F1 news LIVE: Lewis Hamilton concedes title race as Max Verstappen takes shot at Mercedes after Imola

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·71-min read
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Lewis Hamilton sturggled at Imola  (Getty Images)
Lewis Hamilton sturggled at Imola (Getty Images)

Max Verstappen cruised to victory at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix on Sunday to cut Charles Leclerc’s F1 championship lead after the Ferrari driver threw away a podium finish with a costly late spin at Imola, but there is more drama away from the title race, with Lewis Hamilton enduring another nightmare weekend as Mercedes continue to struggle. Although George Russell has shown the way for the Silver Arrows, outperforming his more illustrious teammate so far as Toto Wolff and co. look to get to grips with their early-season problems.

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.

Hamilton’s misery in Imola was compounded when his bitter rival Verstappen lapped him before the Briton finished in 14th place. And the Belgian-Dutch driver has taken aim at Mercedes, insisting that it meant little to lap his 2021 title rival after their issues all season. Meanwhile, Hamilton has ruled himself out of the title race, with the gap now 31 points to Verstappen in second and 58 points behind leader Leclerc.

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

  • Lewis Hamilton admits ‘no question’ he is ‘out of F1 championship’ after Imola

  • Toto Wolff apologises to Hamilton for ‘undrivable’ Mercedes car in ‘terrible’ Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

  • Verstappen wins in Imola as Leclerc salvages sixth place

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

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

George Russell reveals chest pain from Mercedes porpoising at Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Monday 25 April 2022 19:00 , Michael Jones

George Russell has revealed he has experienced chest pains as a result of the porpoising in his Mercedes car.

The reigning constructors champions have been plagued with the bouncing issue more than most other teams on the grid in the opening four races of the 2022 F1 season.

Russell still somehow managed to clinch a superb fourth place at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix as his teammate Lewis Hamilton could only muster a disappointing 14th.

George Russell reveals chest pain from Mercedes porpoising at Emilia Romagna GP

Mercedes concede possibility W13 concept ‘simply doesn’t work’

Monday 25 April 2022 18:45 , Michael Jones

Mercedes continued their Formula One struggles at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix over the weekend, leaving team boss Toto Wolff admitting there’s a possibility that the new car built for the 2022 season “simply doesn’t work”.

New regulations for this campaign saw each F1 team design and refine new vehicles, but while some - like Ferrari’s F1-75 - have enabled the team to take enormous leaps in competitiveness, Mercedes have fallen short.

Their W13 model has been beset by porpoising issues, even before reaching top speeds and on both straights and corners, with the unconventional ‘zero-pods’ design behind most of their troubles in the eyes of some experts. Those were prevalent again on Sunday, where Lewis Hamilton finished 13th and George Russell performed well to claim fourth.

Mercedes concede possibility W13 concept ‘simply doesn’t work’

Nico Rosberg criticises Ferrari over Charles Leclerc pitstop at Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Monday 25 April 2022 18:30 , Michael Jones

Ferrari should not have pitted Charles Leclerc in the closing stages of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, says former world champion Nico Rosberg.

The Monegasque driver was hunting down Sergio Perez in second place heading into the final 10 laps of the Italian race, before he caught too much of a curb and spun into the wall.

Fortunately, there was minimal damage to Leclerc’s car but Ferrari still decided to pit him straight away and replace his front wing.

Leclerc was then forced to recover several places in the final few laps as he ended up finishing a disappointing sixth.

And Rosberg feels his team made the wrong call by pitting him and insists they should have waited to see whether the damaged front wing could have made it to the end of the race.

Nico Rosberg criticises Ferrari over Charles Leclerc pitstop at Emilia Romagna GP

Max Verstappen wins Emilia Romagna Grand Prix after late Charles Leclerc error

Monday 25 April 2022 18:15 , Michael Jones

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 as he lost control of his car through the chicane and hit the wall.

The mistake saw Leclerc drop to ninth and although he was able to recover to salvage sixth place, 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.

Max Verstappen wins Emilia Romagna Grand Prix after late Charles Leclerc error

Budget cap issue caused by ‘unpredictable’ inflation

Monday 25 April 2022 18:00 , Michael Jones

The issue over whether to increase the budget cap for the 2022 Formula 1 season is dividing the teams with F1 managing director Ross Brawn saying that it needs to be addressed.

The annual cap on what teams can spend fell from $145m in 2021 to $140m for 2022 and the rising costs of equipment that fall under the cap have made it harder than anticipated for the bigger teams to stay under it without compromising car development.

McLaren has been supportive of the cap, but team principal Andreas Seidl acknowledged that given the inflation rate the issue has to be addressed.

He told Autosport: “Despite being clearly a team that is very keen to make sure that we protect the budget cap, I think in special circumstances like we have at the moment, you need to be open for common sense dialogue, and make required adjustments.

“And that’s where we stand in this specific discussion at the moment. Especially when unexpected things happen when the season is already ongoing. I think it’s more than just common sense that you you need to find a solution, how to deal with that.”

Alfa Romeo boss Fred Vasseur disagrees and is adamant that any changes on how inflation is dealt with should have to wait for 2023.

“You can’t change the regulations every single weekend because one team wants to spend more on development,” he explained “Or because they are overweight, or because that they want to have an extra allowance for this.

“There is a rule, the most important thing is to stick to the rule. If the concept of inflation and the calculation of the inflation is not the best one, we can think about it for the future. Why not?

“But we have something in place, and everybody agreed when we signed the deal. Now we have to follow the rules.”

Brawn thinking up solution for F1 budget cap squeeze

Monday 25 April 2022 17:45 , Michael Jones

F1 managing director Ross Brawn says that solutions are being looked at to the squeeze on the budget cap caused by inflation for this year’s championship.

The annual cap on what teams can spend fell from $145m in 2021 to $140m for this season and the rising costs of equipment that fall under the cap have made it harder than anticipated for the bigger teams to stay under it without compromising car development.

There has been lobbying from several teams for an increase in the cap or some type of adjustment although other teams have indicated that they are happy for it not to change within this season.

Brawn acknowledged the issue would have to be addressed, and it will be among the subjects discussed at Tuesday’s meeting of the F1 Commission in London.

“I think the inflationary increase needs to be reviewed,” he said. “Because when these rules were developed, inflation was relatively low and predictable, and now it’s high and unpredictable.

“And if you look at the inflation rates that apply to industrial enterprises, like an F1 team, you’ve got power, you’ve got raw materials, you got all the things which are proving to be quite expensive at the moment. So I think there’s a solution coming on that.”

Horner explains how Red Bull beat Ferrari at Imola

Monday 25 April 2022 17:30 , Michael Jones

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes the team’s ability to get its tyres into a better operating window was the key to beating Ferrari at Imola.

Max Verstappen earned his second victory of the season and finished ahead of teammate Sergio Perez to give Red Bull their first one-two since the Malaysian Grand Prix in 2016.

It was a day to forget for Ferrari as Carlos Sainz crashed out on the first lap before a mistake from Charles Leclerc saw him drop from third place to sixth in the closing stages.

