F1 LIVE: Emilia Romagna Grand Prix result and standings as Max Verstappen wins after Charles Leclerc spin

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·34-min read
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 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Max Verstappen cruised to victory at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix to cut Charles Leclerc’s championship lead after the Ferrari driver threw away a podium finish with a costly late spin at Imola.

Sergio Perez finished second to seal a Red Bull one-two, but only after Leclerc made a late pit stop for soft tyres in an attempt to catch him. The move backfired, however, with the championship leader spinning off with 10 laps of the race remaining.

Leclerc was able to recover to salvage 6th place, but it sealed a nightmare weekend for Ferrari at their home race in Italy after Carlos Sainz retired on the opening lap following a bump from Daniel Ricciardo.

Lewis Hamilton’s struggles continued as he finished in a lowly 14th place and his miserable weekend was completed after being lapped by last season’s title rival Verstappen.

The victory is Verstappen’s second of the season, to go along with two retirements, as Red Bull responded to their reliability issues with a dominant performance in a race that started in wet conditions.

And a fastest lap completed a perfect weekend for the defending champion to cut Leclerc’s lead at the top of the standings to 27 points. Lando Norris completed the podium and George Russell finished fourth with a commendable drive in the struggling Mercedes.

Follow all the latest reaction from the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix below:

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

  • Race started at 2pm BST, track conditions drying at Imola

  • Verstappen wins in Imola as Leclerc salvages sixth place

  • Disaster strikes for Ferrari as Leclerc spins off late in race

  • Verstappen, cruising to victory, laps struggling Hamilton

  • Verstappen retains lead after first round of pit-stops as Perez battles Leclerc

  • Sainz out after being spun by Ricciardo as Ferrari make nightmare start

  • Hamilton reports engine issue on grip-lap but Mercedes confident it will be fixed

  • Most cars starting on full wets after rain hits Imola

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix winner Max Verstappen reacts

16:26 , Harry Latham-Coyle

“It’s not a bad record,” says Verstappen to Sky Sports of the fact that he has won both races that he has finished this year. “We just have to learn from our reliability trouble and I think the whole weekend we made the right calls. The whole race was very well executed without too many troubles, but you still have to focus.

“Sometimes if you can’t win you have to settle for second or third. Every pointscounts. It is painful if you lose points. You always have to try and score the most points you can even in the weekends you struggle.”

Lewis Hamilton on the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

16:19 , Harry Latham-Coyle

“I really don’t know to be honest,” Hamilton tells Sky Sports. “A weekend to forget, that’s for sure.

“I’m out of the championship for sure. There’s no question about that but I’ll keep working as hard as I can to try and pull it back together somehow.”

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Result

16:16 , Harry Latham-Coyle

“There are stats that sound nice on paper but are pretty meaningless,” says George Russell when told he is the only driver to finish in the top five. “Whether we are getting the most out of the car is a slightly different story. We’ve had things fall our way, but equally we’ve been unfortunate in some circumstances because the car isn’t quick enough. Really happy with this P4 but if we want to maintain this place in the championship we need to find more pace.”

Charles Leclerc is next to speak with Sky Sports

16:10 , Harry Latham-Coyle

“It’s a real shame. I believe the spin shouldn’t have happened. P3 was the maximum. We did not have the pace.

“I was too greedy today and paid the price. I lost seven valuable points for the championship. This shouldn’t happen again.“

Carlos Sainz reflects on his first lap DNF

16:05 , Harry Latham-Coyle

The Spaniard tells Sky: “I didn’t get the best of starts compared with Charles. We still managed to get cleanly into turn two but for some reason Daniel went into the kerb and must have lost control of the car.

“It’s very bad. It is definitely a tough moment. We wanted to have a good race here in front of our fans. Toget bumped out of the race in turn two is bad. But there are always tough moments in the life of a sportsman and it is my turn to go through them.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Contrasting performances for Mercedes’ drivers

16:02 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Fourth for George Russell, 14th for Lewis Hamilton - an odd day to assess for Mercedes, but Toto Wolff has had a go:

“George really drove well considering the car that he had underneath. Really, really good drive.”

