6 Winners and 5 Losers for the 2022 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix: Who made the best of the mixed conditions?
The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was hit by rain for the second successive year, with Max Verstappen mastering the conditions while others floundered. We’ve picked out six winners and five losers from Imola.
Winner: Max Verstappen
This weekend could not have gone any better for Max Verstappen, the Red Bull driver taking pole in qualifying, winning the first F1 Sprint of the season before converting P1 in the Grand Prix into his second victory of the campaign – with the fastest lap to boot.
That big haul of points has breathed new life into the reigning world champion’s title challenge. He’s now just 27 points adrift of Charles Leclerc and heads to Miami with the momentum after a commanding performance.
Loser: Charles Leclerc
The highs of leading the F1 Sprint until the last few laps must feel like a long time ago for Charles Leclerc, who suffered a poor start in the main Grand Prix to drop from second to fourth.
Though he recovered to third, a rare error at the chicane late on pitched him into the barriers. He made it back to the pits to take a new front wing, but that dropped him to ninth. He clawed back three places but sixth was at least three places lower than his car was capable of.
Winner: Lando Norris
There’s just something about Imola that seems to deliver huge results for Lando Norris, the McLaren driver producing a stellar performance in tricky conditions to follow up his podium at last year’s event with his first of this season.
He has now finished on the rostrum in the last three races held on Italian soil (he finished second at Monza) and moves above countryman Lewis Hamilton into sixth in the drivers’ championship.
Loser: Carlos Sainz
Carlos Sainz recovered well from a mistake in qualifying to line up fourth for the Grand Prix after a fine performance in the F1 Sprint, but his participation on Sunday lasted less than a minute after he was pitched into the gravel by Daniel Ricciardo.
The Spaniard couldn’t escape, forcing his second successive retirement. It means he has managed just one full race lap in the last two events and now trails Ferrari team mate Leclerc by 48 points in the championship.
Winner: Kevin Magnussen
Kevin Magnussen’s fine return to Formula 1 continued as he added two points in Sunday’s Grand Prix to the one he earned the day before in the F1 Sprint.
It capped a fine weekend that had seen him secure fourth in qualifying – Haas’s best ever qualifying performance – and means he has now scored in three of the first four races to sit 10th in the drivers’ standings.
Loser: Lewis Hamilton
This was a chastening weekend for Lewis Hamilton, the Briton finishing a lowly 13th for his first non-points score of the season.
It’s his worst race result since he finished 18th in Azerbaijan last year, when he ran down an escape road at the final restart with two laps remaining while challenging for the lead.
Winner: Valtteri Bottas
Valtteri Bottas’ dream start to life at Alfa Romeo continued in Imola, the Finn securing a season-best fifth with a fine performance that saw him heaping the pressure on George Russell in the closing stages.
That puts him eighth in the drivers’ standings while Alfa Romeo leap up into fifth in the constructors’ championship following what was their best result since the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix.
Losers: The tifosi
Ferrari’s loyal fanbase came out in force at Imola on Sunday, the venue securing a 64,000 sell-out – but they were not rewarded with a victory – or even a podium.
While Ferrari, who had their chairman John Elkann in town on Sunday, retain the lead in the constructors’ championship, they are now just 11 points ahead of Red Bull.
Winners: Aston Martin
Aston Martin finally got on the board in 2022 – and they did so with both cars as Sebastian Vettel switched to slicks at the right time and ultimately finished eighth.
His team mate Lance Stroll defended well to secure 10th, maintaining his record of finishing in every race this season (and never lower than 13th).
Alpine’s points-scoring run in 2022 came to an end in Imola, with Fernando Alonso retiring early doors after damage from contact with Mick Schumacher.
Esteban Ocon was 11th but dropped to 14th after a five-second time penalty for an unsafe release, ending his seven-race points scoring streak. As a result, Alpine drop to sixth in the constructors’ standings.
Winner: George Russell
George Russell is one of only two drivers to have scored in every Grand Prix so far this year – championship leader Leclerc is the other – with the Mercedes racer delivering a faultless display in Imola.
The Briton comfortably outperformed the W13’s capability in Italy, holding off stern pressure from Bottas – the driver whom he replaced at the Silver Arrows – to finish P4 for his fourth successive top-five finish.