Red Bull scored 58 out of a possible 59 points over the sprint race weekend as it enjoyed an edge over Ferrari for outright pace, which Horner put down to how the RB18 car worked with the tyres.

“As we saw in Melbourne, the tyres, there’s an operating window, and with the setup this weekend, we got it right,” he said.

“We could see that Charles [Leclerc] was struggling a little bit more with the front tyres here than we were, both in yesterday’s race and it was starting to happen in the latter part of today’s race.

“So that just gave us the the upper hand, and I think Max [Verstappen] was able to manage the race perfectly.

“Checo [Sergio Perez] was able to build a gap to Charles and manage that gap. And at no point other than one trip across the grass with Checo did we really come under too much pressure.”

Imola GP one of Red Bull’s ‘best ever results’ says Horner

Monday 25 April 2022 17:15 , Michael Jones

Christian Horner says that Red Bull’s one-two finish at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was one of their ‘best ever results’ and just what the team needed after an under-par performance in the Australian GP last time out.

Max Verstappen had to retire in Melbourne but stormed to victory at Imola and Sergio Perez managed to fight his way up to second place.

“It was just the rebound that we needed after the disappointment of Australia a couple of weeks ago,” Horner said after the race.

“[It was a] phenomenal team performance because we took a bit of a risk coming into the weekend with a couple of small parts we introduced to the car, which is always tricky when you have only got one session.

“But we attacked the weekend from the word go, and both drivers have been unbelievable. Both Max and Checo [Perez] have driven brilliantly this weekend and that one-two finish, all credit to the team.

“Picking ourselves up after the disappointment of Australia, to come back with a result like that here in Imola was one of our best-ever results.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

F1 race calendar 2022: Full list of dates for every grand prix in biggest season ever

Monday 25 April 2022 17:00 , Michael Jones

Formula 1 is in the midst of the biggest season in its 72-year history over 2022 with 23 races planned at top class racing venues around the world.

The series has been on an expansion drive ever since owners Liberty Media purchased it from Bernie Ecclestone back in 2017, with focus placed on key financial territories including the Middle East and North America.

All but one of the tracks scheduled to host a grand prix in 2022 have done so far before. This season brings a brand new race in the United States onto the calendar in May, as the Miami International Autodrome makes its debut as the second US event alongside the Circuit of the Americas in Texas. The Florida venue will see drivers navigate 19 corners around the Hard Rock Stadium, home of NFL team Miami Dolphins.

F1 race calendar 2022: Full list of dates for every grand prix in biggest season ever

Sergio Perez could quit F1 if race calendar expands again

Monday 25 April 2022 16:45 , Michael Jones

Red Bull driver Sergio Perez has revealed he would consider quitting Formula One if even more races are added to the calendar.

The 2022 season will see the drivers navigate the most hectic schedule to date, with 23 races pencilled in between March and December.

There has been talk of even more races being added in the future, with F1 already announcing that they have secured a deal with Las Vegas to stage a weekend there from 2023.

But Mexican Perez, who has been a part of the grid since he made his debut with Sauber in 2011, insists he would back away from the sport if the calendar congestion became even greater.

Speaking to The Athletic, he said: “It’s great that Formula 1 continues to develop and grow. You can see it everywhere we go, people are starting to recognise you on the street more and more often. But if there are too many races, it will be bad. At least for me.”

Sergio Perez could quit F1 if race calendar expands again

Red Bull advisor jokes Lewis Hamilton should have retired last year amid 2022 struggles

Monday 25 April 2022 16:30 , Michael Jones

Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko joked Lewis Hamilton may be wishing he retired at the end of last season amid a difficult start to the 2022 campaign.

The seven-time world champion could only manage a 14th place finish at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix on Sunday at the end of what was a dismal weekend for the Briton.

And Marko, who watched his Red Bull team secure a one-two thanks to Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, questioned Hamilton’s decision to continue in the sport following his problematic afternoon.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the Imola race, Marko said: “I mean, he was lapped by us so maybe he (is thinking) he should have stopped last year.”

Hamilton is a huge 58 points behind Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc at the top of the drivers’ championship standings. He is also 21 points adrift of Mercedes teammate George Russell.

Red Bull advisor jokes Lewis Hamilton should have retired last year amid struggles

Mercedes ‘playing the mental game’ with Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg claims

Monday 25 April 2022 16:15 , Michael Jones

Former world champion Nico Rosberg believes Mercedes copped the blame for Lewis Hamilton’s woeful result at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix to keep the British driver motivated.

Hamilton finished 13th, a lap down on winner Max Verstappen and nine places and one minute behind team-mate George Russell.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff told Hamilton the car was “undriveable” and issued an apology to the seven-time world champion in a grovelling radio message after the chequered flag.

But Rosberg said his former adversary and team-mate at Mercedes should have performed better.

Mercedes ‘playing the mental game’ with Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg claims

Stats from Imola

Monday 25 April 2022 16:00 , Michael Jones

The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was only the second time Red Bull have taken a one-two finish in the hybrid era (the other was Malaysia 2016 when Daniel Ricciardo led home Max Verstappen.

Verstappen has won every time he has seen the chequered flag this year - two Grand Prixs and one F1 Sprint.

The Dutchman took pole, victory, fastest lap and led every lap – the first grand slam win in F1 history where a driver has taken P1 on the grid twice on the same weekend.

It was also the first time in F1 history that there have been consecutive grand slams for different constructors/drivers (Charles Leclerc, of course, won last time out for Ferrari in Australia from pole, taking fastest lap and leading every lap)

Lewis Hamilton admits ‘no question’ he is ‘out of F1 championship’ after Imola

Monday 25 April 2022 15:51 , Michael Jones

Lewis Hamilton issued an apology to Mercedes following one of the worst races of his 16-season career.

The seven-time world champion finished 13th at Sunday’s wet-dry Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in Imola, a lap behind winner Max Verstappen, and nine places adrift of his team-mate George Russell.

Sergio Perez was second as Red Bull secured their first one-two finish in six years, while Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc came home sixth after he spun from third with just nine laps to run. Leclerc’s error allowed Lando Norris to snatch the final spot on the podium.

Lewis Hamilton admits ‘no question’ he is ‘out of F1 championship’

Toto Wolff apologises to Lewis Hamilton for ‘undrivable’ Mercedes car in ‘terrible’ Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Monday 25 April 2022 15:39 , Michael Jones

Toto Wolff has apologised to Lewis Hamilton for what the Mercedes team principal described as an “undrivable” car during the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Hamilton was again left frustrated by the performance of his vehicle, struggling to fight his way up through the field and unable to get by Pierre Gasly, who held the seven-time world champion at bay for much of the race at Imola.

George Russell was able to overcome Mercedes’ ongoing problems and continue his run of top-five finishes, holding off Valtteri Bottas, the man he replaced at the team, to secure fourth.

