What the teams said – Race day in Emilia Romagna
Verstappen made a much better start today, as Perez also got off the line brilliantly. Those two were running line astern at the front, with Verstappen never troubled as he maximised his weekend with P1 in the Sprint, P1 in the race and the bonus point for fastest lap. Perez had a harder afternoon, with Leclerc on his tail for most of the race. But the Mexican was able to extract pace from his car when needed, which allied to great tyre management saw him grab another podium.
READ MORE: ‘It seemed easy on the TV’ says Verstappen after dominant Imola showing
Max Verstappen, 1st
“To have a weekend like this for both of us with a one-two for the Team is just incredible. It was a very lovely Sunday! Everything today was well executed, coming into the weekend I didn’t expect it to be like this. It was more or less a perfect weekend, everything went well for us and we’ll of course enjoy today. I scored the maximum amount of points this weekend and we can be really proud of that as a Team, it’s a great boost. Today was all about judging the conditions, making the right calls and staying very focused and I think we did that very well. We need to keep focused and we know that at the next race we need to be up there again and keep this going.”
Sergio Perez, 2nd
“It was a tough race but an enjoyable one. Rule number one in these conditions is to finish. It was difficult because in these conditions it is easy to make a mistake and put a foot wrong but we managed a clean race and kept out of trouble, which was pretty important. I got a great start and the restart was good too, then I think the Team did a great job with strategy out there. On the intermediates I was really thinking to save the tyres but the degradation was high and Charles was really fast towards the end of that stint so I was happy to just keep him behind. The race was pretty intense with Charles, he was always within an undercut range and when we thought we had him under control he boxed and made things a lot harder for both of us. We were both pushing with cold tyres and, in fairness to Charles, it was easy to make mistakes. We have had such a difficult start to the season with reliability concerns and DNFs, so it was really important we brought it home today - it is a great result for the Team.”
Christian Horner, Team Principal
“This has to be one of our best ever results, to take the maximum points across the whole weekend, bar one, was incredible. Both Max and Checo have driven brilliantly to secure our first one-two finish since Malaysia in 2016. I’m very proud of the entire team, from everyone at the track and those back in the factory at Milton Keynes, they delivered a phenomenal performance, it’s just what we needed to rebound from Australia. It’s a long season and we’ll take a lot of confidence from this result and try to build on it in Miami in a couple of weeks’ time.”
Norris started exceptionally well, picking off Leclerc and running third before the Ferrari recovered. From there, fourth looked assured as he had a relatively lonely race, before he inherited a late podium when the Ferrari man made a mistake. As for Ricciardo, contact with Sainz at the start and the resultant trip through the gravel dropped him to the back of the field. With nothing to lose he was the first to swap to the slicks but couldn’t make any headway today.
READ MORE: Norris hails ‘amazing’ McLaren performance after consecutive Imola podiums
Lando Norris, 3rd
"P3, what a result! We certainly didn’t expect that coming into this weekend, so I’m happy to be leaving with a podium. It’s been a tricky weekend, but the team recovered well to put me in a good position for today’s race. I had a good start and was managing my tyres to the end. At that point we were on for a P4, which would still have been a great result. We got a bit lucky with the issues ahead, but we did what we needed to do to be in a position to take that opportunity. Great work by the team at track and back at the factory, great pit stops and a great result. On to Miami!”
Daniel Ricciardo, 18th
“It was a great result for Lando! However, it was one of those Sundays for me unfortunately. At Turn 1, I thought I got hit but it was actually me getting on the kerb. I then slipped off it and went into Carlos [Sainz], before being bumped by Bottas. We had a bit of damage and struggled for the rest of the race. It’s a painful one and it’s never nice to be involved in incidents. There’s not much more to say. Just one of those Sundays. We’ll celebrate Lando’s podium and learn what we can as we head to Miami.”
Andreas Seidl, Team Principal
“P3 for Lando today comes as the result of hard work and a well-managed strategy. He drove a great race today. After a good start, he worked very hard, looked after his tyres, managed the gap to the cars we were racing and put himself in the best position to take advantage of any opportunity that came his way. "Unfortunately Daniel had a first lap collision with Carlos [Sainz] which damaged the car and his race was pretty much over, but he was able to provide useful information to the team to maximise our result.
