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What We Learned From The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Max Verstappen after winning the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix
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Max Verstappen won the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in Imola in an action-packed race filled with rain, high-profile mistakes, high-speed crashes and red flags. Amongst all the chaos and commotion in the challenging slippery conditions, it was Max Verstappen who took the top spot of the podium with a near-flawless performance while Lewis Hamilton uncharacteristically spun off in the wet before recovering spectacularly to finish second. It was also a good day for Lando Norris who took the second podium of his career to finish third behind the Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz in fourth and fifth.

There was plenty of drama and action across the grid and here is what we learned from the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

The Championship Battle is on


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Lewis Hamilton might still have the lead in the Championship after taking the bonus point for the fastest lap in Imola but Verstappen and Red Bull have been the most impressive team over the first two rounds of the season. Verstappen had the faster car in Bahrain despite finishing 2nd but followed it up with a masterful performance in the wet in Italy to take his 1st win of the season. This has been Red Bull’s best start to a season since 2013 and they have shown that they have a car that is strong in different types of circuits. More importantly, Max Verstappen just keeps getting better and better and is ready to challenge Lewis Hamilton and become the 2nd youngest World Champions in F1 history. 

You just can’t count Lewis out


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As Lewis Hamilton spun off on Lap 32 while looking to overtake the backmarkers, you feared the worst. The 7-time world champion damaged his front wing and was stuck in the gravel trap while his championship rival was racing away in the lead. Nevertheless, despite making a rare error, Hamilton stayed calm and eventually got the car back on track and limped back to the pits. While Hamilton did have some good fortune with the Red Flag moments later due to the Russell Bottas crash which prevented any loss of time, he was crucially was able to reset after the stoppage and deliver an outstanding recovery drive to finish P2.

Lando Norris’s time is now


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Following his superb 4th place finish in Bahrain, Lando Norris followed it up with another wonderful drive in the wet in Imola to earn the 2nd podium of his career after the opening race of the shortened 2020 calendar in Austria. Lando should have started in 3rd on the grid but had his final lap time in Q3 deleted for disregarding track limits. Nevertheless, Lando made amends on Sunday and charged up the field from P8 and to eventually finish third. Norris has continuously improved along with the car in his two seasons in Formula One and looks set to compete for podiums regularly this season with the overall package that McLaren have developed. Norris is no longer the future of Formula One, his time along with the likes of Verstappen and Leclerc, is now.

The Ferraris are fighting again


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After a horror season in 2020, Ferrari are slowly and surely making their way back up the grid and enjoyed a nice quiet home race in Imola which ended in a double point finish in P4 and P5. Leclerc was in the podium places for much of this race after his stunning performance in qualifying on Saturday but could do little to stop the charging Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and eventually finished fourth. Sainz, on the other hand, understandably struggled to control his prancing horse in the wet but was eventually able to benefit from others misfortune to finish P5. Ultimately, with the new regulations coming in next season this is a year in limbo for Ferrari. Nevertheless, the car has improved significantly over the winter and we could see the likes of Leclerc and Sainz competing for podiums more regularly in 2021.


[Image Credit: Max Verstappen]