On Hamilton: “Really bad. We got squeeze by the Alpine and then there is just no overtaking when you are in a DRS train. We are not good enough for the world champion. We just need to fix the car.

“I had a little bit of an exchange with him and said ‘sorry for the car today. It was undrivable’. We are going to look at things for Miami and I think we can make a step in the understanding of our car.”

How that changes things in the standings

15:53 , Harry Latham-Coyle

We’ll get to the full standings in the while, but Max Verstappen has closed the gap to Charles Leclerc with a full set of points from race weekend in Imola.

Leclerc still sitting relatively well - his sixth place takes him to 86 points for the season, with Verstappen now second on 59 and Sergio Perez dropping to third, five points behind his teammate.

The Constructors’ Championship is even more closely fought - just eleven points now separate Ferrari and Red Bull after a tough home Grand Prix for the Italians.

On to the podium...

15:49 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Out come Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen, arm-in-arm and pumping raised fists of delight as they join Lando Norris on the podium.

DNF, win, DNF, win - not perhaps the smoothest start to the season but Verstappen once again looks in some form when he can kepe his Red Bull running.

Lando Norris reacts to finishing third at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

15:45 , Harry Latham-Coyle

There to take his chance after Charles Leclerc’s error was Lando Norris, who drove a smooth race, keeping out of trouble and taking his second straight podium on this circuit.

And Norris beams: “[It was] an amazing race, an amazing weekend to be honest. The team deserve it, from where we were in race one to a podium, it’s amazing. I like these conditions, same as last year!”

A first Red Bull one-two since 2016

15:42 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A perfect afternoon for Christian Horner and his team. Charles Leclerc rubs his head in frustration as he watches the podium finishers be interviewed. He knows his thrown at least third away.

Max Verstappen wins the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

15:40 , Harry Latham-Coyle

He’s done the double - sprint race victory yesterday, feature race victory today, and Max Verstappen has had a dream weekend.

He says: “It’s always tough to achieve something like that. We were on it. Today, you never know with the weather how competitive you are going to be but as a team we did everything well. This one-two is deserved.”

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Top Ten

15:38 , Harry Latham-Coyle

1. Max Verstappen, Red Bull,

2. Sergio Perez, Red Bull

3. Lando Norris, McLaren

4. George Russell, Mercedes

5. Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo

6. Charles Leclerc, Ferrari

7. Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri

8. Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin

9. Kevin Magnussen, Haas

10. Lance Stroll, Aston Martin

Sergio Perez finishes second, Lando Norris third

15:36 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Following Verstappen home is Sergio Perez to complete the one-two, and Lando Norris has back-to-back podiums at Imola.

MAX VERSTAPPEN WINS THE EMILIA ROMAGNA GRAND PRIX!

15:35 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Victory number two for the season for the reigning world champion - and in commanding fashion.

Final lap!

15:35 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Nothing to concern the leaders - it will be a Red Bull one-two at the home of title rivals Ferrari.

Lap 62/63

15:34 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Up into sixth goes Charles Leclerc - a proper catastrophe averted but Ferrari have thrown away third in pursuit of an extra point and ended up down the field.

Lap 61/63

15:33 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Excellent defending from George Russell, keeping Valtteri Bottas from fourth for the moment. The Finn is far from finished but is being frustrated so far.

By the way, Lewis Hamilton is still 14th, and still behind Pierre Gasly.

Lap 60/63

15:31 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Charles Leclerc overtakes Sebastian Vettel. He might be able to reel in Yuki Tsunoda on his fresh tyres, too.

A few spots of rain falling in the vicinity of Imola and threatening to just moisten the final couple of laps.

Lap 58/63

15:29 , Harry Latham-Coyle

“Let’s get him,” is the call on the Alfa Romeo radio as Bottas closes in on Russell. This would be rather pleasurable for Bottas, you’d suggest.

Lap 57/63

15:27 , Harry Latham-Coyle

It’s an Emilia Romagna Grand Prix and Valtteri Bottas and George Russell are battling in the final laps again...

