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2022 F1 Round 4 - Italian GP

Welcome back gear-heads! What a spectacular race weekend ended with a bang. The Imola circuit is the fourth in the season and the first one in Europe this calendar year. Known for its chequered flag history from excellency to tragedy, the Imola Grand Prix tends to deliver. Testing on Friday and Saturday dealt a few surprises Alex Albon’s Williams exploding from the rear tyre some debris to Carlos Sainz crashing. This is Formula 1 and the drama is relentless.






The winners:

As with most weeks it’s the front runners and eventual race winners that I say are the ultimate

winners on the day and as you can expect I won’t overlook them. However, there were some midfield drivers that really showed up and showed out and that’s where I’ll start today.


Lando Norris:

Contrary from what I mentioned before about midfield drivers, Lando is top class and may eventually win a world title. Sunday was the culmination of all the hard work that this team had put together over the last few weeks and it paid dividends in the form of a P3 finish. Norris and

McLaren claim their first podium having started on the grid at P3 from the sprint race and it couldn’t have been more deserved. Unlike his teammate Norris drove flawlessly and capitalized on the mistakes of others to eventually move into a top three finish. Well-done.


Aston Martin:

Finally, some good news for Aston Martin racing; Sebastian Vettel finished in the points and with

that gives his team their first points of the season. But the four-time champion wasn’t alone

because Lance Stroll made it in with points as well. P8 and P10 would be enough to see them in

the points and potentially signs of life from the team.


Yuki Tsunoda:

Again, as previously mentioned, I wanted to highlight some of the performers that normally don’t get all the shine and Tsunoda deserves some of it. With this being the track where Alpha Tauri

headquarters are closely located, there was a lot of talk about the pressure that comes with that.

Yuki rose to that occasion unlike his teammate and the other local team which we will come to

later. Yuki started the grid in P12 as a result of the Sprint race the previous day and shot up to P7

after 63 laps. Whatever growing pains Yuki had in his maiden season seem to be behind

him now and he’s really settling into Formula 1 quite nicely.


George Russell:

Another stellar performance for the Brit, George Russell is starting to put a string of racing

performances together that are potentially having the hierarchy in Mercedes questioning whose

basket to put all their eggs in. It’s been a rollercoaster for this team this weekend as others, but

with a final practice session seeing him in P1 and Hamilton in P4 it started to feel like they were

getting their mojo back. The Sprint race was a massive let down for both drivers with Russell

starting in P11 and Hamilton in P14. With all the expectations that come with being a driver in

Formula 1 and now compound that concept by being in one of the premier top team in the sport

and this is the situation Russell is not only thriving in, but in comparison to his teammate and the shadow he casts, is excelling, is astounding. Finishing in P4 from P11 was the highest climb from starting position on the grid and most be celebrated. Fourth in the standings after four races is a fantastic return on a first year driver. Let see how he keeps it up.


Red Bull Racing:

Clearly we couldn’t finish the winners’ sections without talking about the maximum point takers in Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez. This team is really taking shape and looks to be firing on all cylinders. The cars have pace and it’s showing, with Perez shooting up into P2 off the line from P4 and Verstappen being unchallenged the entire race P1 to P1. Qualifying for the Sprint race in P1 and then winning it setting him up for the top grid position, Max never looked back and wasn’t challenged whatsoever. Perez had a largely uneventful day with LeClerc really only getting close once and quickly Checo overtook his position again. Masterful form driver to crew, this team just seems to be hitting a bit of form early in the season. The tides seem to shifting towards Milton Keynes at the moment but there are still many twist and turns left to go. Finally, Max Verstappen picks up his second Driver of the Day award by fan vote and it’s hard to disagree here.


Now on to the losers of the day.


Losers:

Unfortunate title in my estimation but there were some under performers as well as just some

extremely unlucky racers which through no fault of their own were forced to retire.


Daniel Ricciardo:

This was an end to the weekend the Aussie would like to forget. Performing well going into

Sunday’s race with a promising P6 due to the Sprint Race on Saturday, McLaren and Daniel were

hoping this was the sign of things to come. Coming out of the grid on lap 1, Ricciardo accidentally

hit Carlos Sainz spinning both of them into the gravel and causing more damage to other cars

inadvertently. Although Sainz was unable to get out of the gravel, Daniel was able to continue on

with minimum damage. But the team must have decided to test what tyres to use for Lando by

pitting him and putting on hard compound tires when the weather started to dry up. Having hard

tyres meant that he would be slower and would pit less but it was a signal that his day was well over before it had finished. Finishing P18 due to the drivers retired from his crash must have left a terrible taste in his mouth. But luckily Miami is next so onwards and upwards!


The Spanish:

This one I will file under unlucky because they weren’t technically losers but when you don’t finish that means you lost. Carlos Sainz for Ferrari and Fernando Alonso for Alpine had a rotten day out on the track both having to retire after incidents involving the Ricciardo pile up. I’ve talked about Sainz as the first victim of the crash with the McLaren but he wasn’t the only one. Fernando collided with Mick Schumacher as a result of the push into Sainz where Bottas hit Ricciardo which caused the Haas driver to clip Alonso. Initially the Alpine driver carried on until his side panel blew off mid-race. This forced him to retire and it’s now two DNF’s already this season.


As for Carlos this is his second DNF in a row and this can’t be what Ferrari were hoping for after extending his contract to 2024. High hopes are place on the Spaniard to eventually be a world champion but heavy lies the crown of expectations.


Ferrari:

On the surface of it a P6 isn’t the worst thing for Charles and Scudderia. However, with the

expectations of the resurgence of team based on the performances, it was a rough weekend for

the home team. When Formula 1 comes to Italy nothing unites the country quite like Ferrari. The

national symbol carries a lot of weight, no more so than this circuit named after the two sons of the founder of the brand. A DNF by Carlos and Charles left to fight the Red Bulls alone the Ferrari team needed to take some risks and ultimately didn’t pay off. Charles made a huge mistake and spun out and grazing the wall where he was able to get back on the circuit and box for a front wing change and some soft compounds. By that time the race was far out of reach. This gamble didn’t pay off and it left the door open for the Red Bulls to kick it wide open. The team still have a sizeable lead in the championship but more performances like this will devastate and leave the Tifosi with nightmares.



Alright ladies and gentlemen there you have it. Another race weekend in the books and now we

are on to a brand new race in Formula 1 and our first trip to my native land, The United States of

America and the Miami Grand Prix. I am not sure what to expect but I know many of the drivers

are excited to see what South Beach has to offer. Until next time let us know what you think about series here as well as comment on who you think won and lost the weekend and share with a friend. Thank you and off to Miami!

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