Toto Wolff apologises to Lewis Hamilton for ‘undrivable’ Mercedes car

George Russell reveals chest pain from Mercedes porpoising at Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Monday 25 April 2022 15:25 , Michael Jones

George Russell has revealed he has experienced chest pains as a result of the porpoising in his Mercedes car.

The reigning constructors champions have been plagued with the bouncing issue more than most other teams on the grid in the opening four races of the 2022 F1 season.

Russell still somehow managed to clinch a superb fourth place at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix as his teammate Lewis Hamilton could only muster a disappointing 14th.

Yet despite securing a fourth successive top-five finish since joining Mercedes, Russell admits the porpoising has had a physical impact on his body.

Speaking after the Imola race, he said: “The bouncing, it really takes your breath away. It’s the most extreme I’ve ever felt it.

George Russell reveals chest pain from Mercedes porpoising at Emilia Romagna GP

Charles Leclerc cannot afford mistakes if he wants title, Nico Rosberg warns

Monday 25 April 2022 15:15 , Michael Jones

Nico Rosberg says Charles Leclerc can ill-afford any more mistakes if he wants to beat Max Verstappen to the world championship.

Leclerc fluffed his lines at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix when he ran over the kerbs at the Variante Alta and slid backwards into the barrier as he chased second-placed Sergio Perez.

Leclerc recovered to the pit lane for a new front wing, emerging in ninth before passing Kevin Magnussen, Sebastian Vettel and Yuki Tsunoda to finish in sixth place.

Charles Leclerc cannot afford mistakes if he wants title, Nico Rosberg warns

‘It seems easy on TV’ says Verstappen

Monday 25 April 2022 15:00 , Michael Jones

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen completed a perfect weekend claiming maximum points from the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. The result on Sunday seemed like a foregone conclusion after Verstappen stormed into an early lead and stayed at the front for the entire race but the reigning champion said his win was anything but.

“Melbourne wasn’t great for us and the start of the season in general wasn’t amazing so we needed a good weekend. I didn’t expect it to be like this but when you have a weekend at the end like this, that’s incredible: a one-two for the team but also maximum points scored.

“Also the way we handled the race, we didn’t really make any mistakes and I think we made the right calls switching from the inters to the slicks, and from then onwards we just controlled the race. It of course seemed probably easy on the TV, but you have to be focused.”

Asked about the biggest obstacle he faced on the way to victory at Imola he replied: “Passing backmarkers. Some of them, they stayed of course on the dry line and I had to pass them on the wet patches. That wasn’t amazing, but it is what it is. You just have to deal with it but again, then it’s easy to just go off the track.

“Of course we saw that yesterday in Sprint qualifying that we had good pace in the car and we could look after our tyres quite nicely. A very positive weekend.”

Max Verstappen takes shot at Mercedes after lapping Lewis Hamilton during Emilia Romagna Grand Prix win

Monday 25 April 2022 14:50 , Michael Jones

Max Verstappen aimed a dig at Mercedes’ lack of pace after lapping Lewis Hamilton during the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix on Sunday.

The reigning world champion produced a superb performance to claim his second victory of the 2022 season in Italy.

But Hamilton, who ruled himself out of the drivers’ championship after the race, suffered throughout and could only manage 13th place on another torturous day for the seven-time champion.

The Brit’s woes were compounded by Verstappen lapping him, just four months after the pair were battling it out for the title in one of the all-time great rivalries.

And while Verstappen insists he did not take any great pleasure from going past Hamilton, he did take the opportunity to to level a thinly-veiled dig at Mercedes.

Max Verstappen takes shot at Mercedes after lapping Lewis Hamilton during win

Nico Rosberg believes Toto Wolff is ‘annoyed’ with Lewis Hamilton after Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Monday 25 April 2022 14:35 , Michael Jones

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff was annoyed at Lewis Hamilton during the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix weekend, according to former driver Nico Rosberg.

Wolff and Hamilton were seen in a heated discussion on Friday after the seven-time champion only narrowly made it through Q1 before managing just 13th place on the grid in Q2.

He would then go on to finish 14th in the sprint race and 13th in the Emilia Romagna GP on Sunday, before Wolff dismissed speculation about a rift between him and the seven-time champion.

But Rosberg, who worked with Hamilton and Wolff for several years at Mercedes, feels there is more to it than the Austrian let on.

Nico Rosberg believes Toto Wolff ‘annoyed’ with Lewis Hamilton after Imola

Sainz ‘not happy’ with second retirement after collision with Ricciardo

Monday 25 April 2022 14:23 , Michael Jones

Carlos Sainz’s crashed out of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix after just two and a half corners and had to retire for the second consecutive race.

He and Daniel Ricciardo made contact on the opening lap which forced Sainz into the gravel leaving the Spaniard “not happy” about having to retire again.

It was a mistake by Sainz that saw him crash out of last week’s race in Melbourne during in Lap 2 and having earned P4 on the grid in the Sprint, a slow getaway from Sainz saw him duelling with the P6-starting Ricciardo into Tamburello at Imola.

The pair made contact and Sainz spun into the gravel where his Ferrari beached.

“It was a difficult start as you saw,” said Sainz, “but there were still 63 laps left, and even if you lose a position to a McLaren like Lando [Norris] or whatever, it’s still a long race to go, especially in these conditions.

“But unfortunately, I think I left plenty of space for Daniel on the inside but he decided to get on the kerb and understeer into me and that was it for my race. Very unlucky – nothing I could do differently there, but it is what it is.

“It’s tough, I’m not happy, and it’s tough to go through it, especially in a home race like this with all the tifosi, getting the support from them, wanting to do a good race for them. Yes, as I said, the start wasn’t great; we will analyse why but it was still a long race ahead and for some reason, I was the unlucky guy that for someone’s mistake, I had to pay. It’s how it is.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

‘Amazing race’ sees Norris claim third for McLaren

Monday 25 April 2022 14:11 , Michael Jones

McLaren’s Lando Norris says that Sunday’s grand prix was ‘amazing’ atfer he moved up two places from his P5 grid start to claim his first podium finish of the season.

“Amazing race, amazing weekend to be honest,” said Norris. “To beat one Red Bull and a Ferrari is much more than were expecting. I’m happy. The team deserve it. From where we were in race one to now scoring a podium, they all deserve it, so top job to the team.

“I think today and this weekend, it wasn’t necessarily all about the car; I think a lot of it was the teamwork, the pit stop was amazing and just how we executed the weekend, which is what gave us this result.

“With the start, the strategy, the qualifying, judging the tyres and all of this stuff, the smaller things that you don’t get to see, it’s what got us this podium today, so it’s lovely to see. I guess fourth was still going to be an amazing position, amazing result for us and better than we were expecting coming into the race and into the weekend for sure.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Mercedes concede possibility W13 concept ‘simply doesn’t work’

Monday 25 April 2022 14:00 , Michael Jones

Mercedes continued their Formula One struggles at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix over the weekend, leaving team boss Toto Wolff admitting there’s a possibility that the new car built for the 2022 season “simply doesn’t work”.

