Verstappen wins a dramatic Imola race

Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen won a thrilling wet-dry Emilia Romagna Formula 1 race. Beating Lewis Hamilton after clashing on the opening lap while Valtteri Bottas and George Russell suffering a race-suspending crash.

Verstappen and Hamilton made contact at the race’s opening corners, with the latter then having to put in a recovery drive after sliding off into the gravel at the Tosa hairpin just before the red flag shortly before half distance thanks to the massive accident involving his Mercedes teammate.

Rain falling in the first half of the Imola lap in the hour ahead of the race start meant most of the cars left the grid on intermediates.

From third at the start, Verstappen made a perfect getaway to pull alongside Sergio Perez when the lights went out, and was quickly able to pull alongside polesitter Hamilton – nearly running onto the grass on his left-hand side – as they shot down to the Tamburello chicane.

Verstappen was ahead by the braking zone by Hamilton braked later to stay on the outside and the pair went side-by-side around the first left part of the sequence.

The Red Bull held the racing line and when Hamilton determinedly kept his nose alongside they clashed at the chicane’s second apex, damaging the Mercedes’ left-front wing endplate and forcing Hamilton to clatter over the kerbs.

Verstappen roared clear in the lead as the pack behind continued to tentatively make their way around the opening tour, which ended with the safety car deployed after Nicholas Latifi speared into the wall exiting Acque Minerali, where he had just spun off, and pulled across the front of Nikita Mazepin’s Haas.

The race was suspended until the start of lap seven of 63, an extended period as a result of Mick Schumacher losing the rear of his Haas warming his tyres in the safety car queue and knocking his front wing off on the wall near the pit exit, which was closed as the debris was cleared.

Verstappen was able stay ahead of Hamilton as the Mercedes driver looked to outside on the run to Tamburello as they got back up to racing speed, with Charles Leclerc, who had passed Perez for third exiting the Variante Alta seconds before Latifi’s crash, also following closely in third.

But a slide exiting Acque Minerali from Hamilton gave Verstappen breathing room and he had a 3.3 seconds lead at the end of the first racing lap.

Verstappen quickly set about extending his advantage to the five-second mark, with Leclerc soon disappearing from Hamilton’s rear, but well clear of Perez, who was handed a ten seconds time addition for overtaking under the safety car as he had slide wide at Piratella and briefly let Daniel Ricciardo and the full-wet shod Pierre Gasly get by.

Hamilton was able to keep Verstappen’s lead at around five seconds for the next phase of the race as they exchanged fastest laps while considering when to come in and change their inters to slick tyres.

Just after Verstappen had edged his advantage up to six seconds approaching half distance, Hamilton was suddenly able to gain significantly, cutting the gap in half over two laps before they reached traffic at the rear of the pack.

Once they had cleared the cars in front, Verstappen’s lead was down to two seconds and after a radio exchange with his team he pitted for slicks at the end of lap 27.

Hamilton also came in for mediums at the end of the following lap, but the decision to stay out for a tour and the right front coming slowly off the Mercedes meant Verstappen’s lead was back up to 5.5 seconds at the start of lap 31.

On that tour, which had started with Verstappen lapping Valtteri Bottas, running near the end of the top ten in the other Mercedes and at the head of another pack of lapped traffic, Hamilton locked up lapping Russell at Tosa and slide into the gravel.

He went far enough to damage his front wing against the outside wall when he attempted to turn onto the escape road, which forced him to stop and slowly engage reverse and eventually go backwards out the long way onto the track.

Hamilton toured back to the pits, promoting Leclerc to second and Norris to third after Perez had dropped behind the McLaren during his penalty-addled pitstop, to change his front wing but was able to make his second stop under the safety car after Bottas and Russell’s massive accident at Tamburello.

The Williams driver had been closing in very fast on the outside of the Mercedes approaching the chicane’s left apex and just before they reached the braking zone they ran very close together.