“The performance we saw this weekend on a different track and in a variety of conditions confirms the potential of the MCL36 that we have been unlocking race by race. That said, we remain realistic about the work we have to do to close the gap to the front of the field. Also our pitcrew again delivered good pitstops.
“My thanks today to the entire team, here at the track and back home at the factory, together with our colleagues at Mercedes HPP. It’s been an intense first Sprint weekend of the 2022 season. We head home now to reset, analyse what we have learnt here and prepare for our first visit to Miami.”
Russell made a brilliant start, jumping up from 11th on the grid to sixth in a move that made his race. He was able to pick off Magnussen to run fifth and gained a place after Leclerc’s spin. But it wasn’t all plain sailing for him, Bottas pushing him really hard in the closing stages and Russell defending hard to hold on. As for Hamilton, he dropped back at the start and had just started to recover when he was called into the pits for slick tyres. He was unlucky to lose time as Ocon was released into his path, and then dropped further back after struggling to warm up the tyres. He wound up tucked up behind Gasly, and despite multiple attempts, just couldn’t make his way past.
READ MORE: Hamilton concedes he’s ‘out of the championship’ fight after tough run to P13 at Imola
Lewis Hamilton, 13th
"This was a weekend to forget, that’s for sure. Behind Gasly, we both had DRS so it was impossible to overtake, and I lost a few places in the pit stop. This weekend, everything that could go wrong did go wrong. We live and we learn, and there’s not much else to say. I’ll keep working as hard as I can to try and pull it back together, somehow. I hope for a better weekend in Miami, it will be difficult but I’ll try and get myself in a positive headspace for the next one."
George Russell, 4th
"I’m relatively pleased to maximise the points available this weekend. Whether we’re getting the most out of the car is a different story and I do think things have fallen slightly in our favour with these first four races. I’m really happy with this P4, but if we want to sustain this position in the championship, we need to find more pace. We’ve got these overall limitations with the car with the bouncing, and we know that we are struggling with the tyre warm up and this is the coldest race weekend we’ve had by far this year. I think it’s been a bit of a trend since Bahrain, we’ve progressively gotten a bit slower in qualifying, and I think that’s because Bahrain is the hottest we’ve experienced so there was no problem with tyre warm up. Then we want to Jeddah, and it was still hot, but the track was a bit smoother. Melbourne, a bit cooler. Here, very cold. And that’s when you see the McLarens, Alpines, and Haases coming into their own but then struggling a bit more in the race. We need to find a better compromise because we were fortunate today, we had a decent result, but ultimately, we were starting far too low on the grid."
Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"What is clear from the entire weekend is that we have work to do to deliver our drivers a quick enough car. We saw with George what our car can do in clear air but it’s still not good enough. We missed out on adjusting George’s front flap at the pit stop due to an issue which meant he had a car that was setup for wet for the majority of the race so a great drive from him to hold on the P4 at the end. For Lewis, it was a simple case of us not giving him the tool he needs. He was squeezed by the Alpine, and undercut at the pitstop, which left him in a DRS train where it was impossible to overtake with our car. We are not producing a car good enough or worthy of a World Champion like Lewis so we need to look at things for Miami, make a step forward in our understanding and bring development to the car to fix our issues."
Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director
"A great drive by George saw us salvage some useful points for fourth place from what has otherwise been a thoroughly disappointing weekend. He made a really good start and managed the transition to dry very well. We had an issue with the front wing adjusters at the pitstop and he ended up driving the dry stint with the wet aero balance. It was an impressive effort to keep Valtteri behind but the understeer prevented him from being able to close down the gap to Lando so he had to settle for fourth. Lewis has had a tough weekend from start to finish through no fault of his own. The start was OK and he’d moved up to eleventh after Daniel and Carlos tangled but we got undercut on the transition by a couple of cars, lost a bit of time with a slow stop and then to Esteban who was released into Lewis’s path as they left the pits. The next 44 laps were very frustrating as he was stuck in a DRS train and it was impossible to get through. We know where we are on performance right now and we know where we need to get to. However, there are a couple of major issues with the car that if we can fix, we can find a lot of that gap quite quickly but time is getting critical now and we need to move forward in the next two races if we are to keep the leaders within any kind of reach this year."
