The second Emilia Romagna Grand Prix produced a truly remarkable and thrilling race with Max Verstappen beating his arch rival reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton. The Imola round also saw Lando Norris take his second F1 podium and Ferrari make a brilliant comeback after their miserable 2020 season.
Max Verstappen, 1st
"I am of course very happy with this win for everyone in the Team and Honda. I think the key was of course the start as we had a great launch. I surprised myself as it was always hard to get off the line in the wet last year but we worked hard to try and improve that and it worked. The conditions were challenging out there, especially in the beginning and it was very hard to stay on track but we stayed out of trouble.
"I wouldn’t call it a dominant performance as Lewis was following me quite well and for him to come back to second after his incident means they have a lot of pace in that car. We won because we made the right calls with tyres at the right time and the Team managed everything well in these conditions. With the tyres degrading, choosing the right moment to go onto slicks wasn’t easy but we got it right.
"I had a little moment at the restart trying to warm up the tyres with some throttle but luckily we didn’t spin. We still have to work hard to improve because it’s very close, but for now I’m very happy with the result. I’m looking forward to Portimão because it’s an amazing track and then we go to a track we all know well in Barcelona. We’ll see what we can do but so far, it’s been a good start to the year."Sergio Perez, 11th
"The conditions out there were really difficult today and I made quite a few mistakes that were very costly. I struggled to retain any temperature in the tyres, so I lost it under the safety car and I got a 10-second penalty. It is of course important that I get used to the car and that I learn these lessons, but I messed up, I’m very disappointed in myself and really sorry to the Team. I think at the re-start the podium was ours and the pace of the car was good today, we should have finished one and two on the podium. Let’s focus on the next race now, we will work really hard as a Team and come back stronger."
Kimi Raikkonen, 13th
"It was a good recovery after yesterday and to take points from P16 on the grid would have been a great story. The conditions were very tricky, the track was slippery and it never fully dried up – it was so easy to make a mistake. We made a good start but couldn’t see anything in the spray; we did ok on the inters, they came back at the end of the stint but at that point the track was dry enough for slicks.
„We struggled a bit more after the red flag, but we were able to use the track layout to our advantage and keep everyone else behind to finish in P9. Unfortunately, we then got this penalty that means we don’t get anything to show for it, but at least we can look positively at our performance. We have been fighting for the points two races in a row, hopefully we can keep improving even more."Antonio Giovinazzi, 14th
"We were having a fantastic race until our issue and it was a matter of finally being able to show our true race potential. The conditions at the beginning of the race were very difficult, they reminded me of Hockenheim 2019 with very poor visibility. Kimi and I were both running in the points and to finish with both cars in the top ten was definitely on the cards, but unfortunately we had a technical issue with one of the brakes that required a pit stop. I focus on the positives: we have a good car and we can fight for a top 10 finish in most races. Hopefully luck will be more on our side in the future and we can get the rewards we deserve."
Heartbreaking Sunday, but we will use it to grow and come back stronger. 💪— Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN (@alfaromeoracing) April 18, 2021
That is what teams do.
Race Report 👇📊 https://t.co/BOsjg143Rx
AlpineEsteban Ocon, 9th
"It was a challenging race today in hard conditions. There were lots of opportunities out there, we managed to score a point, a decent result and a good reward for the team’s hard work. There was potentially more on the table. It was a long, physical race and flat out right until the end after the restart. I had some fun fights out there, especially with Fernando. Now, we look forward to the next race weekend."Fernando Alonso, 10th
"It was tricky today as we had several different conditions, starting the race in the wet and finishing in the dry. I took a lot of learnings after driving in these conditions again. In Formula 1, you don’t get any preparation, and with one and a half days of testing it’s not easy. Overall, I would say it was like four race experiences all in one. I think the car is better this weekend, which is positive but it’s still very tight between a number of cars. We’ll go again in Portugal."
