|2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix|
|Race 2 of 23 in the 2021 Formula One World Championship|
Layout of the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari
|Date||18 April 2021|
|Official name||Formula 1 Pirelli Gran Premio del Made in Italy e dell'Emilia Romagna 2021|
Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari|
Imola, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
|Course||Permanent racing facility|
|Course length||4.909 km (3.050 mi)|
|Distance||63 laps, 309.049 km (192.034 mi)|
|Weather||Wet at start, drying during race, 9 °C (48 °F)|
|Time||1:16.702 on lap 60|
|First||Red Bull Racing-Honda|
The 2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix (officially known as the Formula 1 Pirelli Gran Premio del Made in Italy e dell'Emilia Romagna 2021) was a Formula One motor race which took place on 18 April 2021 at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola, Italy. The race, held in wet conditions, was the second round of the 2021 Formula One World Championship, and the second Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton, who led the driver's championship, started from pole position, but he was overtaken at the first corner by Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing, who led the rest of the race and claimed victory. Hamilton managed to recover from a minor crash to take second place for the Mercedes team, just ahead of the McLaren of Lando Norris. The race was temporarily stopped halfway through after a high-speed crash involving Valtteri Bottas and George Russell.
The race was the second round of the 2021 Formula One World Championship, and the second running of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. It was the twenty-ninth time Imola hosted a Formula One race, having previously hosted 27 editions of the San Marino Grand Prix and the 1980 Italian Grand Prix. Unlike the 2020 edition (which took place over two days), this event utilised the traditional three-day format.
The drivers and teams were the same as the season entry list with no additional stand-in drivers for the race. Tyre supplier Pirelli brought the C2, C3 and C4 tyre compounds (designated hard, medium and soft respectively) for teams to use at the event.
In March 2021, organisers announced that the race would be held behind closed doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy. The DRS zone located on the main straight would be longer than the previous edition of the race, to aid overtaking. The detection point was moved from after turn 18 to before turn 17.
Lewis Hamilton entered the weekend as both the defending race winner and the championship leader, with a seven-point lead over Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing. Verstappen was considered the favourite to win the race, ahead of Hamilton and his team mate, Valtteri Bottas. Some teams had new parts on their cars for the first European race of the year, with Ferrari and Williams using their versions of the "z-shaped" floors Mercedes and Red Bull had utilised in Bahrain.
There were three practice sessions, all an hour in length. The first practice session started at 11:00 local time (UTC+02:00) on Friday 16 April. The second practice session started at 14:30 local time on the same afternoon and the final practice session started at 11:00 on Saturday.
The first practice session ended with Bottas fastest ahead of Hamilton and Verstappen. The session was red flagged twice, the first time following a collision between Red Bull's Sergio Pérez and Alpine's Esteban Ocon at turns five and six, and a second time when Nikita Mazepin crashed at turn 18. The second practice session ended with Bottas fastest ahead of Hamilton and Pierre Gasly, driving for AlphaTauri. The session was interrupted twice, the first time when Verstappen stopped on track, resulting in the virtual safety car being deployed, and a second time when Charles Leclerc crashed his Ferrari, at the end of the session, bringing out the red flag. The final practice session ended with Verstappen fastest ahead of the McLaren of Lando Norris and Hamilton.
The time of the qualifying session was moved to avoid a clash with the funeral of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who died on 9 April; as a result the start times for the practice sessions were also adjusted. Before the start of qualifying, at 14:00 local time (UTC+02:00), there was a minute's silence to mark the Prince's death. The first part of qualifying (Q1) was red-flagged after Yuki Tsunoda spun and crashed heavily at the Variente Alta chicane. As only five drivers had set a time before Tsunoda's crash, the track was noticeably congested near the end of the session; In addition to Tsunoda, the eliminated drivers included both the Alfa Romeos of Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi, and both the Haas cars of Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin. Giovinazzi later issued a public criticism of Mazepin, who had overtaken the Italian driver on his last lap, forcing its abandonment. The second part of qualifying (Q2) was less eventful, but saw the surprise elimination of the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz Jr., who only managed eleventh place. Behind the Spaniard was George Russell, Sebastian Vettel, Russell's teammate Nicholas Latifi, and Fernando Alonso. Sergio Pérez topped the session, ahead of the McLaren of Lando Norris, who had performed impressively all weekend.