Bottas had a brilliant race, picking off Magnussen and looking strong from the off. A sticky tyre cost him a huge amount of time in the pits, but he didn’t let that get him down and still managed to close the gap to Russell ahead. He ran out of laps to overtake, coming home fractions behind the Mercedes. As for Zhou, starting from the pit lane following yesterday’s crash meant he was always up against it. But the rookie showed good skills to work his way up to P15, the C42 looking nearly as quick in his hands as his team mate’s.
Valtteri Bottas, 5th
“It was a fun race for me today! It’s always good to get points, we had a strong race in a car that felt really good. I am happy with how everything went, even though we lost a bit of time in the pit-stop, but we bring home ten points today so we’ll take it. I had a bit of a scare at the beginning of the race, when I couldn’t avoid Ricciardo when he tangled with Sainz, but luckily we didn’t have any damage. The car had good pace, especially once we went on the mediums, and only at the very end, when I caught George [Russell] I had some graining on my rear right that cost me performance. The team is working really well, there’s a good atmosphere and it’s nice to see the upgrades we brought to the track worked. There’s still a lot of work to do and many races ahead of us, so we can still improve and have some fun weekends.”
Zhou Guanyu, 15th
“Not the result I wanted today, but there are still a lot of positives from me to take out of this weekend: not just the performance I showed over the three days, but also how I got up to speed quickly in my first Sprint race. The weekend started better than expected and I had a good qualifying, but yesterday really compromised our final result. It was always going to be hard to make it into the top ten from the pit lane, especially as today it was quite difficult to pass, and once I got past the Williams, the gap to the cars ahead was too big. The rest of my race was quite uneventful, but I can still look at the things I learned in difficult conditions and make sure I get back stronger in the next races.”
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal
“It has been a strong weekend from the team and to bring home 12 points between yesterday and today is a deserved reward. We delivered upgrades that worked well, a brilliant job by the team at home, and the crew were incredible both on Friday and Saturday night, with two rebuild jobs they undertook with strong spirit. Our race today was positive: Valtteri had really good pace and was able to fight for P4 until the final lap; Zhou always had a difficult job on his hands after yesterday’s crash, but did well to recover from a pitlane start to finish 15th with some good overtakes on the way. There are so many positives we can take away from this weekend, not just in terms of the result but also in the way we went about our business, and we can definitely aspire to do even better in the next few races.”
Sainz had a poor start, and found himself side by side with Ricciardo. The McLaren was initially ahead, but Sainz tried to make a move stick around the outside. He can count himself unlucky as the McLaren ran wide in the slippery conditions, tipping the Ferrari into a spin and beaching Sainz in the gravel in a racing incident. That left Leclerc flying the flag again, but he lost out to Perez at the start. Pushing the Red Bull all the way, the Monegasque took too much kerb late on as he tried to stick in Perez’s DRS zone, spinning into the barriers. An extra stop for a new front wing dropped him to ninth, and he did well to recover a few places on a very tricky day.
READ MORE: ‘I paid for Ricciardo’s mistake’ says Sainz, after ending second straight race in gravel trap
Charles Leclerc, 6th
"It was a very tricky race. Third was the best result we could have secured today, as our competitors were very strong. I struggled on the Soft tyres but when I saw an opportunity to overtake Perez for second, I went for it, pushing a bit too much, when I should have stayed put to secure those points. We will analyse all the data and come back stronger."
Carlos Sainz, DNF
"This was an unlucky day. I braked well into turn 1, leaving enough space to my left, but unfortunately Daniel (Ricciardo) lost control of his car a bit and hit me from behind, throwing me into a spin and into the gravel. It’s a big shame because we were up for a good race, but there is nothing else I could have done differently at that point to avoid it.
"It’s tough to take, as today I wanted to have a good race in front of our fans. For the last two races things haven’t gone our way at all, but I’m still confident we can turn it around. There are many races ahead of us and you can be sure we will keep pushing. On to Miami."