Six to go as Bottas closes in on the Mercedes in fourth. Can he get one over his old team?

Lap 56/63

15:26 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Home comforts, eh? What a disaster of a day for Ferrari, and that’s a podium place that has gone up in red smoke.

Charles Leclerc passes Kevin Magnussen and is in eighth.

Lap 55/63

15:24 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Oh my! Lando Norris is up into third and Charles Leclerc is back on track in...eighth place! In fact, ninth, after Kevin Magnussen overtakes him in the first couple of corners of lap 55.

Everyone spoke before the race about risk and reward and Leclerc pushed to hard through the chicane, clipping the raised curb. He’s fortunate that he is still racing at all.

Yuki Tsunoda is up into sixth, by the way. A great performance from the AlphaTauri driver.

Lap 53/63

15:22 , Harry Latham-Coyle

CHARLES LECLERC SPINS OUT! DRAMA AT IMOLA AND THE HOME CROWD ARE STUNNED!

He was chasing Sergio Perez hard, but slid off track and has got damage to the front of his car. He’s coming in! Disaster for Ferrari.

Lap 53/63

15:21 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Intriguingly, Charles Leclerc tells his team he reckons they should have gone for medium tyres - but he seems to be finding more grip than Sergio Perez and will have DRS...

Can he get beyond him? Nope, the Red Bull has the pace through the straight and holds on without undue trouble.

Lap 52/63

15:20 , Harry Latham-Coyle

And to complete the pitting action at the front of the race, in dives Max Verstappen for a stop and a switch of tyres. He’ll re-emerge with 11 laps to go, fifteen seconds in front of teammate Sergio Perez, who has Charles Leclerc for close company.

Lap 51/63

15:18 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Red Bull have a free pit stop as a result, and they bring in Sergio Perez.

Charles Leclerc passes Lando Norris for third.

Lap 50/63

15:17 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Charles Leclerc has pitted! A bold move from Ferrari to get the soft tyres on and he is out..ahead of Lando Norris, but not for long! Norris into third on the track for now - Leclerc must get by the McLaren and then eye that extra point for the fastest lap of the afternoon.

Lap 49/63

15:16 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Lewis Hamilton is throwing everything he has at Pierre Gasly, but both Gasly and Alex Albon are holding firm. Sergio Perez has crept up behind the trio and will soon be getting blue flags to lap ‘em.

Lap 48/63

15:13 , Harry Latham-Coyle

In other AlphaTauri news, Yuki Tsunoda is going well and withing half a second of Kevin Magnussen...

And round the outside into turn one the Japanese driver takes eighth place!

Lap 46/63

15:12 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Still as you were for places 12, 13, 14: Alex Albon, Pierre Gasly and Lewis Hamilton. Gasly is doing a fine job holding Hamilton off.

Lap 44/63

15:10 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Here’s the top ten with less than a third of the race to go.

1. Verstappen, 2. Perez, 3. Leclerc, 4. Norris, 5. Russell, 6. Bottas, 7. Vettel, 8. Magnussen, 9. Tsunoda, 10. Stroll.

Charles Leclerc asks about the strategy - it seems he’ll stay out to the end with Ferrari unwilling to risk something more ambitious. That seems sensible with Carlos Sainz failing to score after that first lap retirement.

Lap 42/63

15:07 , Harry Latham-Coyle

More frustration for Lewis Hamilton, who tries to capitalise on Pierre Gasly’s shifting out of the path of Max Verstappen but can’t produce the right move. Gasly then has DRS because of his proximity to the race leader, who sits between he and Alex Albon in 12th, denying Hamilton the chance to use the system himself and overtake.

All going swimmingly for Verstappen, who is lapping Albon soon enough.

Lap 41/63

15:04 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Well, that must be nearly as bad as Abu Dhabi - Lewis Hamilton is blue-flagged and lets Max Verstappen go. The seven-time world champion has been lapped.

