GP Emilia Romagna F1: Max Verstappen wins the race with his penultimate lap pass

Max Verstappen (Red Bull RB18) won the first sprint of 2022 after reclaiming the group lead on the penultimate lap, leaving Charles Leclerc (Ferrari F1-75) in second place. At the start, Leclerc was faster and came to the brakes for Tamborello in first place, and continued to drive the entire race until the penultimate lap. The two riders are not accessible and will share the first row of the starting grid again. The Ferrari driver had always been in pole position, but in the last laps Verstappen threatened to overtake and took first after two laps that he “glued” to the back of the Ferrari.
Sergio Perez (Red Bull RB18) was happy in the sprint, managed to recover from seventh to finish third at the end of the 21 laps and could enter tomorrow in the discussion to win Emilia Romagna GP or press Leclerc and help his teammate. the team. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari F1-75) was another driver in the guide, having reclaimed 6 places from the starting grid to finish fourth, overtaking Lando Norris (McLaren MCL36/Mercedes) in the final stage of the Sprint. Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren MCL36/Mercedes) retained sixth place and finished the season ahead of Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo C42/Ferrari) and Kevin Magnussen (Haas VF-22/Ferrari). These were the top eight to earn points in Sprint.

Highlights of Sprint Racing:
Beginning of Max Verstappen He was weak and Charles Leclerc took the opportunity to take the lead in the sprint, but in the final laps overcame his stumbles towards the end of the race, which took away his grip and lost to his opponent. It was the factor that decided Sprint’s victory. In the end, Leclerc didn’t lose much, just one point to Verstappen, leaving the starting grid from the same position today and having another chance to beat his opponent. This is a factor that will have to be evaluated by Ferrari and could decide tomorrow’s race as it looks like Red Bull may have some strategic flexibility. However, it could also be situational and tomorrow’s conditions favor Ferrari more.
An important factor to take into account For tomorrow’s race, position Sergio Perez and Carlos Sainz, who have more places than the Mexican, six, which puts him fourth. The two drivers offer more strategic options for their teams. Both recovered well and proved the added value for Red Bull and Ferrari against the rest of the competition.

Mercedes’ 1st and 4th positions in Free Practice 2 proved to be a short-lived Sun and what appeared to be signs of recovery were finally allayed completely. Bad sprint race for Mercedes, who did not win anything, on the contrary, they lost their positions and what they showed in the morning in the second free practice was little more than a sight fire and they will have to do something different than the opponents to be able to get further ahead. The frustration Mercedes felt will be more evident today and there is a lot of work ahead for the silver stock to become competitive, which seems unlikely to happen tomorrow.

McLaren, unlike Haas and Alpine, managed to stay at the front of the starting grid. Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo were unable to carry the fastest RB18 and F1-75 of Sergio Pérez and Carlos Sainz, respectively, behind them, but they finished the sprint in front of the so-called second package, proving that what happened in the free kick in second practice was just Bad luck and Australia’s speed and performance are here to stay. Daniel Ricciardo was faster than Lando Norris at one point and both showed they had arguments to fight for the top five.

Valtteri Bottas had a good race and after a chassis change that left him out of FP2, the Finn showed the potential of Alfa Romeo, to make up for the over-optimistic Zhou Guanyu crash in his fight with Pierre Gasly.

Kevin Magnussen couldn’t stand fourth and slipped to eighth, which is a good position compared to what Haas wanted, but it was clear that the Dane didn’t fight with the same weapons and despite the effort, he couldn’t avoid falling into the table (the choice of medium tires for this seemed to Not enough racing. Fernando Alonso was also expecting something more from this race and ninth place does not reflect the potential seen from the Alps. Mick Schumacher did a good job, regaining two positions and getting close to his teammate.

For Alpha Tauri it was a bad day, as Gasly was at the bottom of the table after the Zhou incident and Yuki Tsunoda was only 12. But the worst was Aston Martin’s day, which again showed no competitiveness and overtook Vettel’s presence in the third quarter already with the German slipping to 13th. Esteban Ocon also continues to have a rough weekend and Williams has no arguments for getting out of the bottom of the schedule.

Enemy movie:
Rain threatened her first sprint of the year after her last free practice session of the weekend was held on dry ground. Lando Norris still left the pit for his spot on the starting grid, and warned the team he has a few drops on his helmet visor, but will end up with no rain during the entire race.
Expectations to start the sprint were very high, as well as trying to understand if Charles Leclerc would attack at the Tamburello corner to try to move up to the top of the group – trying to get out of pole position in the race tomorrow. But a change in the rules for attributing points could put more pressure on drivers in the so-called second platoon, trying to accumulate valuable championship points. The sprint was still a second chance for the drivers who qualified poorly, to regain some positions, as was the case for the drivers from Mercedes and Alfa Touri.
Kevin Magnussen started the race with a new battery system, Valtteri Bottas with a new chassis and Guanyu Zhou with a new exhaust system.
All the riders started racing on the soft tyres, except for Nicholas Latifi, Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher.

Leclerc started better and pressured Tamburello already at the top of the group, as Lando Norris immediately pressed Max Verstappen, but was unable to pass the champ for the title. Sergio Perez made a good start, passing Daniel Ricciardo and Fernando Alonso, finishing fifth and putting pressure on Kevin Magnussen.

Still on the first lap, a touch between Pierre Gasly and Juanio Cho led to the retirement of the Alfa Romeo driver and a punctured tire on the AlphaTauri, as well as the entry of the Safety Car.

On lap 5, SC veered off course and Leclerc held onto the lead well, not even allowing pressure from his opponent. On the way out of Tamburello chicane, Fernando Alonso nearly lost control of the Alps, allowing Carlos Sainz to put pressure on his compatriot. The Ferrari driver was unable to overtake Alonso on that lap, but he completed the maneuver successfully on the next lap, and climbed to seventh.

Kevin Magnussen on the medium tyres was easy prey for Sergio Perez (soft tyres) on lap 8 and the Red Bull driver finished fourth, now targeting Norris. Magnussen was warned by race management for slalom on the straight on the opening lap.

As the sprint progressed, Valtteri Bottas overtook Sebastian Vettel for ninth, trying to get the Finn from Alfa Romeo to get to Fernando Alonso and add a point. A little later, Magnussen was leading a small platoon followed by Ricardo and Sainz. At the same time that Perez overtook Lando Norris, Ricciardo finished fifth after overtaking Magnussen. Sainz imitated Ricciardo in a row, passing on lap 12 for fifth.

In the closing laps, Sainz outplayed two McLaren men, who had no arguments to defend themselves against the faster Ferrari F1-75. Meanwhile, up front, Verstappen took advantage of the slowing pace of Leclerc, who was beginning to suffer from deteriorating soft tyres, and put pressure on his opponent. The overtaking maneuver on the penultimate lap came straight from the house and with the help of the DRS, the Dutchman took back the lead and then didn’t leave until the last time he crossed the finish line. He added 8 points, 1 more than Leclerc.
In the back, Bottas passed Fernando Alonso, who would have finished outside the top eight and without any points, to catch up with Kevin Magnussen and overtake the Dane to finish seventh. Haas’ strategic choice to mount medium tires on the Magnussen didn’t work, it only added one point.

Both Mercedes cars finished outside the top 10 and Pierre Gasly, who was last after touching Cho, was able to finish the race ahead of Williams in 17th.

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