F1: Emilia Romagna GP Preview

F1 Formula One

Formula 1 Pirelli Gran Premio Del Made In Italy E Dell'emilia Romagna 2021 Preview

The second round of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship sees the sport travel to the famous venue of Imola, for the second time in two seasons, following the sport taking a break from what was formerly the San Marino GP since the end of the 2006 season.

Lewis Hamilton won the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix last year ahead of fellow Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas last season, whilst Daniel Ricciardo of Renault who has since transferred to McLaren managed to make the podium, following issues for Max Verstappen’s Red Bull, as the Dutchman spun off the track and suffered a tyre puncture and eventually retired from the race.

Qualifying Prediction

Qualifying is expected to be more of the same as it was in Bahrain, with Verstappen taking the fight to the Mercedes in what looks like a faster car than what the German constructor has.

This track is one that suits a car with a good chassis due to the tight weaving corners as it draws slight comparisons to the Hungarian GP in terms of track style, as well as those that are typically known to have high rake cars such as Red Bull, who have seemingly profited off the regulation changes, as well as having a further improved power unit in the Honda engine.

Max Verstappen is expected to be on pole position again in the upcoming Grand Prix, whilst Hamilton and Bottas will likely battle it out for the other podium places, with the added competition of Sergio Perez, as the Mexican was knocked out of qualifying two last time following some late runs on the soft tyres which saw the likes of veteran driver Fernando Alonso reach qualifying three in the Alpine in what was his first competitive session back in the sport since leaving McLaren in 2018.

Pole Position: Max Verstappen 2. Lewis Hamilton 3. Valtteri Bottas

Hamilton vs Verstappen vs Bottas

This type of track near enough always forces tactical battles between teams, of which we expect there to be some between Mercedes and Red Bull once again.

Verstappen looked to be the favourite to win the GP at Sakhir last time out due to his pace, however without the support of his teammate Perez following Red Bull’s gamble in qualifying that didn’t pay off, he was left isolated out in front with both Hamilton and Bottas on his tail.

Mercedes reacted first in the pit stops by pitting Hamilton first, performing the undercut which gave Hamilton the lead of the GP, of which he never surrendered despite a dramatic finish at the end of the race which saw Red Bull’s first driver overtake the Brit, but leave the track to do so, which forced Verstappen to give the place back, as his team believed that the move would’ve broke F1’s overtaking regulations, which would’ve incurred a potential 10 second time penalty after the race had finished.

The Dutchman is the favourite to win this weekend’s race at 11/8, whilst Hamilton is priced at 6/4, which in all truth demonstrates what the experts think, that the Red Bull is stronger than the Mercedes this year.

Bottas was also in contention to fight for the win in the last race, but, a shoddy pitstop by Mercedes pit crew saw the flying Finn lose nearly 11 seconds due to a mechanic withdrawing a tyre gun too early on one of his wheels, incidentally the second race in a row that they’d had a catastrophe in a pitstop at Bahrain involving Bottas.

The Finn finished 37 seconds behind the front two, due to pitting for a third time late on in the race in order to get the bonus point for the fastest lap, as he had fallen out of contention for the win. Bottas managed to finish on pole position last season at Imola and is priced at 7/1 to win the GP this time around.

What Effect Could Perez Have on Both The Race & This Season?

Perez is priced at 11/1 to win in what is his second race at Red Bull following his move from BWT Racing Point in the off-season. Despite qualifying in 11th, the Mexican suffered a nightmare start at the Bahrain GP, as an electrical fault saw the 31-year-old start from the pitlane, however, this didn’t phase him, as he fought back to finish in fifth place, showing the pace of which the Milton Keynes based team were lacking in Alex Albon last year.

A podium for the Mexican would be huge for Red Bull as they look to wrestle back the dominance that Mercedes have found in the sport since 2014. If Red Bull are to win the constructors title which they are priced at 2/1 to do so, then the Mexican must challenge Bottas on a regular basis.

Having a quick second driver would also open up more opportunities for Red Bull in terms of ideas to counteract Hamilton, as it would allow them to mix up their race strategy and create unpredictability, such as pitting a driver early or later to force the Stevenage born driver into a change of plan, meaning that Verstappen’s odds of becoming the first non-Mercedes F1 World Champion since Sebastien Vettel in 2013 would decrease from 5/4.

Prediction: 1. Max Verstappen 2. Lewis Hamilton 3. Sergio Perez

Other Race Winner Odds at Imola

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