Lap 40/63

15:04 , Harry Latham-Coyle

“Just when you thought it can’t get any worse for Lewis Hamilton but his arch rival is coming up to lap him,” is the astute observation of Nico Rosberg of his former teammate’s difficulties. The yellow nose of the Red Bull looms into view as Hamilton continues to struggle to get by Pierre Gasly.

Lap 38/63

15:02 , Harry Latham-Coyle

And frustration for Charles Leclerc as he gets held up by back markers Nicholas Latifi and Zhou Guanyu, who are given a blue flag but don’t immediately vacate the space. Everything has worked out for Red Bull so far.

Lap 37/63

15:00 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Verstappen from Perez from Leclerc from Norris from Russell in the top five, and nothing imminent on the over-taking front among that quintet. Leclerc about two seconds back from Perez and the likeliest to be able to launch a move but not making consistently threatening gains.

Lap 35/63

14:58 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Pierre Gasly is the most vulnerable member of the field at the start of the lap that the DRS is activated - but that’s a brilliant bit of driving from the AlphaTauri man, fighting to get within a second of Alex Albon and making sure that he also enjoys the benefits of the extra zip to keep Lewis Hamilton at bay.

Lap 34/63

14:56 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Finally! DRS IS ENABLED! Right - this could get lively.

Lap 32/63

14:55 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Well if that isn’t a demonstation of Mercedes’ plight - as was the case for so much of last year, Max Verstappen is hunting down Lewis Hamilton, with the seven-time world champion down in fourteenth and the race leader trying to lap the British driver.

Hamilton is trying to put a little more distance between his Mercedes and his ex-title rival, but Pierre Gasly is clinging on to his place.

Lap 31/63

14:51 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Still no DRS, which feels a great shame.

Lap 29/63

14:50 , Harry Latham-Coyle

An error from Sergio Perez allows Charles Leclerc to close the gap to the Red Bull, and target second place...no, can’t manage.

That was an uncomfortable moment for Perez, going straight across the chicane. It won’t have done great things to his undercarriage, but the Red Bull one-two remains intact.

Max Verstappen cruising through the corners at the moment and sitting pretty at the head of the race.

Lap 28/63

14:48 , Harry Latham-Coyle

There’s a long train of cars that would be able to use DRS from 9th through to Daniel Ricciardo in 15th. If it is activated, it would really open things up.

Lap 28/63

14:47 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Anyone trying to overtake is still hampered by the lack of DRS, which is properly frustrating the Sky Sports commentators.

Lap 26/63

14:46 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Whispers from race radio that the rain may be moving away from Imola, which would change the race strategy significantly. Max Verstappen leads by six second from teammate Sergio Perez, with Charles Leclerc chasing the two Red Bulls down, but up against the fastest car on track in Perez.

Lando Norris is fourth, George Russell fifth, with Valtteri Bottas, Sebastian Vettel, Kevin Magnussen, Yuki Tsunoda and Lance Stroll competing the top ten - and Stroll doing all he can to make a move on Tsunoda.

Lap 25/63

14:44 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Mick Schumacher has an issue, and there’s briefly yellow flags waving, but the Haas is soon back amongst things - sort of. He’s in 18th, last on track, after those early retirements of Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz. It’s not been Schumacher’s day having started tenth.

Lap 23/63

14:41 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Still no DRS activated, which feels mighty peculiar. Some caution has to be exercised, of course, but the track has dried so significantly from the start of the race.

Sergio Perez has just set the fastest lap of the race to put some distance between him and Charles Leclerc in third.

Lap 22/63

14:40 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A five second time penalty for Esteban Ocon for an unsafe release levied by the stewards. Understandable.

Lap 21/63

14:39 , Harry Latham-Coyle

The replay of the Hamilton/Ocon incident looks like an unsafe release from AlphaTauri - under investigation from the stewards.

“It’s very very tricky out there,” says Red Bull’s Christian Horner. “It’s very close between [Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc] at the moment. There’s still a threat of rain around so you can’t assume that is it for the rest of the day. We’ve got to be on our toes and react to whatever is coming.”

