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Formula 1

What we learned from the 2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Another thrilling F1 race saw Max Verstappen take the chequered flag ahead of Lewis Hamilton, who battled back to claim second after a mistake that almost put him out of the race. RacingNews365.com has analysed the weekend to give you the details of what we can take away from the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Analysis
To news overview © Getty Images/Red Bull Contentpool

After a thrilling race in Bahrain, the action didn't let up in Italy as the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix delivered more than a few talking points.

Max Verstappen came out on top in treacherous conditions, with the Red Bull driver keeping his nose clean for most of the race, though he did have a heart-stopping moment in the lead up to the restart of the race.

Lewis Hamilton made a rare mistake that saw his Mercedes pointed into a wall at one point, but the reigning world champion kept his cool, reversed his car and delivered another impressive performance to finish second and remain ahead in the standings thanks to his fastest lap.

No stopping Verstappen and Hamilton

Despite racing in wet and treacherous conditions, and making a mistake or two, it doesn't look like much can stop the battle between Verstappen and Hamilton this season.

The Dutchman would have no doubt been disappointed to start the race in third spot, but he wasted no time in surging past the Mercedes driver after just one corner. It was a brave move, as Verstappen kept his cool to squeeze Hamilton, who was forced over the rumble strips in order to avoid a crash.

From there Verstappen kept his focus at the front of the race, staying ahead of his rival after the pit stops. The lone moment of worry came when the race resumed after the red flag, as the Red Bull driver went off track in the final corners.

Verstappen kept his composure, just as Hamilton did when he made an even bigger blunder. With the track drying, Hamilton tried to make his way past some back markers as quickly as possible. What he did was end his hopes of victory, as the Brit couldn't slow his Mercedes down after going off the racing line to pass George Russell.

As a result Hamilton found himself in the wall, though he was able to reverse out of the problem and rejoin the race. After a front wing change and a somewhat fortuitous Safety Car that turned into a red flag, Hamilton was able to cut his way through the grid and find his way into second spot after falling to ninth.

While we didn't get the on-track battle we saw in Bahrain, both drivers showed they are a cut above their peers at this time.

Ferrari renaissance continues

Although Ferrari weren't in the mix for victory on Sunday, the Scuderia are certainly trending in the right direction after a fourth and fifth place finish for Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz respectively.

The Monegasque had his best finish in 15 races, which shows how bad things went for him and the team in 2020. Starting from fourth spot, Leclerc tweaked his setup as Ferrari anticipated the wet weather.

Running as high as second at one point, the red flag ultimately hindered his ability to finish on the podium as he admitted he was struggling for pace down the straights.

“I’m happy with the race, but at the same time a little bit frustrated,” Leclerc told RacingNews365.com and other members of the media. “The first part of the race, we were very competitive and everything looked good.

"Then with the red flag, all the cars were reshuffled and it repacked everyone. And then we started to be a bit vulnerable in the straights."

As for Sainz, the Spaniard went off the track more than once due to the wet conditions but he still managed an impressive fifth place finish after starting 11th.

Sainz, who admitted his performance in qualifying wasn't up to standard, hinted that drivers that made the switch to new teams have been struggling to come to terms with their new surroundings.

His performance and finish on Sunday will no doubt boost his confidence, and that of Ferrari, as they kept the pressure on McLaren in the fight for third in the constructors' standings.

Norris coming into his own

All the action during Sunday's race has somewhat taken away from the fact that Lando Norris scored his second F1 podium.

It was a supreme drive by the Brit who looked to be on his way to second place finish, only for the charging Hamilton to drop him to third.

Norris will no doubt be pleased by the result given he was critical of his efforts in qualifying, which saw him start further down the grid after what would have been the third fastest time was deleted for exceeding track limits.

Despite being just 21, Norris showed the mental strength of a seasoned veteran as he put his mistake behind him and got on with the job on Sunday. His brilliant pace was there for all to see when at one point McLaren instructed teammate Daniel Ricciardo, who finished seventh, to let Norris past.

Norris holds a seven point lead over Leclerc for third in the championship, and if Sunday's performance is anything to go by, the Brit will earn several more podiums - and maybe even a win - this season.

When it rains, it downpours on Vettel

It seems as though bad luck won't ease up on Sebastian Vettel as the German had another race to forget at Imola.

While treacherous weather conditions usually level the playing field for all drivers, the Aston Martin driver saw his chances of a strong finish hurt before the lights even turned green.

After teammate Lance Stroll's brakes overheated pre-race, the team's mechanics opted to work on Vettel's car as he suffered from similar issues. However the work wasn't completed in time, meaning the German was forced to start from the pit lane. A penalty was guaranteed at that point, however stewards waited until the race was well in progress before handing their judgement down.

From there Vettel had an anonymous race before ultimately being brought into the pits by the team with gearbox issues with a handful of laps remaining.

Given Stroll finished in the points yet again, Vettel has to be wondering when things will turn around for him as he looks to get his Aston Martin career well and truly underway.

RN365 News dossier F1 2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

The latest news about the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix straight from the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari.

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