New regulations for this campaign saw each F1 team design and refine new vehicles, but while some - like Ferrari’s F1-75 - have enabled the team to take enormous leaps in competitiveness, Mercedes have fallen short.

Their W13 model has been beset by porpoising issues, even before reaching top speeds and on both straights and corners, with the unconventional ‘zero-pods’ design behind most of their troubles in the eyes of some experts. Those were prevalent again on Sunday, where Lewis Hamilton finished 13th and George Russell performed well to claim fourth.

Mercedes concede possibility W13 concept ‘simply doesn’t work’

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Monday 25 April 2022 13:50 , Michael Jones

A few photos from yesterday’s grand prix. Lando Norris storms in front of Charles Leclerc as Carlos Sainz spins out, Sergio Perez holds off Leclerc’s Ferrari and Lewis Hamilton struggles for Mercedes.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

‘No regrets’ about Leclerc’s crash says Binotto

Monday 25 April 2022 13:42 , Michael Jones

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto says he does not regret the decision to swap out Charles Leclerc’s tyres and take the attack to Sergio Perez in the hopes of gaining more points in the world championship battle.

After moving onto slicks Leclerc closed the gap on second placed Perez but spun off the track and fell down to ninth recovering for a P6 finish at Imola.

While the lost points could prove costly Binotto said he did not rue the decision to get Leclerc to attack.

“I think there will never be regret to ask a driver to push,” he said. “I think that is part of our job, and it’s part of their job trying to drive to the limit. Mistakes can happen.

“I think with this year’s cars, obviously, the cars on the kerbs are a lot more stiffer and somehow, if you make a small mistake, you’re paying for it quite a lot. So no regrets. I think we made the right choice and that is it.”

Binotto was clear that the decision to go for a second stop was an aggressive move to grab an extra place, rather than forced on the team through tyre degradation.

“We were not running out of front tyres,” he said. “At that time of the race, the pace with Sergio Perez was very, very similar or slightly better. But, because we believed that there was no opportunity for us to attack and overtake Perez with those tyres any more, we did the pitstop.

“We hoped that they would have stopped as well, which was the case. So they were both on new tyres. It was like resetting the race, 15 laps to go, and on soft tyres.

“I think it worked somehow pretty well because Charles was very close to Sergio and he tried to attack before he made the mistake.”

‘I was too greedy’: Charles Leclerc explains error that led to costly Imola spin

Monday 25 April 2022 13:30 , Michael Jones

Charles Leclerc has said that he was “too greedy” after a late spin ended his chances of a podium finish at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

The early championship leader had started slowly at Imola, losing second spot to Sergio Perez and struggling to close in on the Mexican and Max Verstappen, who eventually secured a Red Bull one-two at Ferrari’s home circuit.

Leclerc and Ferrari made the decision to pit from third late on to go to a softer tyre in a bid to steal a point for the fastest lap of the afternoon and an outside chance of hunting down Perez.

But pushing hard into a chicane, the Monegasque caught the kerb and lost control of his car, fortunate to avoid a more serious collision with the wall but forced to pit to fix a damaged front wing.

It meant Leclerc dropped down the field, and while he was able to fight up to sixth on fresher tyres, Verstappen and Perez closed the gap at the top of the early world title standings.

‘I was too greedy’: Charles Leclerc explains error that led to costly Imola spin

Russell explains how he fought for P4 finish

Monday 25 April 2022 13:21 , Michael Jones

George Russell ended a challenging weekend for Mercedes with a brilliant P4 finish in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, as team mate Lewis Hamilton was stuck in 13th.

It was an unexpected result for Russell who missed out on Friday’s Q3 meaning he started the Sprint race on Saturday 11th. He failed to make up ground during that run but jumped to sixth with a rapid start on Sunday took P5 off Kevin Magnussen and was promoted to P4 after Charles Leclerc’s late crash before holding off a determined Valtteri Bottas at the end.

“It was difficult because the first stint was strong, but I had loads of understeer in the car so I wanted to put a lot of front wing in the car for the dry tyre.” he said, “And then ordinarily you need to put a lot more front wing in the car for the wet compared to the dry and unfortunately, we didn’t manage it in the pit stop.

“I was like, ‘bugger, this is going to be a difficult 40 laps,’ and I just had to manage the tyre because I wanted to attack Lando [Norris, who finished P3]; I knew that that front-right would have just disappeared, and I’d definitely finish behind Valtteri. Really pleased with the result today – P4 was massively out of reach after qualifying, after the Sprint yesterday – so a good result again.”

Russell had to once again deal with the Mercedes’ ‘porpoising’ issues which mean the car bounces quite heavily along the straights. He added: “It was still difficult to drive with the bouncing. There was one time I was on the radio, and it sort of took my breath away on the straight with the bumps. I need a nice hot bath to recover!”

Heading to Miami, Russell is fourth in the driver’s championship behind Leclerc and the Red Bull drivers with Mercedes sitting third in the team championship with a 31-point lead over McLaren.

“As I’ve said before, it’s a results-based business and we’re getting the results at the moment, relatively speaking, so it gives me confidence that when we improve the pace of the car, we’ll be there,” concluded Russell.

Max Verstappen wins Emilia Romagna Grand Prix after late Charles Leclerc error

Monday 25 April 2022 13:10 , Michael Jones

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 as he lost control of his car through the chicane and hit the wall.

The mistake saw Leclerc drop to ninth and although he was able to recover to salvage sixth place, 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.

Max Verstappen wins Emilia Romagna Grand Prix after late Charles Leclerc error

Russell sure Hamilton will “come back strong” after terrible weekend at Imola

Monday 25 April 2022 13:00 , Michael Jones

George Russell expects his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton to “come back strong” after a difficult Emilia Romagna Grand Prix where the seven-time champion struggled to finish 13th.

Starting 11th on the grid at Imola, Russell had an exceptional race compared to his teammate and worked his way through the field to finish P4.

Hamilton meanwhile struggled to make progress and finished where he started in 14th after spending most of the race stuck behind Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri before gaining a place due to Esteban Ocon’s with a five-second penalty for an unsafe release in front of Hamilton in the pits.

It was the third race in a row that Russell has finished ahead of Hamilton after taking fifth in Jeddah and third in Australia, but the 24-year-old stressed that he’s “not getting comfortable” with his experienced team-mate.

“I think it’s just how things fall out sometimes in a race weekend,” he said. “I made a very strong start. I don’t know what happened with him [Lewis] at the start, but we are equally struggling, and when the car is so far out of bed, and it’s not in the right window, it doesn’t really feel like a proper racing car to drive.

“And especially we’re struggling with the tyre warm-up. Friday was 13 degrees and it was just a nightmare to drive. I expect him to come back so strong, and the way he’s pushing and motivating the team is inspiring.

“I’m not getting comfortable with this position, because I know what he’s capable of.”

Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes split rumours are ‘a bunch of nonsense’

Monday 25 April 2022 12:47 , Michael Jones

Lewis Hamilton has insisted that he is “100 percent committed” to Mercedes and described rumours that he was considering quitting the team as “a bunch of nonsense”.