Lap 20/63

14:36 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Tick, tick, tick - that’s the set completed as Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris come in to switch to the slicks.

Leclerc out ahead of Perez...but not for long! The Mexican retakes second place with his tyres warmed up, and that’s worked out okay for Red Bull.

Lap 19/63

14:35 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Further up the race, in are Sergio Perez, George Russell, and just about everyone except the three leading cars in the race.

Drama! Esteban Ocon and Lewis Hamilton collide in the pit lane! Thankfully they avoid a serious incident and Ocon is emerging ahead. More trouble for Mercedes

Lap 18/63

14:33 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Lewis Hamilton still thinks it is too early for a change, but fellow former world champion Sebastian Vettel disagrees - he’s in for a tyre change, along with Alex Albon and Pierre Gasly.

Lap 17/63

14:32 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Ooh - Daniel Ricciardo is in the pits and those look like slick tyres being plugged on to his car. He’s last, but this will be an interesting experiment for McLaren. He’s ahead of race leader Max Verstappen as he exits the pit lane.

Lap 16/63

14:30 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Still no DRS in operation. Obviously Niels Wittich, race director, is being cautious after what happened last year, but there’s a real chance it gets turned on just before it starts hooning it down again. No in-race precipation yet.

Lap 15/63

14:28 , Harry Latham-Coyle

That was some excellent competitive-but-fair racing from Magnussen and Russell, leaving each other room to make ambitious but safe moves.

All fine and well at the front for Red Bull at the moment, but Max Verstappen’s intermediate tyres are beginning to lose grip, and Charles Leclerc is tracking Sergio Perez down, following his footprints about a second and a half back.

Lap 14/63

14:26 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Now Bottas does take sixth place. A delightful move from the Alfa Romeo as Sebastian Vettel runs off track briefly behind him.

The top ten as things stand: Verstappen, Perez, Leclerc, Norris, Russell, Bottas, Magnussen, Vettel, Tsunoda, Stroll.

Lap 13/63

14:25 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Russell doesn’t have to wait long to take fifth more concretely - a lovely little shimmy to the inside and the place is his. Bottas very nearly pilfers a place, too, but Magnussen clings on.

Lap 12/63

14:24 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Finally Russell gets beyond Kevin Magnussen but an immediate error and the Haas steals fifth back! Russell gets his move right but then runs out of position, and the Dane is alert to the possibility.

Valtteri Bottas is in the mix now, too.

Lap 11/63

14:22 , Harry Latham-Coyle

This time for Russell....no! Great defending from Kevin Magnussen, opening the outside but knowing he’s got just enough to keep fifth on the track. Russell is getting mighty close but struggling to make the passing move.

Lap 10/63

14:21 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Now Russell launches an ambitious move on Kevin Magnussen ahead of him, but his Mercedes hops about like an excited frog as he accelerates towards the Haas in fifth. Nothing doing.

Lap 9/63

14:20 , Harry Latham-Coyle

News comes through that George Russell isn’t happy with the degrading of his tyres. Valtteri Bottas (seventh) is getting closer to the Mercedes.

Still no DRS enabled with that damp track.

Lap 8/63

14:19 , Harry Latham-Coyle

What a move from Charles Leclerc! The crowd roars as Leclerc blows beyond Lando Norris, a bold move to the inside into the chicane with the Ferrari emphatically beyond the McLaren in a flash.

On to the Red Bulls, who are leading this race in relative comfort and seem to be negotiating the damper parts of the circuit quite well.

Fernando Alonso appeared to take contact from Mick Schumacher. Alpine are desperately trying to repair a rather large blemish in the side of the car, perhaps reckoning there may be more incident later which may allow them to fight back and steal a point or two.

Lap 7/63

14:16 , Harry Latham-Coyle

“How bad is the damage?” asks Fernando Alonso - “quite bad” is the reply. He’s in the pits and I reckon that might just be that for the veteran’s afternoon in Imola.

Lap 6/63

14:15 , Harry Latham-Coyle

The visibility isn’t great for Charles Leclerc as he again looks to produce an overtake of Lando Norris. The latest reports are that the next band of rain may be about 15 minutes away - these could be really crucial laps while the going is dryish.

