This weekend is set to see Formula 1 return to action as the series heads to Imola for the second Grand Prix of the season. Unlike the season opener in Bahrain, the series will not be supported by either Formula 2, Formula 3 or the W Series.
Lewis Hamilton enters the weekend with the early championship lead after managing to claim victory in Bahrain ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Hamilton’s teammate, Valtteri Bottas.
Hamilton won the 2020 edition of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix ahead of Bottas, who was slightly compromised after picking up debris from a Ferrari, while Verstappen ended up failing to finish the race after picking up a puncture and spinning out.
Interestingly in qualifying last season Bottas took pole position ahead of Hamilton with Verstappen lining up third. Verstappen’s then teammate Alexander Albon qualified sixth. It will therefore be interesting to see how the two Mercedes and the two Red Bulls go in qualifying this coming weekend and how that will ultimately impact the final race result.Embed from Getty Images
Behind the ‘usual’ top three in the championship is Lando Norris who has taken the early lead in the ‘Class B’ championship ahead of the Red Bull of Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc. Perez’s first race for his new team was compromised when he suffered an issue on the formation lap that ultimately meant he had to start from the pitlane. Nevertheless the Mexican managed to work his way through the field to claim fifth.
As stated, Norris currently sits fourth in the championship and this weekend could be the first indication as to whether the McLaren driver, and the rest of the ‘Class B’ drivers, will actually be fighting over fifth in the championship. This with the expectation that Perez will have less troublesome Grand Prix in the future than he did in Bahrain and will therefore manage to eventually pull away from the likes of Norris and Leclerc.
It will also be worth following how AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda does this weekend. The Japanese driver seemed to impress many during the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend, and it is worth noting that he has turned plenty of laps around Imola in older Formula 1 cars as a way to help him to acclimatise to the team and to the sport in general.Embed from Getty Images
In the Constructors’ Championship Mercedes has taken an early lead thanks to their 1-3 in Bahrain. They have a 13 point advantage over second placed Red Bull heading into this weekend.
Third in the championship is McLaren who are 10 points behind Red Bull after getting both cars into the points last time out. The Woking based team are perhaps more focused on the teams behind them currently in the championship, with Ferrari six points behind.
There is however a 10 point gap separating Ferrari in fourth in the championship and AlphaTauri in fifth. The only other team entering this weekend with points already ‘on the board’ is that of Aston Martin thanks to Lance Stroll finishing tenth in the season opener.