Wowzers! Second race in, and we were treated to another corker. I’ve only just recovered!
Just before the pitlane opened, the heavens opened. Well, on half of the track at least! Tyres were quickly swapped to inters or full wets and the drivers tentatively drove round to the grid.
It was an eventful drive to the grid for both Aston Martin drivers as they both experienced brake issues. More specifically, hot brakes! Indeed, Stroll’s were on fire, and when he informed his engineer Brad of this fact, Brad’s response was: “Drive faster to put it out!”
This issue meant all Aston Martin mechanics had to work against the clock to get both cars ready for the race. Stroll’s engineers managed it, but Vettel had to start from the pitlane. (Mind you, with the rain and spray it was probably the safer place to be honest!)
Even on the formation lap there were a few spins, a sign of things to come maybe?
As the lights went out, both Red Bulls got away quickly, but it was Verstappen who overtook his teammate and then pole-sitter, Lewis Hamilton, into the first corner, which bizarrely is actually Turn 4! And then, a coming together between Mazepin and Latifi saw the latter drive into the tyre barrier and out of the race, bringing out the safety car on Lap 1.
As the rain abated and the track began to dry, it was all eyes on who would blink and be brave enough to put slicks on first. That honour went to Vettel. Of the 2 front-runners (Verstappen and Hamilton), it was Verstappen who pitted first, leaving Hamilton to deploy Hammertime as Mercedes attempted the overcut. It was all working out, until a slightly longer pitstop for Hamilton and having to wait for Giovanazzi’s Alfa to pass before he could be released, left him emerge back onto the track still just behind Verstappen.
Then on lap 30, within the space of 2 laps it looked liked game over for both Mercedes’ cars. Hamilton made a rare mistake, which on the still damp track saw him slide across the gravel and just kiss the tyre wall. Skillful control saw him gingerly reverse back across the gravel and back onto the track. And if that wasn’t bad enough, Bottas (who had started 8th and gone backwards) was being hunted by George Russell in 10th (yes, he was in the points). With George in DRS range, he pulled alongside to overtake the ailing Finn, but saw his right tyre slip onto the wet grass, which acted like black ice and saw both the 2nd Mercedes and the junior Mercedes’ driver collide. It was a powerful punt, and could have been nasty, but thankfully both drivers emerged injury-free.
Not surprisingly the race was red-flagged, and the restart saw the lapped cars unlap themselves. This meant Hamilton was restarting in 8th, the same place Bottas had started the race. At the off, Hamilton was on a mission and he picked off cars one by one, doing what Bottas had found so difficult in the first half of the race. Hammertime had most definitely been deployed, and Hamilton not only managed to finish 2nd, but nab fastest lap to boot.
But, kudos must be given to Verstappen who kept his cool and drove a great race. If these two races are anything to go by, this could be one of the most exciting F1 seasons for many a year.
Of course, what would an F1 race be without funny tweets? And funny tweets there were a-plenty. Having had a much-needed cup of tea after the race, I have now deliberated, cogitated and judged this week’s entries.
So, without further ado, here are the Top 10 Funniest Tweet Awards for the Imola Grand Prix:
@MinxyD14 echoing the sentiments of many a fan during the race this afternoon. Especially those who thought it was safe to go and grab a cuppa!
@mtm686 with live onboard footage of Gasly as he was going backwards (not literally obviously) with a drying track on full wets and the Alpha Tauri not calling him in to the pits.
@pgillet2017 expressing what most of us must have felt when we realised the same thing. Mazepin hadn’t spun himself out. And this week he finished the race (albeit last)
@pitlanepirate with unseen footage of the Aston Martin mechanics working like stink to get Stroll’s car ready in time for lights out.
There was one Haas spinning today as this footage from @FvB2309 shows. After spinning Mick Schumacher had to drive a lap to get back to the pitlane to get his repaired, but the pitlane entry was closed, to retrieve his stricken car parts, so he had to go round for another lap before he could pit and his car repaired.
@timwagner66 with a sneaky peek at Netflix’s new poster campaign for Drive to Survive Season 4.
@TomTheMadHatter with Lando’s mantra as a fast Hamilton was closing in.
Poor Perez, it really wasn’t his day. Time penalties, and at one point his steering wheel was driving itself … @stargateoracle reveals the reason why!!!
There was more desk hitting by Toto (unshown). And after George and Bottas’s crash, @3Legs4Wheels reveal Ikea’s speedy launch of their new ‘Toto’ desk. (Looks like it multi-purpose, when the anger subsides you can use it as a place to lie down and meditate!)
Just in case you missed it, to be honest I did, I blinked, @motorsportweek give us a replay of the aftermath of Bottas and Russell’s crash.
And that’s it. As always, let me know your favourite one(s) in the comments below.
The Funniest Tweet Awards will be back in 2 weeks time as the F1 circus rolls in to Portugal.
Until next time.