Mattia Binotto, Team Principal
"Of course we are disappointed as we wanted a better result than this in front of all our fans. It was a difficult race. Our drivers did not get perfect starts, possibly being on the worse side of the track. Charles’ first pit stop was not the best either, which meant he was back out on track without the gap that might have allowed him to fend off Perez and then he made a mistake trying to overtake him.
"Carlos was very unlucky at the start and for the second time in a row, he was unable to finish the race. It’s a real shame, not just because of the points lost, but also because he’s completed very few kilometres in the last few Grands Prix. Nevertheless, we will not lose heart and we will continue to work calmly. We wanted to give the fans something to cheer about, as they packed out the grandstands and the fields with a sea of red to support us here at Imola.
"Naturally, we are disappointed not to have managed that, but there will be other races and opportunities to put a smile on their faces.
"Now we look forward to Miami and a new track, which makes it an even more compelling prospect. We will continue to work hard to extract all the potential out of the F1-75 and to optimise the updates that we will be introducing in the coming races."
Tsunoda bagged himself a couple of places at the start and looked to have pace to burn in both the wet and the dry today. He was the stopper in the bottle at the head of a long queue for much of the race, but managed to shake Stroll and make his way forwards, picking off Magnussen and Vettel on his way to seventh. As for Gasly, he was stuck in that train behind his team mate and couldn’t make progress – although he did excel in defence, keeping a seven-time world champion at bay for most of the race.
Pierre Gasly, 12th
“It was a frustrating race, we were all stuck in a DRS train and with the top speed we had we weren’t able to do much. We’ve had really great performances in Quali up until this weekend, where sadly we didn’t perform well, which meant we were on the back foot from Friday. We need to go away and work out how to get back to a stronger Qualifying performance for the next race. I’m really excited for Miami, the track looks really good and I’m looking forward to race there.”
Yuki Tsunoda, 7th
“I’m super happy with today, especially to score points at our home track. There are a lot of people from the factory watching here in the grandstands today, every lap I could see the AlphaTauri flags being waved and it gave me a great boost, so it feels like a big thank you to everyone that works so hard in the team. The pace of the car has been really good today, I didn’t expect it to be quite that strong heading into the race, but we’ve made progress through the week and I’m pleased with the performance we showed this afternoon.”
Franz Tost, Team Principal
“It was a very exciting race today. I would like to congratulate Oracle Red Bull Racing for their well-deserved one-two. Max and Checo controlled the pace for the entire race, they did a really fantastic job. As for us, we also had a successful race. Yuki started in 12th position and after the first lap was already up to 10th. He drove a really strong race, overtaking many cars, to finish in seventh place. Yuki has been competitive immediately, from Friday onwards, so I think he now has a good basis for the upcoming races. Pierre on the other hand struggled a little bit this weekend and, in the race, he was unable to pass the cars ahead of him, to finish the race in 12th. We now have to analyse everything and find out what we can do to improve our performance for Miami. I think the new upgrades we introduced here this weekend worked well, and we now need to fine tune the car to have both drivers steadily in the points.
"Being our home race, many employees of Scuderia AlphaTauri were able to enjoy the race from the grandstands today, so it was great for them to be able to enjoy Yuki’s exciting performance here in Imola. I want to say a big thank you to everyone in the team, both in Faenza and Bicester, who has contributed to today’s success.”
Aston Martin had looked much stronger in the wet than the dry, and starting on the inters, both drivers got off the line well to make up places. That pretty much made their race, with both having to fight for positions all the way through. Vettel lost out to Leclerc late on but came home eighth with Stroll grabbing the last point to open up their championship campaign at last.
FACTS AND STATS: A grand slam first, and Red Bull's maiden double score at Imola
Sebastian Vettel, 8th
“The team did really well today and we maximised everything to finish P8. It is an important result for the team because they have worked so hard in a challenging season so far. It is clear that we benefitted from the cooler and damp conditions on Friday and Sunday, but we still needed to capitalise on the opportunities that came our way. We also achieved that through good strategy, making our pit-stop for dry tyres at the right moment. We may not have had the pure pace in this race, but we managed the tyres well and we got both cars into the points. It is nice to get off the mark and get points in the bag and now we are looking forward to Miami.”