Russell appeared to put his right-rear wheel on the grass, possibly in reaction to Bottas jinking right – the incident is to be investigated after the race – and the Williams shot left and the pair were both eliminated in a huge crash into the barriers on the inside and then outside of Tamburello, where they remonstrated with each other in the gravel after coming to a stop.

The race was red flagged for 25 minutes before it was resumed at the start of lap 35, but with a rolling safety car restart instead of a second grid start – which was used at Monza and Mugello in 2020.

Verstappen dropped Leclerc when he reached the line, seconds after the Red Bull had nearly spun the lead away when he had to catch a big moment and cut across the inside of the first Rivazza turn as the safety car peeled off ahead.

The lack of tow behind Verstappen left Leclerc vulnerable to Norris and the McLaren driver – running the softs compared to the mediums on the Ferrari and Red Bull – duly claimed second at Tamburello.

Verstappen scampered clear at the front, reaching a six-second advantage by the start of lap 43, with Norris attempting to keep his softer tyres alive to the finish ahead of Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr, who had been promoted by Perez spinning off behind the lead Ferrari as he ran through the Villeneuve chicane on lap 38 and dropping to P14.

In the pack behind, Hamilton was attempting a recovery drive after gaining back the lap he’d lost with his Tosa off and slow lap back to the pits thanks to the red flag.

He took the restart in ninth, immediately gaining a spot when Yuki Tsunoda spun off in front of the Mercedes at Tamburello on the first lap back to racing speed, and then picking off Lance Stroll and Ricciardo in quick succession once he’d fired up his mediums and benefitted from the DRS power into Tamburello.

Hamilton took a while to close in on the Ferraris ahead but eventually passed Sainz to set up a tense chase into the closing stages, with Norris trying to hold off Leclerc as Hamilton came up behind them.

When Leclerc dropped back and lost DRS behind Norris at the start of lap 55 Hamilton didn’t hesitate and took third blasting along the outside ahead of the Tamburello braking zone and set off after the McLaren.

Norris held on for a further five laps but in the end Hamilton was able to make a near-identical move with DRS at the start of lap 60 to retake the second place he had lost nearly half the race earlier.

Verstappen was already 20 seconds up the road and the two leaders exchanged fastest laps in the final few laps, which eventually went to Hamilton, as Verstappen won by 22s, with Norris coming home 1.7 seconds behind the Mercedes.

Leclerc and Sainz, who had had several offs during the wet opening stages, took fourth and fifth, ahead of Ricciardo and Stroll – the Aston Martin driver claiming points after his car was hurriedly repaired on the grid after its brakes caught fire on the laps to the grid as the rain initially fell.

Gasly ended up eighth having been a rolling roadblock on his full wets early on, with Kimi Raikkonen ninth but facing a post-race investigation for a possible rolling start restart infraction.

Esteban Ocon took the final point in P10 ahead of his Alpine teammate Fernando Alonso, who had knocked his front wing off sliding off at Tosa on the pre-race laps ahead of the start and later had a spin in the aftermath of the Bottas/Russell shunt.

Perez ended up P12 ahead of Tsunoda, while Sebastian Vettel was a late retirement with a suspected gearbox issue.

So an exciting race at Imola. Congratulations to Max Verstappen in winning the race. Awesome fight back from Lewis Hamilton considering he went off track and damaged the front wing. As for Lando Norris, fantastic to see the McLaren taking third. Solid performance from the fans favourite.