Fernando Alonso is plummeting through the field. Lewis Hamilton and Lance Stroll are also now ahead of the Alpine, and there’s a bit of damage on Alonso’s car.

Lap 5/63

14:13 , Harry Latham-Coyle

The green flag waves and off they go again down the home straight. Charles Leclerc sniffing Lando Norris’ rear wing...not quite.

Sebastian Vettel passes Fernando Alonso for P8, and then Yuki Tsunoda gets by the Spaniard, too!

Carlos Sainz is OUT of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

14:12 , Harry Latham-Coyle

So much hope for Ferrari, and any hopes of a home one-two dashed in the opening corners. Gloves swinging in his hands, Carlos Sainz shakes his head as he exits trackside.

The safety car is coming in at the end of this, the fourth, lap.

Lap 4/63

14:10 , Harry Latham-Coyle

So for the restart, the top ten will be: Verstappen, Perez, Norris, Leclerc, Magnussen, Russell, Bottas, Alonso, Vettel, Tsunoda.

Charles Leclerc will fancy a quick pass of Lando Norris to get at the Red Bulls. A great result for Christian Horner and co.

Lap 3/63

14:08 , Harry Latham-Coyle

No further investigation required. The stewards are happy to let it stand.

Remarkably, in all of that chaos George Russell managed to smuggle his way up to sixth. A great start for the lead Mercedes...

Daniel Ricciardo pits with the safety car still out.

Lap 2/63

14:07 , Harry Latham-Coyle

That really could not have been worse for the home horses. Charles Leclerc struggled to get off the line and Sergio Perez was on him in a flash, while Sainz went the long way into the opening corner, bashing against a more direct Ricciardo. Disappointing for Sainz, but I don’t think there’s too much fault in the actions of Ricciardo. It is probably Sainz’s corner, but the pair were side-by-side. We’ll see what the stewards say.

Valtteri Bottas also took a little contact in that incident.

Lap 1/63

14:04 , Harry Latham-Coyle

It’s a nightmare start for Ferrari - Charles Leclerc has already lost out on a couple of places, passed by both Lando Norris and Sergio Perez.

Sainz might be out here! It’s over for the Spaniard, who sits disconsolate in his car facing the wrong way in the gravel - and out comes the safety car.

Lap 1/63

14:04 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A crash in the opening corners! Carlos Sainz and Daniel Ricciardo collide and it appears Sainz is struggling to get back on track!

LIGHTS OUT!

14:03 , Harry Latham-Coyle

The 2022 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix is underway!

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

14:02 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Great plumes of red smoke and plenty of Ferrari flags - the tifosi are enjoying this. Here. We. Go!

Formation lap

14:01 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Off the cars go, over the line for the first time as they ready themselves for the race. The standing water on the track has cleared significantly, but there are still a few patches of concern - Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri forecasters expect more rain in about 20 or 25 minutes.

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

13:58 , Harry Latham-Coyle

For the first time since 2006, a Grand Prix at Imola and fans are out en masse to roar the drivers on. 63 laps of a rare anti-clockwise circuit will see the drivers cover just over 300 kilometres. Max Verstappen won 12 months ago and begins on pole, but early world title front-runner Charles Leclerc will be ready to capitalise if the Dutchman has another slow start.

Starting Grid

13:56 , Harry Latham-Coyle

One final look at the starting grid...

1) Max Verstappen

2) Charles Leclerc

3) Sergio Perez

4) Carlos Sainz

5) Lando Norris

6) Daniel Ricciardo

7) Valtteri Bottas

8) Kevin Magnussen

9) Fernando Alonso

10) Mick Schumacher

11) George Russell

12) Yuki Tsunoda

13) Sebastian Vettel

14) Lewis Hamilton

15) Lance Stroll

16) Estenban Ocon

17) Pierre Gasly

18) Alex Albon

19) Nicholas Latifi

20) Zhou Ganyu

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

13:55 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A home triumph for Ferrari? A clawing back of points for Max Verstappen? A surprise McLaren surge? A drying track, the threat of more rain, and a tough track to test the grid - this could be frantic and a lot of fun, and race start in Imola is about five minutes away...

