Max Verstappen won the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix after overtaking Lewis Hamilton at the start of the race, and the world champion fight his way through to second place after a race break allowed him to return to the lap with the leaders while Lando Norris won third place for McLaren.
Vettel had to start from the pits because the team did not finish the job on the car on the grid, unlike Stroll whose car they managed to fix after a detected problem on the brakes.
The race started on a wet track, and Gasly in AlphaTauri, Ocon in Alpine and Haas drivers Schumacher and Mazepin started the race on full wet tyres, and everyone else opted for intermediate tyres for less water on the track.
Leclerc spun in the warm-up lap at the Acque Mineralli bend, but managed to get back on track and return to fourth place before the first line of the safety car so he avoided the start from the pits.
Verstappen took the lead in the second corner and forced Hamilton over the yellow curbs in the third corner where the Briton damaged the floor and front wing on his Mercedes, and Leclerc managed to overtake Perez and take third place for Ferrari.
Latifi went off into the Acque Mineralli bend, but retired just a few hundred yards later before the Variante Alta bend as he inadvertently returned to the track when he was hit by Mazepin in Haas who is not at fault for the incident.
A safety car came out on the track, which remained on the track until the track was cleared of numerous debris, and withdrew at the end of the sixth lap.
Verstappen i Hamilton na startu VN Emilije Romagne 2021. (Photo: Red Bull)
Ocon entered the pits due to a damaged car, as did Vettel, who was told by the team that he had a problem with the braking system, and Schumacher spun near the exit from the pits and had to pit for the new front wing.
After six laps, Verstappen led ahead of Hamilton and Leclerc, followed by Perez, Ricciardo, Gasly, Norris, Sainz, Stroll and Bottas.
Norris overtook Gasly in the eighth lap who was on full wet tyres and broke into sixth place, and so did Sainz who took seventh place while Gasly had to fight Stroll to keep eighth place.
Perez received a 10-second penalty in lap 12 for flying off the track during a safety car, losing two positions and then regaining them even though overtaking was prohibited during a safety car.
Gasly continued to lose positions on the wrong tyres so the team invited him to the pits in the 15th lap and put him on a new set of intermediate tyres after which he returned to 17th place ahead of two Haas drivers Mazepin and Schumacher.
McLaren asked Ricciardo in the 17th lap to let Norris by to see his speed in the clean air which Ricciardo obeyed, and Norris took advantage of that and built an eight-second lead in just five laps.
Aston Martin called Vettel to box to fit him medium tyres and the German was given a 10-second stop and go penalty because the team did not fasten his wheels 5 minutes before the start of the race and in lap 24 he returned in 17th place with a lap down on leaders.
Tsunoda also entered the pits for dry tyres in lap 27, and Hamilton meanwhile reduced Verstappen’s lead to less than two seconds.
Red Bull were the first to pull the trigger in the fight for first place and in the 28th lap called Verstappen to put him tyres for dry conditions and Mercedes called Hamilton a lap later who returned to second place with a slow change of tyres. Both drivers received new sets of medium tyres.
Hamilton pressed hard to catch Verstappen and in the lap 32 he flew off the track at the Tossa bend after which he had to find a reverse to return to the track in seventh place and a few seconds later there was a collision between Russell and Bottas.
Russell tried to overtake Bottas ahead of the first braking zone, but touched the grass on the right side of the track, lost control of the car and took both himself and Bottas out of the race, after which a safety car came out onto the track.
The race was soon interrupted in the lap 33 because there were too many debris on the track to continue the race, and the current ranking was Verstappen, Leclerc, Norris, Perez, Sainz, Ricciardo, Stroll, Raikkonen, Hamilton, Tsunoda.
The race resumed at 4:29 p.m. and Norris on soft tyres immediately overtook Leclerc in a duel for second place as Tsunoda spun and fell to 15th place.
Perez also spun in Villeneuve’s chicane in lap 38 although he managed to avoid damaging the car but fell to 14th place as Hamilton overtook Stroll in the fight for sixth place.
Hamilton overtook Ricciardo in lap 42 and took fifth place, drove the fastest lap of the race and set out to catch up with Sainz. He was a less than a second behind him in lap 49 and overtook him in lap 50 for fourth place.
In the lap 55, Hamilton recovered to third place, overtaking Leclerc with the help of DRS after Leclerc was left without DRS because he lost the sight of Norris in McLaren, so Hamilton easily overtook him before braking for the second corner.
Norris defended well against Hamilton for a few laps, but in the lap 60 Hamilton remained close enough before the starting finish line and with the help of the DRS managed to overtake him from outside the second corner.
At that point, Hamilton was 20 seconds behind Verstappen and immediately snatched his fastest lap of the race with a 1:16.7 lap, and Vettel had to retire in lap 62 due to a gearbox problem.
Verstappen won with a 22-second lead over Hamilton who recovered to second place after a red flag allowed him to return to the lap with the leaders, and the world champion set the fastest lap and with that extra point retained the lead in the drivers’ standings.
Norris finished third for McLaren making his second podium in Formula 1 after the 2020 Austrian Grand Prix and first for McLaren after the 2020 Italian Grand Prix while Leclerc finished fourth for Ferrari ahead of teammate Sainz.
Ricciardo finished sixth in second McLaren after earlier letting his team-mate Norris in the 17th lap which proved to be a key move in McLaren’s podium and Stroll was seventh for Aston Martin, just 0.7 seconds behind Ricciardo.
Gasly finished eighth for AlphaTauri, 0.9 seconds behind Stroll and brought the team its first points of the season as did Raikkonen who finished ninth for two points for Alfa Romeo.
Ocon scored the last point in today’s race for Alpine, giving the team their first point of the season, and his teammate Alonso finished 11th with 0.9 seconds behind. Perez finished a dissapointing 12th for Red Bull ahead of Tsunoda in AlphaTauri and Giovinazzi in Alfa Romeo.
The next race is scheduled in two weeks in Portugal.
|1||33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||63|
|5||55||Carlos Sainz Jr.||Ferrari||63||27.036|
|7||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin/Mercedes||63||51.909|
|9||7||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||63||1:04.773|
|12||11||Sergio Pérez||Red Bull/Honda||63||1:07.151|
|14||99||A.Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||62||1 lap|
|15||5||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin/Mercedes||61||2 lap|
|16||47||Mick Schumacher||Haas/Ferrari||61||2 lap|
|17||9||Nikita Mazepin||Haas/Ferrari||61||2 lap|
|6||Nicholas Latifi||Williams/Mercedes||0||Spun off|
Fastest lap: Lewis Hamilton – 1:16.702 (lap 60)
DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP AFTER 2/23 RACES
|6||Carlos Sainz Jr.||14||4||10|