The seven-time world champion was again left frustrated by the German outfit’s struggles in the sprint race at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, able to finish only 14th.

Hamilton conceded afterwards that Mercedes were “obviously not fighting for the championship” as the team continues to struggle to match title contenders Red Bull and Ferrari.

The 37-year-old had also appeared to clash with Toto Wolff, team principal for Mercedes, during qualifying on Friday in Imola.

However Hamilton has dismissed talk that he may be contemplating his future, saying that the suggestion that he may not wish to continue as “silly and a bunch of nonsense”.

Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes split rumours are ‘a bunch of nonsense’

Mercedes took blame for Lewis Hamilton woe to keep him motivated says Rosberg

Monday 25 April 2022 12:39 , Michael Jones

Former world champion Nico Rosberg believes Mercedes copped the blame for Lewis Hamilton’s woeful result at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix to keep the British driver motivated.

Hamilton finished 13th, a lap down on winner Max Verstappen and nine places and one minute behind team-mate George Russell.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff told Hamilton the car was “undriveable” and issued an apology to the seven-time world champion in a grovelling radio message after the chequered flag.

But Rosberg said his former adversary and team-mate at Mercedes should have performed better.

Mercedes took blame for Lewis Hamilton woe to keep him motivated – Nico Rosberg

Red Bull advisor jokes Lewis Hamilton should have retired last year amid 2022 struggles

Monday 25 April 2022 12:30 , Michael Jones

Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko joked Lewis Hamilton may be wishing he retired at the end of last season amid a difficult start to the 2022 campaign.

The seven-time world champion could only manage a 14th place finish at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix on Sunday at the end of what was a dismal weekend for the Briton.

And Marko, who watched his Red Bull team secure a one-two thanks to Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, questioned Hamilton’s decision to continue in the sport following his problematic afternoon.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the Imola race, Marko said: “I mean, he was lapped by us so maybe he (is thinking) he should have stopped last year.”

Hamilton is a huge 58 points behind Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc at the top of the drivers’ championship standings. He is also 21 points adrift of Mercedes teammate George Russell.

Red Bull advisor jokes Lewis Hamilton should have retired last year amid struggles

Nico Rosberg criticises Ferrari over Charles Leclerc pitstop at Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Monday 25 April 2022 12:19 , Michael Jones

Ferrari should not have pitted Charles Leclerc in the closing stages of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, says former world champion Nico Rosberg.

The Monegasque driver was hunting down Sergio Perez in second place heading into the final 10 laps of the Italian race, before he caught too much of a curb and spun into the wall.

Fortunately, there was minimal damage to Leclerc’s car but Ferrari still decided to pit him straight away and replace his front wing. Leclerc was then forced to recover several places in the final few laps as he ended up finishing a disappointing sixth.

And Rosberg feels his team made the wrong call by pitting him and insists they should have waited to see whether the damaged front wing could have made it to the end of the race.

Nico Rosberg criticises Ferrari over Charles Leclerc pitstop at Emilia Romagna GP

‘It seems easy on TV’ says Verstappen

Monday 25 April 2022 12:10 , Michael Jones

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen completed a perfect weekend claiming maximum points from the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. The result on Sunday seemed like a foregone conclusion after Verstappen stormed into an early lead and stayed at the front for the entire race but the reigning champion said his win was anything but.

“Melbourne wasn’t great for us and the start of the season in general wasn’t amazing so we needed a good weekend. I didn’t expect it to be like this but when you have a weekend at the end like this, that’s incredible: a one-two for the team but also maximum points scored.

“Also the way we handled the race, we didn’t really make any mistakes and I think we made the right calls switching from the inters to the slicks, and from then onwards we just controlled the race. It of course seemed probably easy on the TV, but you have to be focused.”

Asked about the biggest obstacle he faced on the way to victory at Imola he replied: “Passing backmarkers. Some of them, they stayed of course on the dry line and I had to pass them on the wet patches. That wasn’t amazing, but it is what it is. You just have to deal with it but again, then it’s easy to just go off the track.

“Of course we saw that yesterday in Sprint qualifying that we had good pace in the car and we could look after our tyres quite nicely. A very positive weekend.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Constructor Championship standings

Monday 25 April 2022 12:00 , Michael Jones

Things are getting closer in the team standings as well. Red Bull’s one-two finish at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix pushed them up the leaderboard but Ferrari are still out on front.

Despite their problems this season Mercedes cling onto third place thanks mainly to George Russell’s ability to grind out points through high finishes and McLaren are up to fourth with one eye on catching Mercedes.

Driver’s Championship standings

Monday 25 April 2022 11:52 , Michael Jones

Imola saw a few changes in the Driver’s Championship table. Charles Leclerc still leads the way but his lead has been cut to 27 points.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez both jumped ahead of Mercedes’ George Russell and Lewis Hamilton slipped beneath both Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) and Lando Norris (McLaren).

Budget cap issue caused by ‘unpredictable’ inflation

Monday 25 April 2022 11:45 , Michael Jones

The issue over whether to increase the budget cap for the 2022 Formula 1 season is dividing the teams with F1 managing director Ross Brawn saying that it needs to be addressed.

The annual cap on what teams can spend fell from $145m in 2021 to $140m for 2022 and the rising costs of equipment that fall under the cap have made it harder than anticipated for the bigger teams to stay under it without compromising car development.

McLaren has been supportive of the cap, but team principal Andreas Seidl acknowledged that given the inflation rate the issue has to be addressed.

He told Autosport: “Despite being clearly a team that is very keen to make sure that we protect the budget cap, I think in special circumstances like we have at the moment, you need to be open for common sense dialogue, and make required adjustments.

“And that’s where we stand in this specific discussion at the moment. Especially when unexpected things happen when the season is already ongoing. I think it’s more than just common sense that you you need to find a solution, how to deal with that.”

Alfa Romeo boss Fred Vasseur disagrees and is adamant that any changes on how inflation is dealt with should have to wait for 2023.

“You can’t change the regulations every single weekend because one team wants to spend more on development,” he explained “Or because they are overweight, or because that they want to have an extra allowance for this.

“There is a rule, the most important thing is to stick to the rule. If the concept of inflation and the calculation of the inflation is not the best one, we can think about it for the future. Why not?

“But we have something in place, and everybody agreed when we signed the deal. Now we have to follow the rules.”

Brawn thinking up solution for F1 budget cap squeeze

Monday 25 April 2022 11:37 , Michael Jones

F1 managing director Ross Brawn says that solutions are being looked at to the squeeze on the budget cap caused by inflation for this year’s championship.

The annual cap on what teams can spend fell from $145m in 2021 to $140m for this season and the rising costs of equipment that fall under the cap have made it harder than anticipated for the bigger teams to stay under it without compromising car development.

There has been lobbying from several teams for an increase in the cap or some type of adjustment although other teams have indicated that they are happy for it not to change within this season.

Brawn acknowledged the issue would have to be addressed, and it will be among the subjects discussed at Tuesday’s meeting of the F1 Commission in London.

