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Imola, 18 Apri, 2021

Teams were faced with a difficult decision before the start of the race after a sudden downpour of rain an hour before lights out left some parts of the circuit extremely wet.

The key moment of the race came when Valtteri Bottas and George Russell crashed at the first corner on lap 32, leading to the race being suspended. At the time, Charles was second, 25 seconds ahead of Lando Norris in the McLaren. The Monegasque had built up that lead driving very quickly and precisely on a track that was gradually drying out, helped by set up choices made yesterday with the engineers in qualifying to run with more aerodynamic downforce. The restart wiped out Charlesí advantage and he was then overtaken by Norris and, with a few laps remaining, by Hamilton too.

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Lewis Hamilton
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. Iím only human so these mistakes happen. Iím 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 weíve got a great battle on our hands. Game on.

Valtteri Bottas
Iím 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 havenít spoken to him so far: I couldnít 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 wasnít easy to make ground. But I need to take whatever positives I can from this weekend and move on.

Toto Wolff

Leading the Championship with the fastest lap is one thing but what actually gives it a silver lining or positive connotation today is that we seem to have a really quick race car.

Unfortunately, the crash between George and Valtteri was unnecessary. Valtteri had a difficult first 30 laps and shouldn't have been there but George should have never launched into this manoeuvre considering that the track was drying up. It meant taking risks and the other car is a Mercedes in front of him and in any driversí development as a young driver you must never lose this global perspective. Lots to learn for him I guess.

Apart from that we had all highs and lows from the incident in the first corner which cost us two tenths in aero performance on Lewisí car. Then we had Lewis hitting the barrier on lap 31. The recovery drive from Lewis after the race restarted was really brilliant, ten out of ten.

Overall, today was very difficult to judge because of the circumstances but we had a very good car today in the wet and in the drying up. We are slowly starting to understand it but according to the data we are still not having a car and power unit that can match the Red Bull Honda.

Andrew Shovlin
On lap 31 it was difficult imagine how things could get any worse. We had Lewis stuck in the gravel with a broken wing and Valtteri out with a massive amount of damage. So, leaving here still in the lead of both championships is quite a relief and I suppose we should be grateful for that.

For Lewis it was very much a race of two halves. The early part was defined by the damage to the front wing after the contact with Max - that improved slightly when the footplate came away completely but we still had a chunk of load and balance missing. As such, we were a bit surprised when Lewis was able to close in on Max towards the end of the intermediate stint. The transition to dry was okay, warm-up was a challenge and I think we look worse than our competitors in this regard but as we didnít have time to change the wing it was always going to be a struggle to put Max under pressure. That became a bit of a moot point when Lewis slid off passing some traffic and lost a load of time and positions. The suspended race allowed us the chance to repair the car and in the final stint we saw what it was capable of. It was a great recovery by Lewis and an impressive fastest lap.

Valtteriís day was even more difficult. He was finding the warm-up more of a challenge than Lewis, struggling mainly with rear grip. That was the case on both inter and slick tyres but on the transition to dry it was particularly bad. He got swamped by a few cars and ultimately, that was what started the events that triggered the crash with George and the end of this race. Overall, a frustrating weekend and one where we have plenty of areas that we need to look to for improvement.


Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow picked up 22 points, courtesy of a fourth place for Charles Leclerc and a fifth for Carlos Sainz in the Gran Premio del Made in Italy e dellíEmilia-Romagna. While the race confirmed that the team is making progress, thereís a hint of disappointment as undoubtedly, a podium finish was within Charlesí grasp today.

Sainz also had a very good race. The Spaniard got away very well from eleventh on the grid, making up several places. He then made a few mistakes in the early stages, but once the track conditions stabilised, Carlos was able to match the pace of the quickest, just like his team-mate, in both wet and dry conditions.

Right direction
Therefore, Scuderia Ferrari can leave Imola knowing that the work carried out on the SF21 has produced a definite step forward compared to last yearís car. Furthermore, when compared to the race in Bahrain, the race pace at Imola matched what had been seen in qualifying, better than the closest rivals in the wet and similar in the dry.

Charles Leclerc
ďIt 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, Iím 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, Iím sure that we will be fighting for the top places soon.Ē

Carlos Sainz
ďThat 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 Iím 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 itís the correct one. Collecting solid points today was definitely good for the team and I am very pleased with the double points finish.Ē

Mattia Binotto
ďOn a completely different track and in very different conditions to the first race of the season, this result confirms that the work we are doing is going in the right direction. The fact we are unhappy about not getting at least one driver onto the podium is further proof of that. We can definitely say the outcome of these first two races is a positive one.
Not since the second half of 2019, specifically the races in Japan and Mexico that year, have we had both drivers in the points in two consecutive races. We must continue like this and show, race by race, that we know how to improve. Now I canít wait to go to Portimão for the next Grand Prix!ď

Esteban opte
d for the full Wet tyres with Fernando on the Intermediates. On the laps to the grid, Fernando ran wide out of Turn 7, clipping the wall, meaning he had to change front wing.

In slippery conditions, both drivers dropped outside of the top ten with Esteban switching to the Intermediates on lap two under the Safety Car.

Things began to stabilise and, as the track started to dry, dry tyres looked the best option; Esteban fitting Mediums on lap 27 and Fernando following suit a lap later.

Esteban switched to the Softs on lap 31, before a red flag brought the race to a stop following a collision between Valtteri Bottas and George Russell on the entry to turn two.

The race resumed with Fernando twelfth and Esteban thirteenth, the Frenchman switching to Mediums during the red flag stoppage, for the sprint to the end. Both drivers immediately gained a few places and duelled for the final points-scoring position.

Esteban was heaping the pressure on Kimi Räikkönen for ninth but could not make the breakthrough on the experienced Finn. Fernando was just behind as he looked to sneak his way into the points. At the flag, Esteban held onto tenth with Fernando narrowly adrift.

Both drivers inherited a place after the chequered flag, following a post-race penalty for Räikkönen. Esteban scoring two points in ninth with Fernando returning to the Formula 1 points for the first time since the 2018 Singapore Grand Prix in tenth.

Esteban Ocon
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 teamís 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
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 donít get any preparation, and with one and a half days of testing itís 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 itís still very tight between a number of cars. Weíll go again in Portugal.

Marcin Budkowski
We scored our first point of the season today and we had to work hard for it. Both cars had poor starts in wet conditions and lost several positions on the first lap, which is something we need to understand. In the dry, our pace was pretty decent with both drivers together on the track and coming back towards the points positions. Esteban got stuck behind Räikkönen for the final part of the race and couldnít make the move, underlining how difficult it is to overtake here. We leave Imola with bittersweet feelings; pleased to have our first point of the season, but it was a race that didnít go as it could have for us. We move onto the next race hungry for more.

Next round
The Championship will resume in two weeks time when the Portuguese Grand Prix takes place at the Autòdromo Internacional do Algarve di Portimão on 2 May.

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