Toto Wolff to Sky Sports

13:50 , Harry Latham-Coyle

“We are just lacking in many areas - one is with grip the colder it gets. In theory we are not that competitive, but it is a motor race and that can change.

“We still believe the physics can make the car work. That is why we are not giving up. We are four races into the championship and on paper we are not fighting for the win, but that does not mean in four races we will not be fighting for it.”

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

13:48 , Harry Latham-Coyle

“What happens with the weather is for everyone,” our pole-sitter Max Verstappen sagely remarks. Indeed, Max, indeed.

Lando Norris says...

13:47 , Harry Latham-Coyle

“Excited. ALready a few memories of last year coming my way, similar conditions-ish. We’ll see. A few opportunities could come our way, we just need to be there to take them.

“You’ve got to take risks in these conditions. It is risk management, taking them when you need to, it is a long race. As long as we are in the fight at the end, that’s what counts.”

The drivers assemble on the red carpet

13:45 , Harry Latham-Coyle

The usual pre-race massing of the drivers for the national anthem, and it’s a doozy: “Il Canto degli Italiani”, backed by a brass band and barked by the local fans, Ferrari flags waved left and right.

Christian Horner’s pre-race thoughts

13:42 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Christian Horner is the next to have a red and blue Sky microphone thrust towards his chin: “On a day like today there is an awful lot of risk. There is probably another band of rain coming. It’s about not making mistakes and trying to stay ahead of the Ferrari.”

On Max Verstappen’s slow start yesterday: “He picked up a bit of wheel spin. Hopefully he’ll have a better start today. We need one...”

Plenty of colour

13:40 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Fair play to the fans - it looked properly nasty at Imola earlier, but they’ve stuck around and the sun is poking through the clouds. There are a few ominous dark patches on the radar but the Ferrari fans are out in force and this could be plenty of fun.

Problems for Lewis Hamilton?

13:35 , Harry Latham-Coyle

More problems for Lewis Hamilton. He’s had some issues during his laps to the grid, but Mercedes are confident they will be sorted in the next 25 minutes or so.

“It was drier than I was expecting, actually,” George Russell tells Sky Sports’ roaming reporters. “During the course of this race it will probably transition. It’s going to be really difficult - we are in P11 and we have got to really go for it.”

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix - half an hour until lights out

13:32 , Harry Latham-Coyle

The cars are coming back on to the grid, team personnel guiding Lando Norris’ orange McLaren through the chaos to P5. Can those two McLarens launch a significant challenge to the front four? As thrilling as Ferrari and Red Bull’s duels have been, a third team muscling in to a front-of-the-race fight more consistently would be a lot of fun, particularly at such a challenging circuit in inclement conditions.

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

13:29 , Harry Latham-Coyle

“I think we will see some spectacular driving from him today,” tips Nico Rosberg of former teammate Lewis Hamilton on Sky Sports.

Lewis Hamilton slides off track

13:24 , Harry Latham-Coyle

An early moment of bother for Lewis Hamilton as he gets some energy into his car and the tyres - he runs wide and off track, but manages to avoid anything more serious. He’s normally so strong when the rain comes down, but this Mercedes W13 has been struggling so badly. What will Hamilton and George Russell be able to produce?

The pit lane is open

13:22 , Harry Latham-Coyle

We have cars on the track in Imola - the pit lane is open. Most have started on the full wet tyres, quite understandably, with a significant amount of spray flying from the back of Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari. Max Verstappen is one of those not yet out - here he comes...full wets for the world champion.

Fernando Alonso foresees chaos in the rain

13:18 , Harry Latham-Coyle

There were a couple of rumblings about ten minutes ago that the rain may just be clearing up in Emilia Romagna, and the umbrellas are down on the gri, but the track remains damp - which will add an air of unpredictability to what could be a little cracker of a race.