HaasMick Schumacher, 16th
"It was my first time in a Formula 1 car in the wet conditions – it definitely wasn’t easy. To be honest I wasn’t quite sure what happened at the moment I spun, it went quite quickly. I don’t know if I was too aggressive or if it was a puddle or whatever. It’s something we’ll analyse but I’m quite disappointed in myself. We’d had good position up until then. Overall, I think it was a positive race, we finished 16th and we were good in terms of pace. We saw the chequered flag and that was the goal."Nikita Mazepin, 17th
"So much happened in this race, from starting on the wets having not really expected it as the sunshine wasn’t long before the start, then a red flag and loads of things basically happening. We just weren’t really fast enough today to fight with others. It was a good learning experience in the bag though and to see the chequered flag was good.
„I don’t think Nicolas (Latifi) knew I was there when he came back across the track. I gave him all the room I had but I just don’t think he was aware that I was there. I think it was just unfortunate for him. I don’t think anyone had an easy one today, but I guess it was a very exciting race for the fans."
MercedesLewis Hamilton, 2nd
"Considering I was facing the barrier at one stage, then a lap down, yeah, it was a difficult day in that regard. I had some really good pace in the rain and was catching but just a little bit impatient, maybe, with the backmarkers. I'm only human so these mistakes happen. I'm grateful that I was back in the race and could hunt down and get back to second. The car had a rough time today. I started first, should have been first at the finish but these things are sent to test us and we've got a great battle on our hands. Game on."Valtteri Bottas, DNF
"I'm okay physically. It was a half-decent shunt but obviously could have been a lot worse at that speed. George got close and decided to go for a move. Obviously the track is quite narrow, there is only one dry line and he went for the outside, there was space all the time for two cars but he obviously lost the car and hit me.
„I haven't spoken to him so far: I couldn't hear a thing what he was on about and obviously we will have a different perspective on it. It was a tough race until then, from where I started it wasn't easy to make ground. But I need to take whatever positives I can from this weekend and move on."
McLarenLando Norris, 3rd
"Obviously very happy to get a podium. A very well-executed race from the team and from myself. I think I drove very well – I made a lot of good decisions – but it wasn't easy. The beginning of the race was pretty tough. A bit of contact here and there, not a perfect start but I kept my head cool. I kept focused throughout because sometimes you know you’ve got to expect the red flags and the Safety Cars and think that more opportunities can come towards you later in the race. So, I kept that in mind and solidly came back through.
"There were a couple of people crashing and making mistakes ahead of me, which is what we’re here to take advantage of, and then we made a good decision at the end to go onto the soft tyres and get ahead of Leclerc. We almost held on to P2 but not quite. It was a tough race, but very rewarding for myself and more importantly for the team, so a big thanks to them for bringing new parts, and working so hard on the car back at the factory to make it better every weekend."Daniel Ricciardo, 6th
"One of those races where you’ve got rain on the laps to grid and you’re not really sure how it’s going to go. I managed to get a position at the start and was then running in fifth for a bit. Just as the track started to dry I grained the front right, so I couldn’t really keep a good pace.
"For the restart, we put on thesSoft tyre to make the most of a potential standing start. I tried to keep on top of the soft until the end of this long stint but, just couldn’t really manage it. I think both front and rear tyres I struggled with.
"So, certainly not an awesome race, but I think to come home sixth is good for the Constructors’ points with Lando in third. Congrats to Lando, he had a great race and it's awesome to see the car has the pace. My race pace was nothing too special. I’ve just got to keep working on it and improve."
FerrariCharles Leclerc, 4th
"It was an interesting race, although a bit frustrating, because I was in a really good place before the red flag which wiped out the advantage we had built up in the first part of the race. Unfortunately, I struggled after the restart, since I was vulnerable in the straights and that made it difficult to fight or defend from others. In fact we had taken a bit of a gamble with some more downforce, which helped us in the rain, but made it more difficult for us when it was dry in the second part of the race.
