Verstappen conquers the conditions and Imola as 2021 Championship battle with Hamilton takes shape: 2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Review

After the intense battle between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen in the desert of Bahrain, I admit to being sceptical that Imola would produce an exciting race. Last years visit for the inaugural Emilia Romagna Grand Prix produced only six on-track overtakes and track position is key at this track. Gladly, I was proved wrong by F1’s second successive visit to Imola and on the same day, it was announced that F1 will be racing in Miami next year the weather helped produce an enthralling race.

Rain falling just before the start was they ey ingredient to an alrevady trying Grand Prix with Lewis Hamilton on pole and the two Red Bull cars directly behind him on the grid, There was a spin o the formation lap which set the tone for an incident-filled race with very few cars having no hiccups as the red flags essentially split the race in two around the halfway mark. Despite all the drama, there were only four cars that failed to finish in the changing and difficult conditions. However, it reaffirmed that F1 does look set for a titanic battle for the Championships between reigning champions Mercedes in the hands of Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull in the hands of Max Verstappen [the pair battling at turn 1 in the feature image above; image from Twitter/Formula 1]. read more

Mercedes secure historic seventh straight Constructors Crown as Hamilton wins at Imola: Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix Review

After a 14 year absence since the last time it hosted a Grand Prix, Imola returned to F1 for 2020 with a difference. Not only was it returning with a new title named after the Emilia Romagna region of Italy (having hosted the Italian Grand Prix in 1980 and the San Marino Grand Prix 1981-2006), it was also a shortened format with only one practice session before Qualifying and the race. It was different for the teams and drivers to rise to.

Imola circuit map. [Image from formula1.com]

It was a first for a circuit that despite its absence is steeped in history; a fact marked by the drivers paying their respects at the Ayrton Senna memorial and some of the drivers wearing tribute helmets. Imola saw more history made after what was admittedly a lacklustre race when overtaking proved difficult due to the narrow layout of the circuit and a DRS zone that was perhaps 100m too short. The only real excitement came at the start and in the final 6 laps after the Safety car was called upon but it saw Mercedes make history by clinching an unprecedented 7th successive Constructors Championship [Pictured celebrating in the feature image; above image from RaceFans.net]. read more

Hamilton rewrites the history books with record-breaking 92nd win: 2020 Portuguese Grand Prix Review!

For the second time in this crazy 2020 season, F1 raced at a circuit that had never before hosted a Grand Prix. Portimao on the Algarve hosted the first Portuguese Grand Prix for the first time since 1996. That was hosted at Estoril and while Portimao hosted a pre-season test in 2009, only half of the field had driven around the circuit in any type car before. It was a fresh challenge and one that I think the drivers enjoyed as Lando Norris commented in practice, ‘I’m going side to side, left to right, like a rollercoaster’.

Portimao Circuit map. [Image from formula1.com].

With its fluctuating elevations and frequent changes of direction made the Algarve circuit look spectacular. There was the loose drain panel issue which forced Qualifying to be delayed by half an hour and the relatively new track surface meant it was difficult for the drivers to find grip but once they had got through the graining phase, the Medium tyres were the tyres to be on in the race despite the initial promise of the Soft tyre in the opening laps as a slight shower of rain fell. It was a crazy start and race. With a powerful wind close to the sea, I think this is something the drivers would experience when F1 does eventually return to Zandvoort but it would be nice to see F1 return to the Algarve. read more