“There are some forecasts that say it may rain tomorrow,” Fernando Alonso said yesterday after a disappointing sprint race performance.

“If that happens, obviously chaos is guaranteed, and in the chaos, you can be lucky or unlucky.

“In the position we are in, maybe we are one of the lucky ones.”

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Starting Grid

13:05 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Right - we are about an hour away from lights out at Imola, which feels like an appropriate time to remind ourselves of the starting grid. Guanyu Zhou will start from the pit lane after Alfa Romeo performed some unsupervised work yesterday:

1. Max Verstappen - Red Bull

2. Charles Leclerc - Ferrari

3. Sergio Perez - Red Bull

4. Carlos Sainz - Ferrari

5. Lando Norris - McLaren

6. Daniel Ricciardo - McLaren

7. Valterri Bottas - Alfa Romeo

8. Kevin Magnussen - Haas

9. Fernando Alonso - Alpine

10. Mick Schumacher - Hass

11. George Russell - Mercedes

12. Yuki Tsunoda - AlphaTauri

13. Sebastian Vettel - Aston Martin

14. Lewis Hamilton - Mercedes

15. Lance Stroll - Aston Martin

16. Esteban Ocon - Alpine

17. Pierre Gasly - AlphaTauri

18. Alex Albon - Williams

19. Nicholas Latifi - Williams

20. Guanyu Zhou - Alfa Romeo

Lewis Hamilton dismisses rumours as ‘a bunch of nonsense'

12:52 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Pretty emphatic from Lewis Hamilton, responding to rumours that he may be considering an exit from Mercedes: “There is nowhere else I want to be, just because we have hit a rough patch, it is not in my DNA to back out.

“We can fix this. It is going to be a painful year that we are going to have to ride out together.

“We just have to work hard to make sure we are not in this position next year.”

Smoke on the water

12:44 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Remembering Ayrton Senna

12:39 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Remembering Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberg

12:37 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Any visit to Imola has a certain poignancy - it’s now 28 years since two Formula 1 drivers lost their lives in a single San Marino Grand Prix weekend at this track, including the great Ayrton Senna.

26 years on from Senna's death and a weekend seared into F1's soul

Staying dry

12:27 , Harry Latham-Coyle

The weather

12:22 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Hamilton has now swapped the shirt for a branded jacket and umbrella. It’s not looking nice at the track, and it’s likely to keep coming down right through the race, which will make things a little slippery.

A better day for Lewis Hamilton?

12:15 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Lewis Hamilton has had to dismiss rumours of retirement already this weekend, with television pictures showing an apparent disagreement between the seven-time world champion and Toto Wolff fuelling speculation that all may not be well at Mercedes. It’s certainly not been a great start to the season for the 37-year-old - can he go better today? He’ll start 14th, and he’s already going raising the sartorial stakes with this rather fancy button-down. Like Innocenzo’s easel.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

It’s wet

12:03 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Encouraging performance for McLaren

12:00 , Harry Latham-Coyle

It was a solid Saturday for McLaren, with P5 and P6 for Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo despite significant disruption during Free Practice 2. Ricciardo thinks they might be even better today.

“It’s definitely like the ‘on paper’ result is really good,” Ricciardo reflected on yesterday’s performance. “[Yesterday morning was] all about race prep and we obviously didn’t get it.

“I’ve done over 200 races so it’s not like I’m not prepared to race but knowing what tyre to start on, where to set things like the front wing and the switches in the car and all these little things, this is certainly valuable, especially in a Sprint race, where you don’t have a pit stop or anything. These are things that obviously compromise you.

“If we did the race again now, I would definitely change some things but with all that being said, you see ahead of us it’s Red Bull and Ferrari, so actually the result was good. I just think we will be a faster car [today].”

Sergio Perez targets toppling of teammate and triumph in Imola

11:56 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Fighting talk from Sergio Perez - he fancies his chances today.

Sergio Perez targets Imola win despite Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen taking pole

Familiar surroundings

11:50 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Click here to read the full blog on The Independent's website

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