Race results:
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 2:02:34.598
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 22.000
3 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes 23.702s
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 25.579
5 Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 27.036
6 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren-Mercedes 51.220
7 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes 51.909
8 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 52.818
9 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:04.773
10 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault 1:05.704
11 Fernando Alonso Alpine-Renault 1:06.561
12 Sergio Perez Red Bull-Honda 1:07.151
13 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Honda 1:13.184
14 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1 lap
15 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin-Mercedes DNF
16 Mick Schumacher Haas-Ferrari 2 laps
17 Nikita Mazepin Haas-Ferrari 2 laps
– Valtteri Bottas Mercedes DNF
– George Russell Williams-Mercedes DNF
– Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes DNF

5 thoughts to “Verstappen wins a dramatic Imola race”

  1. Race review as reported by

    Max Verstappen took a superb victory in an action-packed Emilia Romagna Grand Prix that was red-flagged half way through after a a high-speed crash involving Valtteri Bottas and George Russell, which both walked away from unhurt. Lewis Hamilton recovered from a spin at Tosa to finish second, while Lando Norris made it from seventh to third with a terrific drive that earned him the Driver of the Day tag.

    For the 99th time in his F1 career, Hamilton started from pole as rain fell at Imola, but it was Verstappen who jumped from third to first with a masterful second-gear launch. Hamilton briefly led again when Verstappen pitted for mediums from intermediates on Lap 27, but the Briton emerged second thanks to his sluggish stop one lap later. On Lap 31, the seven-time champion locked up and beached his car at Tosa, only to rejoin P8.

    A terrifying accident followed that as Bottas and Russell came together at Tamburello. Both were thankfully unhurt, but Bottas was apparently winded and Russell furious as another potential points finish slipped away from the Williams driver in a spectacular fashion.

    The red flag followed to allow marshals to clear the cars and debris, and the rolling restart saw Verstappen keep his lead, with Hamilton quickly making up ground from P8. A brilliant recovery followed, with the world champion up to fifth by Lap 43, fourth by Lap 50 and third – at the expense of Leclerc – by Lap 55.

    Victory was to be Verstappen’s, however, and by a margin over 20 seconds at the flag as the action behind did nothing to rattle him. That left Hamilton second, Norris third thanks to a sensational drive from P7, and Leclerc fourth – his podium having slipped away to the superior McLaren of Norris, who had jumped the Ferrari after the red flag restart.

    Carlos Sainz finished fifth even after two trips through the gravel, while Daniel Ricciardo took sixth for McLaren having started there.

    Lance Stroll was once again rapid in the wet and made it to P7 from P10, ahead of Pierre Gasly whose choice to start on wets didn’t pay off, leaving him as low as 17th on Lap 16 when he bit the bullet and swapped to inters.

    Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen started 16th but made it up to P11 in the wet, taking P9 when Bottas and Russell came together. That left Esteban Ocon, who started ninth, rounding out the top 10 for Alpine’s first point of the season.

    Light winds and cloud cover shadowed the track as the paddock paid tribute to MotoGP legend Fausto Gresini an hour before the race, and that escalated to conditions that had the drivers use a mix of intermediate and medium tyres on the way to the grid.

    Thirty minutes before lights out, Fernando Alonso spun his Alpine on inters on his way to the grid, damaging his front wing. Panic then followed at Aston Martin when Lance Stroll’s car sprung a rear-right brake fire as he trundled up to his grid slot. The team changed his and team mate Sebastian Vettel’s brakes in a frantic pre-race repair, and Vettel had to start from the pitlane as a result – and would finish his race in the pits too, when he was forced to retire with a gearbox issue.

    They say that when it rains, it pours, and it began to do exactly that as Charles Leclerc spun at Acqua Minerale on the formation lap. He was one of 16 to choose intermediates for the start; with only Haas pair Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin, Alpine’s Esteban Ocon and AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly on full wet tyres.

    It was pole position #99 – but hopes of win #97 quickly faded for Lewis Hamilton as Max Verstappen instantly jumped him at the start from P3. At Tamburello the two touched wheels and Hamilton thudded over the kerbs, parts of his floor and wing flying off in the process. Verstappen sped away with the Mercedes driver chasing.

