2022 Emilia Romagna Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: The championship tightened up a bit just in time before people started to wonder whether this was going to be settled earlier than hoped.
EVENT: Love those Italian races.
TRACK: Old school. And more racy with the new rules. Though, it did need that belated DRS.
QUALIFYING: A crazy crapshoot with the off and on and off and on rain and a slew of red flags, Verstappen ends up on top, Norris and Magnussen are quite happy, Hamilton and Russell are quite unhappy, Sainz messes up again, and Albon leaves a trail of fiery debris.
SPRINT START: The tifosi go wild as Leclerc grabs first with a lightning start, Magnussen is ultra aggressive to hold onto fourth, and Zhou gets pitched into the wall hard by Gasly.
SPRINT RACE: This time the FIA is "allowing" us to call it a race. So much for taking it easy and playing it safe. Everybody, and we mean everybody, were fighting tooth and nail for positions. Another positive verdict on the 2022 rules. Up front, Verstappen silences the tifosi.
RACE: The second race in a row for a pole to victory run, leading every lap. But unlike past years, it never appeared to be a sleeper.
START: This time Verstappen gets off beautifully while Leclerc falters falling behind Perez and Norris, Russell makes massive gains, and Ricciardo becomes the most hated person in Italy.
VERSTAPPEN: Exactly the weekend the doctor ordered. Max maxes out, acquiring all the points possible on the weekend.
PEREZ: Sergio is really starting to very effectively settle into the wingman role Red Bull has been so desperate to find for years.
NORRIS: Well, looky here. Pessimistic Lance is on the podium again. Maybe now he'll finally believe he has a decent car.
RUSSELL: One driver is getting the most out of a sad sack Mercedes.
HAMILTON: And Lewis gets lapped by Verstappen. Wow!
BOTTAS: Gleefully smiling under his helmet as he continues to battle on even terms with his former team.
FERRARI An unfortunate choice of venues to have an off weekend. They'll have Monza to make up for it.
LECLERC: Charles, Charles, Charles. Precious points thrown away.
SAINZ: Just when you thought Carlos' luck couldn't get any worse.
TSUNODA: Becoming much less error prone this year.
GASLY: Pierre really hates sprint races...
VETTEL: Now that's the Sebastian of old.
ASTON MARTIN: Points!
WILLIAMS: Emulating the mighty German F1 cars of the 1930s -- stripping the paint off the car to save weight. We must say, we like the look of natural carbon fiber with a touch of blue.
FIA: We'll just keep saying it till they finally introduce the rule. Drivers who cause a red flag during qualifying should lose their fastest lap time.
F2: A late safety car period messed up the leaders' strategy of leaving their mandatory pit stop till the end. This handed the feature race win to Frenchman Theo Pourchaire. Kiwi Marcus Armstrong took the sprint race.
F3: Czech Roman Stanek survived a wild and crazy feature race to take the win. Argentinian Franco Colapinto won the sprint race on a last lap pass.
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Maximum.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 1 -- The number of laps Carlos Sainz has completed in the last two races.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: Granted, there was a 14-year gap where F1 did not go to Imola. Nonetheless, 2006 was the last time Ferrari scored a podium on their home track when it was called the San Marino GP. Michael Schumacher won the race from pole position, a feat which broke Ayrton Senna's record of 65 poles. Fernando Alonso (Renault) took second with Juan Pablo Montoya (McLaren-Mercedes) rounding out the podium.
TWEET OF THE WEEKEND: After a McLaren engineer gave a weird technical description of rain on the way, the team's own Twitter account made light of it. Engineers: "Class zero to one rain" Everyone else: "It's about to rain"
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Max Verstappen after the race, "That was a very lovely Sunday afternoon." Yep.
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: Toto Wolff stating the obvious, "We are not good enough for a world champion, not worthy for a world champion. We just need to fix the car." Ya think?!
SCHEDULE: Off to a brand new street race in not quite Miami despite the name. We think this track will surprise the naysayers. It will be fast (a recent trend amongst street circuits) and may offer more passing opportunities than anticipated. We shall see.
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