“I think the inflationary increase needs to be reviewed,” he said. “Because when these rules were developed, inflation was relatively low and predictable, and now it’s high and unpredictable.

“And if you look at the inflation rates that apply to industrial enterprises, like an F1 team, you’ve got power, you’ve got raw materials, you got all the things which are proving to be quite expensive at the moment. So I think there’s a solution coming on that.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Toto Wolff apologises to Lewis Hamilton for ‘undrivable’ Mercedes car in ‘terrible’ Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Monday 25 April 2022 11:30 , Michael Jones

Toto Wolff has apologised to Lewis Hamilton for what the Mercedes team principal described as an “undrivable” car during the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Hamilton was again left frustrated by the performance of his vehicle, struggling to fight his way up through the field and unable to get by Pierre Gasly, who held the seven-time world champion at bay for much of the race at Imola.

George Russell was able to overcome Mercedes’ ongoing problems and continue his run of top-five finishes, holding off Valtteri Bottas, the man he replaced at the team, to secure fourth.

For Hamilton, though, a finish outside of the points in 13th capped a weekend of poor showings in qualifying, Saturday’s sprint race and finally on feature race day in northern Italy.

In the immediate aftermath of the result, Wolff said the car must be blamed for the performance.

Toto Wolff apologises to Lewis Hamilton for ‘undrivable’ Mercedes car

Lewis Hamilton admits ‘no question’ he is ‘out of F1 championship’ after Imola

Monday 25 April 2022 11:23 , Michael Jones

Lewis Hamilton issued an apology to Mercedes following one of the worst races of his 16-season career.

The seven-time world champion finished 13th at Sunday’s wet-dry Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in Imola, a lap behind winner Max Verstappen, and nine places adrift of his team-mate George Russell.

Sergio Perez was second as Red Bull secured their first one-two finish in six years, while Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc came home sixth after he spun from third with just nine laps to run. Leclerc’s error allowed Lando Norris to snatch the final spot on the podium.

Lewis Hamilton admits ‘no question’ he is ‘out of F1 championship’

Mercedes concede possibility W13 concept ‘simply doesn’t work’

Monday 25 April 2022 11:15 , Michael Jones

Mercedes continued their Formula One struggles at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix over the weekend, leaving team boss Toto Wolff admitting there’s a possibility that the new car built for the 2022 season “simply doesn’t work”.

New regulations for this campaign saw each F1 team design and refine new vehicles, but while some - like Ferrari’s F1-75 - have enabled the team to take enormous leaps in competitiveness, Mercedes have fallen short.

Their W13 model has been beset by porpoising issues, even before reaching top speeds and on both straights and corners, with the unconventional ‘zero-pods’ design behind most of their troubles in the eyes of some experts. Those were prevalent again on Sunday, where Lewis Hamilton finished 13th and George Russell performed well to claim fourth.

Mercedes concede possibility W13 concept ‘simply doesn’t work’

Imola GP one of Red Bull’s ‘best ever results’ says Horner

Monday 25 April 2022 11:08 , Michael Jones

Christian Horner says that Red Bull’s one-two finish at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was one of their ‘best ever results’ and just what the team needed after an under-par performance in the Australian GP last time out.

Max Verstappen had to retire in Melbourne but stormed to victory at Imola and Sergio Perez managed to fight his way up to second place.

“It was just the rebound that we needed after the disappointment of Australia a couple of weeks ago,” Horner said after the race.

“[It was a] phenomenal team performance because we took a bit of a risk coming into the weekend with a couple of small parts we introduced to the car, which is always tricky when you have only got one session.

“But we attacked the weekend from the word go, and both drivers have been unbelievable. Both Max and Checo [Perez] have driven brilliantly this weekend and that one-two finish, all credit to the team.

“Picking ourselves up after the disappointment of Australia, to come back with a result like that here in Imola was one of our best-ever results.”

Horner explains how Red Bull beat Ferrari at Imola

Monday 25 April 2022 11:00 , Michael Jones

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes the team’s ability to get its tyres into a better operating window was the key to beating Ferrari at Imola.

Max Verstappen earned his second victory of the season and finished ahead of teammate Sergio Perez to give Red Bull their first one-two since the Malaysian Grand Prix in 2016.

It was a day to forget for Ferrari as Carlos Sainz crashed out on the first lap before a mistake from Charles Leclerc saw him drop from third place to sixth in the closing stages.

Red Bull scored 58 out of a possible 59 points over the sprint race weekend as it enjoyed an edge over Ferrari for outright pace, which Horner put down to how the RB18 car worked with the tyres.

“As we saw in Melbourne, the tyres, there’s an operating window, and with the setup this weekend, we got it right,” he said.

“We could see that Charles [Leclerc] was struggling a little bit more with the front tyres here than we were, both in yesterday’s race and it was starting to happen in the latter part of today’s race.

“So that just gave us the the upper hand, and I think Max [Verstappen] was able to manage the race perfectly.

“Checo [Sergio Perez] was able to build a gap to Charles and manage that gap. And at no point other than one trip across the grass with Checo did we really come under too much pressure.”

Nico Rosberg believes Toto Wolff ‘annoyed’ with Lewis Hamilton after Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Monday 25 April 2022 10:53 , Michael Jones

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff was annoyed at Lewis Hamilton during the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix weekend, according to former driver Nico Rosberg.

Wolff and Hamilton were seen in a heated discussion on Friday after the seven-time champion only narrowly made it through Q1 before managing just 13th place on the grid in Q2.

He would then go on to finish 14th in the sprint race and 13th in the Emilia Romagna GP on the Sunday, before Wolff dismissed speculation about a rift between him and the seven-time champion.

But Rosberg, who worked with Hamilton and Wolff for several years at Mercedes, feels there is more to it than the Austrian let on.

Nico Rosberg believes Toto Wolff ‘annoyed’ with Lewis Hamilton after Imola

F1 race calendar 2022: Full list of dates for every grand prix in biggest season ever

Monday 25 April 2022 10:45 , Michael Jones

Formula 1 is in the midst of the biggest season in its 72-year history over 2022 with 23 races planned at top class racing venues around the world.

The series has been on an expansion drive ever since owners Liberty Media purchased it from Bernie Ecclestone back in 2017, with focus placed on key financial territories including the Middle East and North America.

All but one of the tracks scheduled to host a grand prix in 2022 have done so far before. This season brings a brand new race in the United States onto the calendar in May, as the Miami International Autodrome makes its debut as the second US event alongside the Circuit of the Americas in Texas. The Florida venue will see drivers navigate 19 corners around the Hard Rock Stadium, home of NFL team Miami Dolphins.

Plenty of the circuits the drivers will compete around this year are making a return for the first time since 2019, owing to Covid-19 interruptions preventing them from hosting their regularly scheduled events. The likes of Suzuka in Japan, Marina Bay in Singapore and the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Canada are favourites among fans and will be welcomed back with open arms after dropping off the calendar in 2020 and 2021, while the Albert Park circuit in Australia has been revamped during its absence in an effort to provide more exciting racing.

