Red Bull driver Max Verstappen stormed to his second win of the season after just four races. However, perhaps what was more interesting than the result was the fact that the young Dutchman lapped 2021 rival Lewis Hamilton in the process.
It epitomized the highly contrasting fortunes for both drivers over the course of the weekend and it was a question that Verstappen always knew he was bound to get quizzed on.
It was an especially delightful couple of days for Red Bull, with Verstappen and Perez delivering a one-two finish for the team, the first time Red Bull has achieved such a result since the 2016 Malaysian Grand Prix.
Hamilton’s day was set to be a tough one. With Mercedes’ straight-line pace far from impressive, Hamilton always had his work cut out on a track that doesn’t favour a lot of overtaking.
While Hamilton did his best to break into the top-10 and get some points on the board, his attempts were fruitless as the Mercedes driver failed to move up any places and ended the race where he started it – P14 and outside the points.
Verstappen lapped 2021 rival Hamilton
Lap 41 of the race was arguably the most headline-worthy moment in the day.
While Hamilton and Verstappen were locked in a breathtaking fight last year, Verstappen actually ended up lapping the seven-time champion with only 2/3 of the race gone.
It must have been a sobering experience for all of Hamilton’s well-wishers.
“Ouch that is going to hurt,” commentator David Croft said on Sky Sports while the race was on.
Verstappen, though, chose to highlight the shortcomings of the car instead of taking a shot at Hamilton.
“Mercedes has been slow all year, so for me it’s not anything exciting, it just happens,” said Verstappen.
Red Bull took a major gamble in bringing its update ahead of the Imola Grand Prix, something that Ferrari chose against.
It appears like Red Bull got its strategy right, given the fact that Verstappen’s car was better than the Ferraris throughout the weekend.
“It was a good weekend for us, we needed it. I didn’t expect us to have a weekend like this,” Verstappen said.
“But when you have a weekend at the end like this, that’s incredible: a one-two for the team but also maximum points scored. Also the way we handled the race, we didn’t really make any mistakes. A very positive weekend.”
Tough weekend for Ferrari
Ferrari really struggled on race day. First, Carlos Sainz was forced to retire from the event after getting taken out by Daniel Ricciardo in the first lap.
Then, Leclerc suffered a spin which forced him to settle for sixth position, which was a decent recovery on his part to be fair.
Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto bemoaned a wretched weekend display.
“We are not only a team, we are a family,” he told Sky Sports F1.
“We are a family still and together with our Tifosi so of course [we are] very happy to see so many people here, so many Tifosi.
“They are cheering, they are still cheering now in the pitlane and on the main straight so I think we are a bit unhappy for the results of today but I think we need to keep the heads up.
“That’s part of racing. Some races may go wrong as it has been today but we’ve still got a competitive package and I think we need to keep the smile on and look forward to the next races.”
Ferrari only enjoys an 11-point lead at the top of the table, with Red Bull in second place.