Lewis Hamilton took pole position for the 99th time in the final part of qualifying, just ahead of the Red Bull of Pérez, who confessed that he had lost time at the Rivazza double left-hander. Norris would have started on the front row for the first time in his career, had he not breached track limits at the fast Piratella curve, leading to his time being deleted; he started seventh. Pérez's teammate Max Verstappen thus qualified third, less than a tenth of a second behind Hamilton, while Charles Leclerc managed to take fourth place in the session. Behind them, Pierre Gasly and Daniel Ricciardo qualified fifth and sixth, while Hamilton's teammate Valtteri Bottas experienced a torrid session; having been first in Q1, he only managed eighth in Q3. The top ten was rounded out by Esteban Ocon and Lance Stroll, the latter of whom did not set a lap during the session.
|2||11||Sergio Pérez||Red Bull Racing-Honda||1:15.395||1:14.716||1:14.446||2|
|3||33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing-Honda||1:15.109||1:14.884||1:14.498||3|
|10||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin-Mercedes||1:15.522||1:15.138||No time||10|
|11||55||Carlos Sainz Jr.||Ferrari||1:15.406||1:15.199||N/A||11|
|13||5||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin-Mercedes||1:15.459||1:15.394||N/A||PL1|
|16||7||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari||1:15.974||N/A||N/A||16|
|107% time: 1:19.899|
|--||22||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri-Honda||No time||N/A||N/A||203|
The race started at 15:00 local time (UTC+02:00) and was held over 63 laps. Heavy rain had fallen before the race, and on his way to the grid, Fernando Alonso lost control and hit the wall at Tosa; he managed to drive to the grid, where the Alpine mechanics were able to fix the damage. Sebastian Vettel had to start from the pitlane after his brakes overheated before the race, and was given a ten-second penalty when the team failed to fit his car's tyres before the five-minute deadline. Charles Leclerc was able to recover from a spin on the formation lap and start the race.
At the race start, Max Verstappen managed to overtake both his teammate Sergio Pérez and polesitter Lewis Hamilton to take the lead; Hamilton was forced to drive over the kerbs on the outside of the Tamburello curve, which damaged his front wing. On the run up to the Variente Alta chicane, Nikita Mazepin was unable to avoid the Williams of Nicholas Latifi, who had run wide at the Acque Minerali right-hander; Mazepin's Haas emerged undamaged, but Latifi was spun into the wall, ending his race. During the resulting safety car, Mick Schumacher spun near the pit exit and lost his front wing, while Perez, after running into the gravel, illegally regained his position, an action which gained him a ten second stop-go penalty. With the rain gradually ceasing, Vettel was the first driver to change onto slick tyres, which he did on lap 22. Verstappen, leading by just over a second from Hamilton, pitted on lap 27 for slicks; Hamilton, seeking to utilise the overcut, looked to be neck-and-neck with his rival when he came into the pits the next lap, but a comparatively slow pitstop dropped him back behind Verstappen.
On the thirty-first lap, Hamilton slid into the gravel at Tosa, while trying to lap the Williams of George Russell. He managed to rejoin the race, albeit with damage to his front wing caused by the barrier. Soon after, Russell was involved in a 320 kilometres per hour (200 mph) crash with the other Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas, at the entrance to the fast Tamburello chicane; the race was red-flagged because debris had scattered across the track. Both drivers were noticeably enraged following the incident - Russell marched over to the remains of Bottas' Mercedes to confront him, while Bottas replied to a light slap on his crash helmet from Russell by giving him the middle finger. Because the stewards classified the incident as a racing incident, neither driver was penalised.
Just before the restart, Verstappen almost spun at Rivazza, but managed to maintain control; he kept the lead and pulled away for the rest of the race. Behind him, Lando Norris overtook the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc for second place, while Perez and Yuki Tsunoda spun at Villeneuve and Tamburello respectively, dropping them down to 14th and 15th. Hamilton, starting ninth after the red flag, worked his way upwards through the field, and eventually managed to pass the stubborn McLaren of Norris for second place on lap 60. Norris achieved his second podium with third-place, following an equal placing at Austria the previous year. Hamilton claimed the bonus point for fastest lap, allowing him to maintain the lead in the championship over Verstappen.
Toto Wolff expressed displeasure with both Bottas and Russell following the race, but remarked he had expected Russell, a member of the Mercedes Junior Team, to be more circumspect while overtaking a Mercedes. Bottas had sustained a bruised knee in the 30 g (290 m/s2; 970 ft/s2) crash, and Wolff was also irritated that his car had been almost completely wrecked. The following day Russell expressed his desire to "clear the air" with Bottas following the confrontation, and later apologised to Bottas and to the Williams team. Lance Stroll was later given a five-second time penalty for cutting the Tamburello chicane, dropping him from seventh to eighth-position. Kimi Räikkönen was given a thirty-second penalty after he breached the restart rules, dropping him from ninth place to thirteenth. Räikkönen's team appealed the penalty, it was upheld following a review.
|1||33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing-Honda||63||2:02:34.598||3||25|
|5||55||Carlos Sainz Jr.||Ferrari||63||+27.036||11||10|
|8||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin-Mercedes||63||+56.9092||10||4|
|11||11||Sergio Pérez||Red Bull Racing-Honda||63||+1:07.151||2|
|13||7||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari||63||+1:34.7734||16|
|155||5||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin-Mercedes||61||Gearbox||PL|
|16||47||Mick Schumacher||Haas-Ferrari||61||+2 laps||18|
|17||9||Nikita Mazepin[b]||Haas-Ferrari||61||+2 laps||19|
|Fastest lap: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) - 1:16.702 (lap 60)|