"Overall, I’m very happy with the performance we had today. There is definitely a lot of motivation. We are fighting for more interesting positions now and this is positive. We have been working well and if we keep it up, I’m sure that we will be fighting for the top places soon."Carlos Sainz, 5th
"That was a very solid race today. The conditions at the start were very tricky, with very poor visibility, but I went for it and managed to make up quite a lot of positions after the start. This was the second race and my first time in the wet with the car, which was an unknown situation for me, but taking risks and finding the limit paid off, despite losing race time with a couple of mistakes here and there.
"My pace was very strong in the wet and also very solid in the dry, so I’m happy with that. I was quite comfortable all along, and starting P11 with a P5 finish is encouraging. I just need to keep my head down and continue working in this direction, because I think it’s the correct one. Collecting solid points today was definitely good for the team and I am very pleased with the double points finish."
Sebastian Vettel, DNF
"Things did not go our way today. Even before the race, we had issues going to the grid and I had to start from the pit lane. That was not too painful because it was a wet start to the race, but the time penalty changed everything, especially because it came 20 minutes into the race. The track conditions were quite difficult in the beginning and it was hard to overtake, but a dry line soon appeared.
„We gambled on fitting the dry tyres early and, as the track dried more, there was a phase of the race where we were actually quite strong. Then there was the red flag, which was the right decision, and for the restart we chose to fit the soft tyres and gambled on a standing start happening, but they decided on a rolling start. Those soft tyres obviously had higher degradation compared to the medium, which made things more difficult at the end."Lance Stroll, 8th
"That was a lot of fun with some exciting racing. We have scored some important points and I really enjoyed myself today. The weather made things a little bit interesting and we made the most of it. All credit to the crew on the grid for getting my car repaired after the brake problem, too. We also overcame a gear shift issue, which cost us lap time, but we managed to hang on until the end. It was just a very busy afternoon with so much happening, so I am really pleased to have scored six points. The car was nicely balanced this weekend, but we still have some work to do to catch the teams ahead of us. That is where our focus is now as we get ready for Portugal."
Pierre Gasly, 7th
"For sure, it’s been a rollercoaster of a day – we started from P5 but we made a different call with tyres at the start of the race and quickly ended up at the back. Obviously, I was very disappointed, but from there we kept fighting and after the red flag we managed to make our way forward again to cross the finish line in eighth position. Following the race, I’ve moved up into P7 and I’m pretty pleased with that as a finishing position – we managed to recover some crucial points for the team, which is really positive. We showed the potential of the car on Saturday and next time out we just need to put it all together across the whole weekend."Yuki Tsunoda, 12th
"I think it was a fantastic race for the viewers at home but I’m very disappointed with myself and I just want to say sorry to the team. It’s a real shame that I spun after the red flag, up until that point I think the race was going pretty well and the pace was really good. This was the first time I’ve been in a Formula 1 car in the wet and I learnt you have to be so careful, especially with acceleration. Starting on the intermediate tyre during the rainy conditions made it even more difficult but it was a great opportunity for me to understand more how the compounds work in different conditions. I think points could have been on the table for me here today but it’s all a learning curve and I’ll take this experience with me to the next race."
"I think it was a very unfortunate incident and one that could have been avoided. Valtteri was defending hard, and he is in his right to do so. The track was going left, and he was going straight. In these conditions with one dry line, it only had one outcome. It is frustrating but that is Formula 1."Nicholas Latifi, DNF
"In the end it was not the result we wanted, so that is frustrating from my side. It was my mistake in tricky conditions, even the laps to the grid were difficult and the spray was the worst I have ever seen it. I had the first spin off from a bit of rear locking and then I re-joined the track.
„I tried to stay on the left-hand side but naturally the driver line takes you back to the right, so I knew I couldn’t just cut back across. I didn’t see Mazepin when I joined the track but looking at the replay, I have seen we made contact and that sent me into the wall. It was an unfortunate end to the weekend as it was my mistake, so I’m really sorry to the team for that."
"I'm sure the points will come."— Williams Racing (@WilliamsRacing) April 18, 2021
Taking the positives from a challenging race. pic.twitter.com/5ropIDjxbI