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Formula 1 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix 2024

Winners and Losers from 2024 F1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Check out the Winners and Losers from the 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix from Imola.

Imola race start
Analysis
To news overview © XPBimages

You'd have got long odds on a Max Verstappen win from pole at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix after the terrible Friday practice Red Bull endured. 

The RB20 was horribly out of kilter at the bumpy Imola with simulator driver Sebastien Buemi putting in the hard yards overnight into Saturday to turn the car around, with the performance improving in FP3 and then into qualifying, where Verstappen snared one of the best of his 39 poles. 

In what was an otherwise quiet race, the Dutchman just about fended off a late charge from Lando Norris to hold on for the win to record a 59th career victory and equal Michael Schumacher with three straight victories in Ferrari's backyard.

As for the Scuderia, it was just third and fifth for Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz on a weekend that slowly ebbed away. 

But we start our Winners and Losers with our race-winner.

Winner - Max Verstappen

Long-time readers of this piece will know this writer's hesitancy to put Verstappen as winner when he has simply stuck it on pole and driven off into the distance - but this was one of the best weekends of Verstappen's career.

Red Bull was literally nowhere on Friday, but he bounced back with a stunning pole lap and then after bolting in the first stint, Verstappen was reeled in by Norris in the closing laps.

The lap-time data shows that beginning on Lap 49 of 63, Norris began to carve chunks of time out of the Red Bull, going nearly half-a-second per lap quicker at times to eat into the gap. 

This was because Verstappen was struggling with retaining heat in the hard compound tyres and was also battling the threat of a track limits penalty after three violations.

But he stemmed the flow of lap-time loss to Norris and was able to hold on by less than a second in the end. 

If the RB20 had taken Verstappen to wins earlier in the season, this time, he dragged a result out of it and his 59th win goes down as one of his finest.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Loser - George Russell

George Russell refused to "sulk" post-race after finishing in seventh place, one spot behind Lewis Hamilton, despite being the better of the Mercedes drivers across the weekend. 

Indeed, having out-qualified Hamilton and being ahead in the first stint, Russell was hauled in for a surprise second pit-stop on Lap 52, leaving him 11 laps to make up over 20 seconds on Hamilton.

He whittled it down to 12.050s and also grabbed fastest lap, with the team hinting that a safety call was behind the decision. 

On the bright side, Russell felt it wasn't worth getting worked up over as the result wasn't for a podium or win, but its just another strike of frustration for the driver trying to make Mercedes his team.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Winner - McLaren

Both McLaren's were finally armed with its full Miami upgrade package at Imola, and Oscar Piastri and Norris put it to good use to qualify second and third on the road, before Piastri's penalty.

That was effectively the end of Piastri's challenge as he started fifth, with it also ending that of McLaren as it could not play any strategy games with Verstappen with its two cars.

But the late pace of Norris in catching Verstappen was eye-catching on a weekend Ferrari found itself in a muddle. 

McLaren is arguably the second-fastest car now as a third huge upgrade in 12 months has delivered exactly what it intended.

As Norris put it, the team now must "get used" to fighting for wins.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Loser - Aston Martin/Fernando Alonso

Another team to bring a chunky upgrade to Imola was Aston Martin - but it turned into a dreadful weekend for Fernando Alonso.

It was probably his worst weekend since he returned to F1 in 2021, with a crash in FP3 and Q1 elimination, having posted the 20th and slowest time having gone out on full tanks of fuel. 

He started from the pit-lane after set-up changes, but the 63-laps effectively turned into a test session for a team whose progress of early 2023 has somewhat stalled, although Lance Stroll did turn out a good performance to bank two points for ninth.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Winner - Yuki Tsunoda

As each race goes by, Daniel Ricciardo's place at RB is looking more precarious and performances like this from Yuki Tsunoda are why. 

10th place from seventh on the grid was perhaps a tad disappointing, but the Japanese racer still banked points for the fourth time in seven races.

Splitting the Mercedes in qualifying in a car that is somewhat slower, in theory, than the W15 was outstanding for a rapidly maturing and consistent driver.

Tsunoda now has 15 points to his name, four more than Stroll, and two more than the other nine drivers from the bottom five teams. 

Red Bull might have its doubts about Tsunoda, but in a bygone time, surely he would have been given his chance in the senior team based off performances like this?

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Loser - Sergio Perez

And then we have Sergio Perez - a driver who must be hoping that this was a blip of a performance. 

Getting knocked out in Q2 was simply not good enough, and an early off at Turn 17 undid some early good work. 

It was around the time of the start of the European season 12 months ago that Perez fell off a cliff and he must not let a similar dive happen this time around. 

He has had a strong start to the season, and must use that to not let this become the start of a run that could spell the end for him at Red Bull.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Also interesting:

In the latest episode of the RacingNews365.com podcast, Ian Parkes, Samuel Coop and Nick Golding look back at this weekend's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, where Max Verstappen and Lando Norris went head-to-head for the victory around the famous Imola Circuit as McLaren continue to pile the pressure on Red Bull!

Rather watch than listen to the podcast? Click here.

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