F1 race calendar 2022: Full list of dates for every grand prix in biggest season ever

Imola done, next up Miami

Monday 25 April 2022 10:37 , Michael Jones

The Formula 1 roadshow continues after a great weekend at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. Max Verstappen closed the gap on Charles Leclerc in the driver’s championship and Red Bull secured their first one-two finish since 2016.

Next up on the calender is Miami. This is an all-new track as the Miami International Autodrome makes its debut as the second US event alongside the Circuit of the Americas in Texas.

The Florida venue will see drivers navigate 19 corners around the Hard Rock Stadium, home of NFL team Miami Dolphins.

‘No regrets’ about Leclerc’s crash says Binotto

Monday 25 April 2022 10:30 , Michael Jones

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto says he does not regret the decision to swap out Charles Leclerc’s tyres and take the attack to Sergio Perez in the hopes of gaining more points in the world championship battle.

After moving onto slicks Leclerc closed the gap on second placed Perez but spun off the track and fell down to ninth recovering for a P6 finish at Imola.

While the lost points could prove costly Binotto said he did not rue the decision to get Leclerc to attack.

“I think there will never be regret to ask a driver to push,” he said. “I think that is part of our job, and it’s part of their job trying to drive to the limit. Mistakes can happen.

“I think with this year’s cars, obviously, the cars on the kerbs are a lot more stiffer and somehow, if you make a small mistake, you’re paying for it quite a lot. So no regrets. I think we made the right choice and that is it.”

Binotto was clear that the decision to go for a second stop was an aggressive move to grab an extra place, rather than forced on the team through tyre degradation.

“We were not running out of front tyres,” he said. “At that time of the race, the pace with Sergio Perez was very, very similar or slightly better. But, because we believed that there was no opportunity for us to attack and overtake Perez with those tyres any more, we did the pitstop.

“We hoped that they would have stopped as well, which was the case. So they were both on new tyres. It was like resetting the race, 15 laps to go, and on soft tyres.

“I think it worked somehow pretty well because Charles was very close to Sergio and he tried to attack before he made the mistake.”

Sainz ‘not happy’ with second retirement after collision with Ricciardo

Monday 25 April 2022 10:23 , Michael Jones

Carlos Sainz’s crashed out of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix after just two and a half corners and had to retire for the second consecutive race.

He and Daniel Ricciardo made contact on the opening lap which forced Sainz into the gravel leaving the Spaniard “not happy” about having to retire again.

It was a mistake by Sainz that saw him crash out of last week’s race in Melbourne during in Lap 2 and having earned P4 on the grid in the Sprint, a slow getaway from Sainz saw him duelling with the P6-starting Ricciardo into Tamburello at Imola.

The pair made contact and Sainz spun into the gravel where his Ferrari beached.

“It was a difficult start as you saw,” said Sainz, “but there were still 63 laps left, and even if you lose a position to a McLaren like Lando [Norris] or whatever, it’s still a long race to go, especially in these conditions.

“But unfortunately, I think I left plenty of space for Daniel on the inside but he decided to get on the kerb and understeer into me and that was it for my race. Very unlucky – nothing I could do differently there, but it is what it is.

“It’s tough, I’m not happy, and it’s tough to go through it, especially in a home race like this with all the tifosi, getting the support from them, wanting to do a good race for them. Yes, as I said, the start wasn’t great; we will analyse why but it was still a long race ahead and for some reason, I was the unlucky guy that for someone’s mistake, I had to pay. It’s how it is.”

Max Verstappen takes shot at Mercedes after lapping Lewis Hamilton during Imola win

Monday 25 April 2022 10:15 , Michael Jones

Max Verstappen aimed a dig at Mercedes’ lack of pace after lapping Lewis Hamilton during the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix on Sunday.

The reigning world champion produced a superb performance to claim his second victory of the 2022 season in Italy.

But Hamilton, who ruled himself out of the drivers’ championship after the race, suffered throughout and could only manage 13th place on another torturous day for the seven-time champion.

The Brit’s woes were compounded by Verstappen lapping him, just four months after the pair were battling it out for the title in one of the all-time great rivalries.

And while Verstappen insists he did not take any great pleasure from going past Hamilton, he did take the opportunity to to level a thinly-veiled dig at Mercedes.

Max Verstappen takes shot at Mercedes after lapping Lewis Hamilton during win

‘Amazing race’ sees Norris claim third for McLaren

Monday 25 April 2022 10:07 , Michael Jones

McLaren’s Lando Norris says that Sunday’s grand prix was ‘amazing’ atfer he moved up two places from his P5 grid start to claim his first podium finish of the season.

“Amazing race, amazing weekend to be honest,” said Norris. “To beat one Red Bull and a Ferrari is much more than were expecting. I’m happy. The team deserve it. From where we were in race one to now scoring a podium, they all deserve it, so top job to the team.

“I think today and this weekend, it wasn’t necessarily all about the car; I think a lot of it was the teamwork, the pit stop was amazing and just how we executed the weekend, which is what gave us this result.

“With the start, the strategy, the qualifying, judging the tyres and all of this stuff, the smaller things that you don’t get to see, it’s what got us this podium today, so it’s lovely to see. I guess fourth was still going to be an amazing position, amazing result for us and better than we were expecting coming into the race and into the weekend for sure.”

A podium for Norris

Monday 25 April 2022 09:58 , Michael Jones

Lando Norris capitalised on Charles Leclerc’s mistake in the closing stages of the Emilia Romagna grand prix to claim a place on the podium for McLaren.

Before the race Norris said that McLaren were aiming for P5 and P6 finishes but after teammate Daniel Ricciardo fell down the field following an early collision Norris was the team’s best chance of scoring points.

He spent most of the race in fourth and found it tough to close the gap on the Ferrari and Red Bulls ahead of him but was easily holding off any challenge from Mercedes’ George Russell.

The status quo didn’t look like changing at the top of the field until Leclerc changed to slick tyres and pushed hard against Sergio Perez to try and move up to second. He spun out though allowing Norris to get by and claim third.

Russell sure Hamilton will “come back strong” after terrible weekend at Imola

Monday 25 April 2022 09:52 , Michael Jones

George Russell expects his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton to “come back strong” after a difficult Emilia Romagna Grand Prix where the seven-time champion struggled to finish 13th.

Starting 11th on the grid at Imola, Russell had an exceptional race compared to his teammate and worked his way through the field to finish P4.

Hamilton meanwhile struggled to make progress and finished where he started in 14th after spending most of the race stuck behind Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri before gaining a place due to Esteban Ocon’s with a five-second penalty for an unsafe release in front of Hamilton in the pits.

It was the third race in a row that Russell has finished ahead of Hamilton after taking fifth in Jeddah and third in Australia, but the 24-year-old stressed that he’s “not getting comfortable” with his experienced team-mate.

