Red Bull Racing’s Christian Horner has hailed his team’s performance at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix as among their best ever. As best he could: It was Red Bull’s first one-two placement since Malaysia 2016 – Max Verstappen’s first season with the team about 111 races ago.
At Imola, the Dutchman took pole position, the victory in the sprint race on Saturday, the victory on Sunday and the fastest lap to start. The move was at 58 points. Verstappen and teammate Sergio Perez move to second and third place in the leader position, with Charles Leclerc’s lead reduced to 27.
“It was just the rebound we needed after Australia’s disappointment,” Horner said.
‘We attacked the weekend right from the start. [It] was one of our best results ever. ‘
That made Ferrari spoil. The jumping horse was not quite up to RB18, much to Tifosi’s misery. With two wins from the first three rounds, the fans thought the time was right. It would have been Ferrari’s first victory on the circuit named after founder Enzo and his beloved son, Dino, since 2006. But it should not.
Leclerc drove carefully around other cars, without attacking Verstappen. A late foul across a sausage edge as he chased down caused Perez to try a new wing and fall off the herd. He could have been number two or at least third. Instead, he finished sixth.
Carlos Sainz Jr. had a nightmare for a weekend. The Spaniard arrived full of prayers after signing on a two-year extension with Ferrari. But a mistake in Q3 caused him to trash his car. He struggled up to fourth place in the sprint but was taken out at the start of the GP by Daniel Ricciardo, the McLaren driver admitted mistakes and visited Scuderia’s motorhome afterwards to apologize. Either way, it will have been an uncomfortable journey out of the gates of the circuit for the scarlet couple Sunday night.
But the most down-to-earth driver was Lewis Hamilton, who never finished any of the competition sessions higher than 13th place. Toto Wolff apologized for not delivering the car his talent deserves, but still teammate George Russell finished fourth – so there was some speed in the Mercedes.
We’ve never seen Lewis like this. He looked crushed in interviews afterwards and barely summoned energy to speak. And in the Mercedes garage, he was seen having a brief exchange with Wolff. Most shockingly, he has said that his hopes of championship are over. About the title race, he said: ‘I’m definitely out of it. There is no doubt about that. ” We’re only in four races and he’s thrown the towel in the ring? What about his normal never giving up?
True, this is probably the worst car in Hamilton’s career, but 2009’s McLaren was not good to start with either. He scored barely any points in the first half of that season, but returned in the second half of the year to score two wins, three poles and three other podiums.
W13 has some fundamental problems that cause this terrible guinea pig, yet Russell was able to bypass these problems – even though the 24-year-old has said that the mare is starting to give him back and chest pain and is ‘unbearable’. Not good.
Hamilton is super fit, but as a 37-year-old he probably suffers even more from the physical influences. Red Bull adviser Helmut Marko, who has never been particularly generous with his respect for the sport’s most successful driver, has said he may think Lewis wishes he had retired in December. “I mean he was patched by us,” remarked the Austrian former racing driver (best F1 result: eighth in Monaco ’72). “Maybe he thinks he should have stopped last year.”
Russell, however, has counted the senior driver up. ‘I do not feel comfortable in this position because I know what he is capable of. I expect him to come back so strong. ‘ Toto says the problem is entirely up to the car: ‘[Lewis] is the best driver in the world and he just does not have the machine and equipment under him to be able to perform. ‘
Could Hamilton be tempted to claim a record eighth title with another team? “There’s nowhere else I want to be,” he says. “Just because we’ve hit a hard point, it’s not in my DNA to back out.”
MORE: Ferrari does not regret the decision that cost Charles Leclerc important points at the F1 Imola Grand Prix
MORE: Max Verstappen passes ruthless verdict on Lewis Hamilton after rounding out rival in F1 Imola Grand Prix
For more stories like this, check out our sports page.
Follow Metro Sport for the latest news on
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.