    Lap 2 brought the first Safety Car of the race as Nicholas Latifi spun, then continued at Acqua Minerale. But as he rejoined, contact with Mazepin tipped him into a spin and sent the Williams hurtling into the wall and out of the race just before Turn 14. Behind the Safety Car, Mazepin’s team mate Mick Schumacher lost his front wing in a spin at the pit exit as drivers struggled on the slippery surface.

    Perez had lost P3 to Charles Leclerc just before the Mazepin/Latifi collision and worse was to come for the Mexican. Behind the Safety Car, he went off track and then regained the two places he lost. He was hit with a 10-second penalty for overtaking the Safety Car and took that penalty on Lap 29, ending the race down in 12th.

    When the race restarted on Lap 7, Hamilton was right on Verstappen’s tail for the Safety Car restart and attempted a move mirroring the Dutchman’s at the start, but to no avail. Leclerc was right behind them, hoping to capitalise on any mistakes, but despite a slight wobble from Hamilton, the top three remained the same, at least for a good few laps…

    Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas, who was 10th on the restart, couldn’t move anywhere at this point in the race. A melee of midfield cars was ahead – Lance Stroll, Sainz, Gasly and Lando Norris – and all were sparring for sixth place. Norris was the one to take it, Gasly’s choice of wet tyres yielding diminishing returns. The AlphaTauri driver was finally switched to inters on Lap 16, emerging in 17th.

    Soon after, Norris and Ricciardo swapped positions under team orders, with the Briton’s pace deemed superior to the Australian’s. Ricciardo then lost P5 to Sainz – who had shrugged off two trips through the gravel – on the main straight in a brief Lap 27 skirmish.

    Back to the front where Verstappen began to call back to the pits over the radio, eager to know who would take slick tyres first as the track gradually began to dry. With a five-second advantage over Hamilton, the Dutchman blinked first and took medium tyres on Lap 27, leaving Hamilton one lap to make up time and pull off an overcut on the Red Bull.

    What followed was a quick lap from Hamilton but a slightly slow pitstop – four seconds – on Lap 28 that had him emerge second and Verstappen re-take the lead. But this seemingly crucial moment would fade into insignificance soon after, as Hamilton locked up on Lap 31 at Tosa (Turn 7), damaging his front wing as he slowly recovered his car with a gentle run in reverse gear over the gravel.

    Then, a heart-stopping moment: with George Russell looking a sure shot for points having made up a three places from P12, he encountered Bottas on the way into Tamburello and the two collided spectacularly, sending them both spinning into the barriers and out of the race. Replays showed that Russell lost control with two wheels on the wet grass on the outside of the corner, continued at full throttle, and was left furious as this chance to score his first points for Williams was ruined.

    A red flag and a long stoppage for the clean-up followed with all the cars stopped in the pitlane, Hamilton to restart eighth, now on the lead lap, behind Lance Stroll as the Briton held his head in his hands, reflecting on his mistake at Tosa. He had it all to do to get a podium, but chances of a win were slim at best with Verstappen to restart in the lead.

    Behind Verstappen on the Lap 35 rolling restart was Leclerc, then Norris and penalty-hit Perez in fourth. A brief scare followed for Verstappen as a squeeze of throttle very nearly lost him the lead on the penultimate corner, but he gathered it all up and continued in front.

    Norris was on soft tyres for the restart and made quick work of taking P2 from Leclerc – the heartbreak of a stellar lap chalked off for track limits infringements in qualifying fading away for the McLaren man.

    On Lap 38, Perez spun off at the Villeneuve Chicane and was down from P4 to P14, adding insult to injury in a poor race for the Mexican. Meanwhile, Hamilton wrestled positions off Kimi Raikkonen and Lance Stroll, beginning his charge up the field as Verstappen slowly began to stretch his legs over Norris in front.

    Hamilton took P5 off Daniel Ricciardo soon after at Tamburello and was setting fastest laps to put himself just 12 seconds off the lead on Lap 43. But the seven-time champion found Sainz, ahead in fourth, a stubborn obstacle. Only on Lap 50 did Hamilton wrestle P4 off the Spaniard, doing so with DRS into Tamburello.

