Formula One returns to Imola for the second time in two years due to calendar changes caused by the Covid 19 Pandemic, with Lewis Hamilton looking to keep the momentum from his opening race victory in Bahrain.
Last Time Out
The opening race of the 2021 season saw Hamilton take the checkered flag, following a close battle between him and Max Verstappen, that ended in the Brit using his experience to get the most out of his Mercedes.
Red Bull looked to have put Verstappen in prime position to take the win, with snappy pitstops and a strong strategy, however, the Dutchman made a move at the contentious turn four, evading track limit regulations for the weekend. As a result, having to give the position back to Hamilton.
Bahrain was our first chance to look at the new Aston Martin and Alpine cars, two teams that would have hoped for a better start to their seasons. Sebastian Vettel would qualify 18th in his debut race for the rebranded Racing Point outfit, whilst Fernando Alonso would fail to complete the race on his return to the sport.
Last Trip to Imola
The last time we took to track at the formerly named San Marino GP, it was Valtteri Bottas who came out on top in Qualifying, followed by Hamilton and Verstappen, with Bottas taking the pole by over 0.100 of second to Hamilton.
In the race, however, it was to be Hamilton who would come out on top, with the Finn finishing in second place. Verstappen would fall victim to puncture that would see him not only spin-off but fail to win the race. As a result, McLaren's new-boy Daniel Ricciardo would go on to claim his first podium of the season for Renault, finishing third.
There were strong results for drivers throughout the top ten. Most noticeably was Daniil Kvyat, who secured fourth for Alpha Tauri and a fifth-place finish for Charles Leclerc in a struggling Ferrari at one of their home circuits.
A driver who will be hoping for a better run this time will be George Russell in the Williams. The last time the young Brit took to the track in Imola, he spun under the safety car, bringing an early end to his race from a points-paying position.
The Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari is home to the Imola GP, one of two Italian Grand Prixs on the calendar for 2021, with the other being the F1 stalwart of Monza. The track returns to the calendar in 2021 due to the Covid 19 pandemics' impact on certain areas of the world, seeing tracks such as Imola and Portimao coming back to F1.
The track itself is a little over three miles long and consists of 19 corners, with a current lap record of 1:15.484, set at the 2020 Grand Prix by Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes.
The track itself is a smooth, flowing affair, with long sections of track, such as the final corner, through to turns two and three, punctuated by hard braking zones, demonstrated by the abrupt right-hand turn at corner 12.
As per the results from last year's race, the track favors a blend of power and aerodynamics, and with the new high rake vs low rake argument, the 2021 race should make for interesting viewing.
Track Timings (BST)
14:00 - 16:00
13:00 - 14:00
10:00 - 11:00
13:30 - 14:30
10:00 - 11:00