM, RIC, STR, GAS, RAI, OCO, ALO, PER, VET, TSU, GIO, SCH, MAZ
HAM takes P4 from SAI

51: Radio from NOR complaining of vibrations
HAM f/lap 1:17.858

52: LEC has DRS as he’s under 1sec behind NOR, and HAM has DRS behind LEC
TSU takes P13 from VET

53: VER’s lead 14.5sec over NOR
RAI also has a train behind him, with OCO, ALO and PER all on his tail

54: NOR closing to lap MAZ

55: VER f/lap 1:17.766
LEC not close enough to get DRS but HAM does, so HAM blasts past for P3

56: TSU given 5sec penalty for exceeding track limits yet again

57: HAM has a look at NOR but plays it safe

58: NOR defending well despite his tyres being almost done
GAS runs wide, through the gravel; recovers still P8

59: NOR driving well, making the McLaren very wide
Radio from NOR complaining of clutch slip in the middle of the corners; he’s told he’s just touching the clutch paddle

60/63: HAM makes a clean move to take P2
Can NOR hang on to P3?

61: VER f/lap 1:17.524
HAM f/lap 1:16.702

62: VER is 20sec clear of HAM
RAI has kept the train behind him for ~10 laps
MAZ spins; recovers
Radio for VET telling him to retire

63=final lap: VER, HAM, NOR, LEC, SAI, RIC, STR, GAS, RAI, OCO, ALO, PER, TSU, GIO, VET, SCH, MAZ
VET pits, retires

VER takes the chequered flag
HAM P2 and fastest lap
NOR P3

What a race! I’m exhausted!

Interviews:
VER: “Very challenging out there, especially the beginning. I think we managed everything well, despite the small moment at my restart. It’s a long season, got to stay calm!”
HAM: “Congratulations to Max and Lando. On my side, it’s the first time I’ve made a mistake in a long time. I’m really grateful to be here, it was so hard to get going again. I had some really fun battles with all the guys.”
NOR: “I’m happy, a nice recovery after yesterday. I didn’t start so well but I came back through, I had good pace. It’s nice to be fighting these guys, it’s nice to be there on merit, there on pace. I’m happy with third, I’m not disappointed!”
Christian Horner: “A tough day for all of them today. Max got a mega start, braved it out into the first turn and from there out controlled the race brilliantly. It’s always tough to lose a race in Bahrain where it’s so marginal, so to come here and get the victory – it’s by far the best start we’ve had [to a season] for quite some years now.”

Provisional result: VER, HAM*, NOR, LEC, SAI, RIC, STR, GAS, RAI, OCO; ALO, PER, TSU, GIO, VET, SCH, MAZ
DNF: BOT, RUS, LAT
*Fastest lap: HAM, 1:16.702

BOT and RUS have been called to see the stewards about their lap 32 incident; both feel it’s the other’s fault; watching multiple replays and drivers’ reactions, I think it’s 50:50 or at most 60:40 RUS’s fault.

[2021 calendar] [2021 line-up]