    “Let’s get after it, mate,” he was told on the radio by his race engineer Pete Bonnington. But Verstappen was 14 seconds ahead at this point, unthreatened by the McLaren of Norris and the Ferrari of Leclerc behind.

    Hamilton took P3 off Leclerc using DRS on Lap 55 and was back up into the podium places, Verstappen now 17 seconds ahead and Norris fuming at backmarkers hampering his efforts to cling onto P2 on his soft tyres.

    Norris’s nerves were clear to see when Hamilton emerged in his mirrors on Lap 60, and over the radio came a message to Norris that he was “knocking the clutch paddles” with his knees. He proved a tough obstacle for Hamilton, but the Briton swept by for P2 three laps to the end and his charge back up the field was complete.

    By the chequered flag, Verstappen was 22 seconds ahead of Hamilton, but the runner-up took the Fastest Lap bonus point in the process, crucially giving him a one-point lead in the championship.

    The Ferraris missed out on a podium at home, Leclerc struggling with Norris’s pace and eventually losing out to a charging Hamilton at the end. Sainz shrugged off two trips through the gravel to finish fifth from 11th after a brilliant start, and a nailbiting battle with the likes of sixth place McLaren driver Ricciardo and seventh-place Aston Martin racer Stroll, who started 10th.

    Gasly dropped as low as 17th as his gamble to take wets starting in P5 didn’t pay off, but he recovered to P8 ahead of Raikkonen – who was investigated after the race for an infringement during the Lap 35 rolling restart. Raikkonen made up seven positions and held off a train of cars behind him: Esteban Ocon taking the first F1 point for Alpine in P10; veteran Fernando Alonso who started 15th and finished 11th; and the penalty-hit Sergio Perez down in 12th.

    Hopes of a Yuki Tsunoda comeback into the points were undone by a slow spin on the Lap 35 rolling restart, and he ended the race 13th having started last thanks to a Q1 crash on Saturday.

    Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi was running ninth at home on the Lap 35 restart having capitalised on the three retirements for Bottas, Russell and Latifi, and while he looked sure for points he had to stop for a fix to his brakes and ended the race 14th, only ahead of Vettel who was classified a finisher though his gearbox gave way late on.

    Haas rounded out the standings, 16th-place Mick Schumacher finishing around a minute ahead of team mate Nikita Mazepin, who spun at Acqua Minerale late in the race and ended 17th.

  2. Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas commented that his Imola crash with George Russell was “clearly his mistake”. has the details.

    Valtteri Bottas pointed the finger at George Russell following their high-speed crash in the Formula 1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, saying it was “clearly his mistake”.

    Bottas and Russell collided on the run to the first chicane halfway through on Sunday at Imola, causing both cars to be eliminated from the race instantly.

    The collision left debris strewn across the track and caused a red flag that suspended the race with 30 laps remaining.

    Russell was gaining rapidly on Bottas down the main straight, and moved to the right-hand side of the track to try a move around the outside of the Mercedes.

    But the Williams driver touched the white line at the side of the track, causing him to lose control and spear to the left, directly into Bottas’s Mercedes W12.

    Both drivers were left fuming over team radio by the incident. Russell immediately went to the cockpit of Bottas’s car to make his feelings known and tapped the Finn’s helmet. Bottas responded by showing his middle finger to Russell.

    Speaking after the crash, Bottas made clear that he thought Russell was to blame for the collision as he left enough room.

    “I could see him earlier on the straight, then I noticed that he moved to the right,” Bottas said.

    “From the replays I saw, I always left space for two cars to be there, but he obviously lost it and hit me, and that was game over.”

    Asked about Russell’s reaction, Bottas said: “I don’t know what he was on about, because it was clearly his mistake.

    “So I was not happy with him. But that’s how it is.”