“I think it’s just how things fall out sometimes in a race weekend,” he said. “I made a very strong start. I don’t know what happened with him [Lewis] at the start, but we are equally struggling, and when the car is so far out of bed, and it’s not in the right window, it doesn’t really feel like a proper racing car to drive.

“And especially we’re struggling with the tyre warm-up. Friday was 13 degrees and it was just a nightmare to drive. I expect him to come back so strong, and the way he’s pushing and motivating the team is inspiring.

“I’m not getting comfortable with this position, because I know what he’s capable of.”

Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes split rumours are ‘a bunch of nonsense’

Monday 25 April 2022 09:45 , Michael Jones

Lewis Hamilton has insisted that he is “100 percent committed” to Mercedes and described rumours that he was considering quitting the team as “a bunch of nonsense”.

The seven-time world champion was again left frustrated by the German outfit’s struggles in the sprint race at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, able to finish only 14th.

Hamilton conceded afterwards that Mercedes were “obviously not fighting for the championship” as the team continues to struggle to match title contenders Red Bull and Ferrari.

The 37-year-old had also appeared to clash with Toto Wolff, team principal for Mercedes, during qualifying on Friday in Imola.

However Hamilton has dismissed talk that he may be contemplating his future, saying that the suggestion that he may not wish to continue as “silly and a bunch of nonsense”.

Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes split rumours are ‘a bunch of nonsense’

‘I was too greedy’: Charles Leclerc explains error that led to costly Imola spin

Monday 25 April 2022 09:31 , Michael Jones

Charles Leclerc has said that he was “too greedy” after a late spin ended his chances of a podium finish at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

The early championship leader had started slowly at Imola, losing second spot to Sergio Perez and struggling to close in on the Mexican and Max Verstappen, who eventually secured a Red Bull one-two at Ferrari’s home circuit.

Leclerc and Ferrari made the decision to pit from third late on to go to a softer tyre in a bid to steal a point for the fastest lap of the afternoon and an outside chance of hunting down Perez.

But pushing hard into a chicane, the Monegasque caught the kerb and lost control of his car, fortunate to avoid a more serious collision with the wall but forced to pit to fix a damaged front wing.

It meant Leclerc dropped down the field, and while he was able to fight up to sixth on fresher tyres, Verstappen and Perez closed the gap at the top of the early world title standings.

‘I was too greedy’: Charles Leclerc explains error that led to costly Imola spin

Charles Leclerc cannot afford mistakes if he wants title, Nico Rosberg warns

Monday 25 April 2022 09:24 , Michael Jones

Nico Rosberg says Charles Leclerc can ill-afford any more mistakes if he wants to beat Max Verstappen to the world championship.

Leclerc fluffed his lines at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix when he ran over the kerbs at the Variante Alta and slid backwards into the barrier as he chased second-placed Sergio Perez.

Leclerc recovered to the pit lane for a new front wing, emerging in ninth before passing Kevin Magnussen, Sebastian Vettel and Yuki Tsunoda to finish in sixth place.

Charles Leclerc cannot afford mistakes if he wants title, Nico Rosberg warns

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Top Ten

Monday 25 April 2022 09:15 , Michael Jones

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen moved up to second in the driver’s championship after claiming the maximum available points on offer at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Verstappen started the weekend brilliantly by topping qualifying on Friday to take pole position for Saturday’s sprint race. He then overtook Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in the penultimate lap of the sprint to earn victory and take the eight available points before cruising to his second GP win of the season on Sunday.

Here’s how the grand prix finished yesterday:

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

Max Verstappen wins Emilia Romagna Grand Prix after late Charles Leclerc error

Monday 25 April 2022 09:09 , Michael Jones

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 as he lost control of his car through the chicane and hit the wall.

The mistake saw Leclerc drop to ninth and although he was able to recover to salvage sixth place, 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.

Max Verstappen wins Emilia Romagna Grand Prix after late Charles Leclerc error

Toto Wolff apologises to Lewis Hamilton for ‘undrivable’ Mercedes car in ‘terrible’ Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Monday 25 April 2022 08:45 , Jack Rathborn

Toto Wolff has apologised to Lewis Hamilton for what the Mercedes team principal described as an “undrivable” car during the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Hamilton was again left frustrated by the performance of his vehicle, struggling to fight his way up through the field and unable to get by Pierre Gasly, who held the seven-time world champion at bay for much of the race at Imola.

George Russell was able to overcome Mercedes’ ongoing problems and continue his run of top-five finishes, holding off Valtteri Bottas, the man he replaced at the team, to secure fourth.

For Hamilton, though, a finish outside of the points in 13th capped a weekend of poor showings in qualifying, Saturday’s sprint race and finally on feature race day in northern Italy.

Toto Wolff apologises to Lewis Hamilton for ‘undrivable’ Mercedes car

Lewis Hamilton admits ‘no question’ he is ‘out of F1 championship’ after Imola

Monday 25 April 2022 08:39 , Michael Jones

Lewis Hamilton issued an apology to Mercedes following one of the worst races of his 16-season career.

The seven-time world champion finished 13th at Sunday’s wet-dry Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in Imola, a lap behind winner Max Verstappen, and nine places adrift of his team-mate George Russell.

Sergio Perez was second as Red Bull secured their first one-two finish in six years, while Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc came home sixth after he spun from third with just nine laps to run. Leclerc’s error allowed Lando Norris to snatch the final spot on the podium.

Lewis Hamilton admits ‘no question’ he is ‘out of F1 championship’

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix winner Max Verstappen reacts

Sunday 24 April 2022 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

Sunday 24 April 2022 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

Sunday 24 April 2022 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

Sunday 24 April 2022 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

Sunday 24 April 2022 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

Sunday 24 April 2022 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

Sunday 24 April 2022 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...

Sunday 24 April 2022 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

Sunday 24 April 2022 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

Sunday 24 April 2022 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

Sunday 24 April 2022 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

Sunday 24 April 2022 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

Sunday 24 April 2022 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!

Sunday 24 April 2022 15:35 , Harry Latham-Coyle

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

Final lap!

Sunday 24 April 2022 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

Sunday 24 April 2022 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

Sunday 24 April 2022 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

Sunday 24 April 2022 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

Sunday 24 April 2022 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

Sunday 24 April 2022 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

Sunday 24 April 2022 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

Sunday 24 April 2022 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

Sunday 24 April 2022 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

Sunday 24 April 2022 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

Sunday 24 April 2022 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

Sunday 24 April 2022 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

Sunday 24 April 2022 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

Sunday 24 April 2022 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

Sunday 24 April 2022 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

Sunday 24 April 2022 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

Sunday 24 April 2022 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

Sunday 24 April 2022 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

Sunday 24 April 2022 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

Sunday 24 April 2022 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

Sunday 24 April 2022 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

Sunday 24 April 2022 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

Sunday 24 April 2022 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

Sunday 24 April 2022 14:56 , Harry Latham-Coyle

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

Lap 32/63

Sunday 24 April 2022 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

Sunday 24 April 2022 14:51 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Still no DRS, which feels a great shame.

Lap 29/63

Sunday 24 April 2022 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.

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