Lance Stroll, 10th
“It has been a positive weekend for the team and it is great to see both cars in the points. It was a well-earned point for us today because there was intense pressure throughout the race, not to mention the changeable weather conditions. At the beginning of the race, we performed strongly. Everyone was battling overheating tyres and a drying track, but we kept [Lewis] Hamilton behind and pressured [Yuki] Tsunoda ahead. Once we switched to the Medium tyre, we continued to show good pace and pulled away from the train of cars behind us. I am happy that we performed better this weekend and made the most of the opportunities that came our way. Qualifying and the race were in cooler and wet conditions, which may have suited us. We will enjoy today but will continue to keep pushing for more in the coming races.”
Mike Krack, Team Principal
“Both Sebastian and Lance drove faultlessly in today’s tricky wet-to-dry race. In wet conditions, Sebastian vaulted into ninth on lap one, then comfortably raced inside the top 10 for the whole race. As the track dried, he was one of the very first drivers to roll the dice and switch from Intermediates to the Medium tyre. The team and he judged that stop perfectly and Sebastian then ran smoothly in P7 until the closing laps, when he dropped to eighth. Equally, Lance didn’t put a foot wrong this afternoon. He too made a strong start, made up positions on the opening lap, and enjoyed a fantastic, spirited tussle with [Yuki] Tsunoda. After his stop, he settled down in 10th place, withstood race-long pressure from a train of cars behind him and scored his first point of the season. This was an eventful and exciting Grand Prix – and only ourselves and Red Bull Racing managed to bring both cars home in the points today. We know we still have a long way to go, but this afternoon’s result is a great boost for the whole team – both here in Imola and back at the factory.”
Not to be for Schumacher – he tangled with Alonso off the line which dropped him to P17. From there his afternoon was made that bit harder, not helped by cutting across the grass late on and spinning as he returned to the track. Luckily Magnussen was back to his efficient best, making up places at the start. The drying track didn’t suit the car, but he still held on to score two more valuable points.
Mick Schumacher, 17th
“Unfortunately, I lost our position right at the beginning and then had to recover from there. It was quite difficult, the Williams was very quick in the straights, so no chance for me there to get by. We were hoping we had more pace. It was quite unfortunate, but we live and we learn, we try to look ahead and do it better next time.”
Kevin Magnussen, 9th
“We scored points again – both yesterday and today – so that’s a good weekend. When we qualified P4, hopes were very high at the beginning, but we’ve got to be realistic as well and getting away with points in both the sprint and the main race, that’s a decent weekend. At the beginning of the race, I was on intermediates and got up to P5 and the pace was pretty good. Then the track dried up and we were a bit late to come in for slicks, so we got undercut by a couple of people. We came out and fought for points – got two today, three points over the weekend – so it was pretty decent.”
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal
“We would have wished to have got a little bit more today but after four races, and three with points, we took something home and I think there is more to come. It wasn’t an ideal race for us with Mick spinning on the first lap, which put him to the back, and with the field like it is now recovering is almost impossible. Kevin was fighting hard, was going well on the inters and then on the dry tyres – we were just not fast enough for the others. We scored three points over the weekend – from the Sprint yesterday and the Grand Prix today, so we need to keep on working and get ourselves in the position to be the at the other end of the midfield, not at the back.”
Albon benefited from pitting for slicks one lap earlier than his team mate, jumping up a huge number of places. But then he was stuck in a train of cars and although he came home 11th, Stroll was relatively far up the road in P10. He did impress in fending off Gasly and Hamilton who both had DRS despite not benefiting from that himself. Latifi had a quieter race, embroiled in a fight with Zhou for much of the afternoon.
Nicholas Latifi, 16th
“It was definitely a very tricky race and I think everyone expected that when we saw the rain coming down ahead of going to the grid. It was very similar conditions to the start of the race here last year so I’m pleased we managed to get to the end of the Grand Prix this year!