    Bottas said he was yet to speak any further with Russell about the crash, but would do so with the stewards, who confirmed they would investigate the incident after the race.

    Russell took to Twitter to give his version of events, saying that he was “fine, just disappointed” after running in the points before the crash.

    “At the end of the day, it’s an unfortunate incident,” Russell wrote.

    “You’re entitled to defend your position. But at 330kph, you have to respect the speed and the conditions when doing so.

    “Gutted for the team. They deserved more today.”

  3. However George Russell has said if was a different driver. he may not have made same move on. has the news story.

    George Russell has questioned Valtteri Bottas’s “dangerous” move in their Imola Formula 1 crash on Sunday, saying he would have acted differently “perhaps if it was another driver”.

    Russell and Bottas crashed out while battling for ninth place halfway through Sunday’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, colliding at high-speed on the approach to Turn 2.

    Russell gained on Bottas using DRS and moved to the right-hand side of the track to try and overtake, only for Bottas to make a slight move to the right.

    It caused Russell to lose control of his car and spear into Bottas’s Mercedes, leaving both cars out of the race and causing a red flag.

    Both drivers were left fuming by the incident. Russell tapped Bottas’s helmet when he went to his cockpit to vent his anger, while Bottas responded by showing his middle finger.

    Bottas claimed after the incident that it was “clearly” Russell’s mistake and that he left enough room, but Russell felt Bottas had broken a gentleman’s agreement.

    “We’ve had this gentleman’s agreement that when there’s a faster car approaching with the DRS, you don’t jolt the steering wheel at the very last moment,” Russell said.

    “I pulled out, I got the slipstream, I pulled out, and just as I pulled out, Valtteri moved very slightly, and that just put me off-line and put me onto the wet stuff.

    “In perfectly dry conditions on a very ordinary circuit, it’s dangerous, let alone on a very narrow track when we are turning and there’s wet patches. So an unfortunate incident.

    “But equally, it’s been inevitable, an incident like that would occur when drivers make small moves like this. It’s the smallest of moves, but when you’re going at 220 mph, and you’re going 30 mph quicker than the car ahead, it’s massive.”

    Russell questioned why Bottas would make such an aggressive move when battling for ninth place, and pondered whether he would have acted different with another driver.

    Russell is a member of Mercedes’ junior programme, and has been tipped as a possible successor to Bottas at the team in the future.

    “Obviously I was very pissed off and frustrated with him at the time,” Russell said.

    “I’m fighting for P9, a P9 for him is absolutely nothing. Almost meaningless. He did a move that you would do if you were fighting for victory on the last lap of the race.

    “It begs the question why he would do that for P9. Perhaps if it was another driver, he wouldn’t have. So that’s what went through my mind.

    “Like I said, he’s not fully to blame, I don’t think I’m fully to blame. But it could have been avoided. I think this is a good example for the stewards, very minor movements like this will create crashes, and here we are.”

    Russell said he had “no doubts” Bottas felt he was to blame for the incident, but said he was aware of the right etiquette when battling at high speed.

    “I’m sure from his perspective, he feels it’s my fault, I’ve got no doubts about that,” Russell said.

    “Equally, he knows the closing speeds of these cars, when you’re behind with slipstream and DRS. He knows that is not the correct thing to be doing.

    “Like I said, if you’re fighting for victory on the last lap of the race, maybe. But not in conditions like this and not mid-race when he is P9, which is nothing.”

  4. Mercedes chief Toto Wolff believes his protégé George Russell has “lots to learn” following his Formula 1 crash with Valtteri Bottas at Imola, saying the Mercedes car is almost a write-off.

    Williams driver Russell collided with Bottas when trying to overtake for ninth place at high-speed during Sunday’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, resulting in a sizeable crash.

    The incident left debris strewn across the track and caused the race to be red-flagged, and sparked angry reactions from both Russell and Bottas, who blamed each other.

