Italian Grand Prix , On an overcast Sunday, the Tifosi, i.e., Ferrari fans, filled the grandstands of the Imola circuit for the fourth round of the 2022 season.
Despite a threat of rain throughout the 63-lap race, Max Verstappen crossed the chequered flag to finish first in a dominating win.
Sergio Perez in the other Red Bull provided a 1-2 podium. The weekend followed the sprint format that had been introduced last year.
Accordingly, the 20 drivers only had one practice session on Friday before an intense Qualifying.
Bleeding Red – Italian Grand Prix
The grid set up by the Quali now competed for points in the Spring race on Saturday. With a drive on the edge, the Dutch world champion had secured a thrilling pole in wet conditions to start the sprint from the very front of the grid.
Despite an overtake by Charles Leclerc on Lap 1, Verstappen passed him in the latter half of the race. The Ferrari driver from Monaco could not preserve his tires sufficiently and suffered setbacks in the end.
When it rains, it pours and the phrase gained relevance for Leclerc on Sunday. On a quickly drying track, Leclerc started on the front row behind his childhood rival Max.
But the Red Bulls launched with a better reaction time as Perez swapped positions with Leclerc for P2.
The battle continued throughout the race until the Ferrari driver made a huge error under pressure and attacked a curb aggressively.
The move proved costly as the red Ferrari hit the barriers and sustained damage on the front wing. For what could have been an easy podium in front of the team’s home crowd, Leclerc could only finish P6.
Ferrari’s woes further worsened with Carlos Sainz beaching his car in the gravel on the fault of his own. The incident occurred after Daniel Ricciardo came into contact with him in a packed start.
The minor damage from the contact ruined his chances for the podium as well and the veteran driver could only finish last.
Gains for Mercedes Powered Cars
However, McLaren still found a reason to smile as Lando Norris finished on the last step of the podium. After a difficult start in the first two rounds, McLaren has recovered a significant amount of pace and scored points consecutively.
In a similar situation, Aston Martin also scored points for the first time. After a disastrous start to their campaign, the British team owned by Lawrence Stroll exploited the wet conditions, with Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll finishing respectively.
The most disappointing performance was surprisingly exhibited by Mercedes, a team that has dominated the turbo-hybrid era for the past 8 years.
Both George Russell and Lewis Hamilton were knocked out in Q2 on Friday in a bizarre session for the team from Brackley.
The only silver lining for the silver arrows was the consistency of Russell, who finished P4 without any opposition. His teammate Hamilton struggled once again and featured outside points.
The 7-time world champion spent the better part of the race behind the rear of Pierre Gasly’s Alpha Tauri, a battle that might have given him flashbacks of last year’s Monaco race.
With a grand slam for the first time in a sprint weekend, Max along with Sergio scored 58 points. The massive haul has helped significantly reduce the gap in the Constructor’s Championship, with Red Bull only 10 points behind Ferrari.
The championship battle has also spiced up as Verstappen inches slowly yet closer to P1 in the World Driver’s Championship. The title race will continue in Miami where Ferrari is expected to bring up upgrades for the first time.
Edited by – Vanshika Sahu
Published by – Mohd Faizan