“It was important for me to get that experience and continue to build my confidence in the car, as I still feel that it’s not quite where it needs to be yet. I think we made some steps doing that though which is positive, and our pace at the end on the medium tyre was relatively strong.”
Alex Albon, 11th
“I’m really happy with the result today. We maximised the opportunities and overtook some cars on track with the pace we had. We had a new rear wing configuration for the weekend which really helped us hold position, and was particularly important in the second half of the race when battling with Gasly.
“It’s a shame that we missed out on points by one place, but we are taking opportunities, doing things differently and showing that we can battle higher up despite not having the fastest car. I was hoping DRS would be enabled a little earlier; we had six or seven laps where we were faster than the cars ahead and, with our downforce levels, we could have got past straight away if we’d had DRS.
“By the time it was enabled I was wishing it hadn’t been! Overall, another weekend with plenty of positives for the team to take onwards to Miami.”
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance
“Today’s mixed conditions made for some difficult decisions. But we took our opportunities well and can be pleased with the result. Alex drove really well, spending his entire stint on the Medium tyres both in the dirty air from Ocon and with Gasly constantly applying pressure behind.
“It’s a shame we couldn’t get a few more places when we first switched to the Medium tyre as the car was working really well at that point. However, it was a good recovery from a difficult weekend. Nicholas showed some excellent pace on the Medium compound and drove a strong and well controlled race.”
Alonso had contact with Schumacher at the start, which damaged his bodywork. His car held on through the early Safety Car laps but as soon as he was up to speed, a large lump of his sidepod ripped off and the team immediately retired his car. Ocon, starting from near the back, was on the fringes of the points but he was released into Hamilton’s path in the pit lane, the two nearly making contact. He was given a five-second time penalty and that dropped him three places at the flag.
Esteban Ocon, 14th
“It was a frustrating race for us in the end where we’ve not scored any points. For me, it’s been a tricky one since the beginning and the Qualifying result compromised the rest of my weekend so if you think about it, where we ended up today before the penalty is not too bad. We lacked a bit of race pace and in the end we were not quick enough to get into the points even without the five second penalty. It’s a really tight pit-lane but we’ll be looking at exactly what happened in the debrief tonight to see if it could’ve been avoided. We’ll learn and move on from this one, and I’m already looking forward to Miami.”
Fernando Alonso, DNF
“It was another unfortunate race for us this season. We made a decent start and moved up to eighth but there was a lot of damage on the right side of my floor and on the sidepod, so we had no choice but to retire. It’s unlucky as a small brush with Mick [Schumacher], which wasn’t intentional, destroyed our car and race. After Australia I feel that I could have scored 20 or 30 points in the championship, and I have only two. It’s unlucky! It’s a long season and there are plenty of points still to score.”
Laurent Rossi, CEO Alpine
“Plain and simple, this weekend was a disappointing one for the team and it’s the first race of the season where we leave without scoring points. We must make sure this does not happen again this year as we have much stronger potential than that. As a team there are many areas we must improve, and we must also eradicate errors quickly if we are to achieve our ambitious goals. While we feel frustrated by today’s result, we will count on it as additional motivation to not have this feeling again during the year. I’m confident in the team to keep working hard and we absolutely must bounce back next time in Miami.”
Mario Isola, Motorsport Director
"At the start of the race the intermediates worked well over a reasonably long stint, as was expected. I was a little bit surprised though that everyone chose the medium rather than the soft once the track had dried, in the cool and still damp conditions, but they were obviously thinking about going all the way to the end; and that’s exactly what many of the drivers did. Ferrari came up with an interesting strategy, which was then copied by Red Bull, to go for the fastest lap with the soft tyre at the end. The medium showed impressive adaptability over long runs, because the rain on Friday meant that the teams just had an hour on Saturday morning to understand it, with a maximum run of only around 20 laps possible. Despite that limited information, we saw long runs of 40 laps with no issues. Well done to Red Bull, but also to the fantastic home crowd here at Imola, which always shows such passionate support."
HIGHLIGHTS: Relive the action from the race in Imola, as Verstappen dominates to lead Red Bull 1-2