    Mercedes team principal Wolff said that while there was “never such a situation in life where one is 100% to blame and the other zero”, he questioned why Russell made the move that he did, particularly as a Mercedes young driver.

    “The whole situation should have never happened,” Wolff said. “Valtteri had a bad first 30 laps, and shouldn’t have been there. But George should have never launched into this manoeuvre, considering that the track was drying up.

    “It meant taking risks, and the other car is a Mercedes in front of him. In any driver’s development, for a young driver, you must never lose this global perspective.

    “So yeah, lots to learn for him I guess.”

    Russell has been a member of Mercedes’ young driver programme since 2017, and has been tipped as a possible future driver for the senior team.

    Wolff felt Russell should have handled the situation differently given he was fighting against a Mercedes car.

    “You need to see that there is a Mercedes and it is wet, it bears a certain risk to overtake,” Wolff said.

    “And the odds are against him anyway when the track is drying up. Now I don’t want him to try to prove anything to us, because one thing I can say since knowing Valtteri for five years, he’s not trying to prove anything.”

    Following the incident, Russell questioned why Bottas made the move he did when battling for ninth place, saying: “Perhaps if it was another driver, he wouldn’t have. So that’s what went through my mind.” Russell has been tipped as a possible successor to Bottas at Mercedes, potentially as early as 2022.

    When told the quote by, Wolff said the suggestion was “bullshit”.

    “The whole situation is absolutely not amusing for us, to be honest,” Wolff said.

    “It’s quite a big shunt. Our car is almost a write-off in a cost-cap environment that is certainly what we needed, and probably it’s going to limit upgrades that we’re able to do.

    “Simply the fact that we ended there by losing it in the wet, because there was no contact, losing it on the wet, and making both cars crash out is not what I expect to see.”


  5. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton admitted he was rushing to pass lapped Formula 1 cars in a bid to catch leader Max Verstappen which triggered his Imola crash. has the news story.

    Lewis Hamilton says being in too much of a rush to get past lapped traffic triggered the off that nearly derailed his podium hopes in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

    The Formula 1 world champion was in a tight fight with Max Verstappen for the lead at Imola as they worked their way through backmarkers on the damp but drying track.

    But as Hamilton dived off line to get past George Russell, he couldn’t slow himself down enough on the damp track surface and ran off through the gravel trap and into the barriers.

    The Mercedes driver managed to reverse back on to the track and benefited soon afterwards when a red flag was brought out for the big crash between Russell and Valtteri Bottas.

    That allowed the team to fully repair his car and, although he resumed the race down in ninth spot, he charged his way through to finish second.

    Reflecting on his moment at Tosa, Hamilton said afterwards: “There was only one dry line. And I guess I was in a bit too much of a hurry to get by everyone.

    “I came into the inside and I could see it was wet. I was trying to stop but the thing wouldn’t stop and it sent me off.

    “I was a bit unfortunate but I’m really, really grateful that we got to get going again, and to get some points for the team is really important today.”

    A non-score at Imola would have gifted rival Verstappen a healthy lead in the world championship, but the bigger picture was not on Hamilton’s mind as he waited during the red flag period.

    “I wasn’t thinking about it,” he said. “I was just trying to get over the gutting kind of feeling it is when you make a mistake, and just moving on from it and just learning from it real quick.

    “You don’t have time to dwell on it, so that’s what I did: got back into racing spirit. I didn’t know whether or not we’ll be able to overtake, because again offline was going to be wet. But still we had some really good fun battles with all the guys.”

    Hamilton came through to grab second from McLaren’s Lando Norris in the closing stages, and said he was thrilled that his former team was doing so well.

    “Firstly, congratulations to Max. He did a fantastic job today and just solid work from him, and also to Lando, what an awesome job. It’s so great to see McLaren back up there.

    “On my side it was not the greatest of days. So, first time I’ve made a mistake in a long time, but I’m grateful I was able to bring the car home.”

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