Red Bull Racing's Max Verstappen cruised to victory on Sunday at a special Formula One Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, held at a wet Imola racetrack in Italy.
Verstappen's teammate, Sergio Perez, came in second with a 16-second gap, giving Red Bull its first one-two finish in F1 since the 2016 season. McLaren's Lando Norris took home the final podium spot, some 34 seconds behind the winner.
Verstappen started the race on pole, after winning Saturday's sprint race qualifier, with Ferrari's Charles Leclerc also at the front of the grid. Verstappen enjoyed a brilliant start but Leclerc got bogged down, allowing Perez to jump ahead into second. Further back there was disaster for fellow Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz.
McLaren's Daniel Ricciardo came into contact with Sainz at Tamburello, causing Sainz to spin into the gravel and end the race there. At the same time, Norris was able to jump ahead of Leclerc into third. The safety car was brought out for the altercation between Ricciardo and Sainz, and the race eventually restarted on lap five.
Ferrari at the 2022 Formula One Emilia Romagna Grand Prix
It was then a matter of the Red Bull drivers controlling the race, and with Leclerc fighting for position and Mercedes-Benz AMG's George Russell also fighting his way up the order, with some brilliant driving against Kevin Magnussen in the Haas. The Mercedes driver started the race in 11th place but was able to move up to sixth in the first lap.
After the first set of pit stops for the leaders, Leclerc emerged ahead of Perez though the Red Bull driver, thanks to warmer tires, quickly reclaimed second position. Leclerc triggered the second stop on lap 50, which saw him switch to soft tires. There was then some bad luck for the Ferrari man. He spun and tapped the wall at Variante Alta on Lap 53, causing him to drop down to ninth as he needed to put for a new front wing. After emerging, the best he could manage was sixth at the end. The bad luck promoted Norris to third and Russel to fourth. Fifth place went to Alfa Romeo's Valtteri Bottas.
There were few other dramas but Alpine's Esteban Ocon finished 11th, and later was classified 14th due to to a five-second time penalty for an unsafe release on a pit stop. The stop saw him come into minor contact with the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton.
Following the weekend's action, Leclerc remains in the 2022 Drivers' Championship lead with 86 points. Verstappen has moved up to second with 59 points and Perez is now third with 54 points. In the Constructors' Championship, Ferrari leads with 124 points, versus the 113 of Red Bull and 77 of Mercedes. The next race on the calendar is the new Miami Grand Prix scheduled for May 8.
Red Bull Racing at the 2022 Formula One Emilia Romagna Grand Prix
Below are the full results from the 2022 Formula One Emilia Romagna Grand Prix:
1) Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing
2) Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing +16.527 seconds
3) Lando Norris, McLaren +34.834 seconds
4) George Russell, Mercedes-Benz AMG +42.506 seconds
5) Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo +43.181 seconds
6) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari +56.072 seconds
7) Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri +61.110 seconds
8) Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin +70.892 seconds
9) Kevin Magnussen, Haas +75.260 seconds
10) Lance Stroll, Aston Martin +1 lap
11) Alexander Albon, Williams +1 lap
12) Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri +1 lap
13) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-Benz AMG +1 lap
14) Esteban Ocon, Alpine +1 lap
15) Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo +1 lap
16) Nicholas Latifi, Williams +1 lap
17) Mick Schumacher, Haas +1 lap
18) Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren +1 lap
NC) Fernando Alonso, Alpine - DNF
NC) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari - DNF