For the fourth consecutive weekend in Formula 1, there was a duel for the lead between Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc.
On this occasion, it did not happen on Sunday, but on Saturday, with Emilia Romagna hosting the Grand Prix of the first Sprint event of the 2022 season.
At the 100km race – which is a third of the entire distance of Sunday’s Grand Prix – the finishing order determines the starting lineup for Sunday’s Grand Prix, and this year the format is run at Imola, Austria’s Red Bull Circuit and Brazil’s Interlagos.
On Saturday, the titles of honor and the extra eight points to win the race were once again contested between the defending champion and the man who would likely win the title.
Fast-starter Leclerc snatched the lead, to the delight of most of the Ferrari-supporting fans on the team pitch, but Verstappen snatched his time and swept his opponent on the penultimate lap, as Leclerc struggled even more with tire problems. .
However, runner-up Leclerc is worth seven points and has enabled him to increase his lead to 40 points, over his nearest rival new teammate Carlos Sainz. Verstappen regained a solitary point to cut his deficit to 45.
“I think we were pretty excited, not a lot of laps anyway,” Verstappen said. “Of course we knew on these tyres, they were going to be tough at the end of the race, the last few laps, but it worked for us.”
Leclerc was optimistic about the belated defeat; He had to accept second place on Verstappen but he is giving valuable lessons to Ferrari ahead of Sunday’s race.
“We were side by side in Turn 1 and I can focus on my race from that moment on,” he said. “I tried to push at first to get a little gap and not let Max get into the DRS, because I knew I was going to be vulnerable in this situation. But I paid the price a little later in the race, had some grit and really struggled in the last two or three laps. Laps. It’s like this but it’s just a sprint and we’ll learn from this to be better tomorrow.”
It was another bleak day for champions Mercedes. George Russell was only 11 years oldyWith Lewis Hamilton 14y, which means they’ll start there for the Grand Prix. There were no accidents or setbacks for either, with the results being just as extreme as possible given the limitations of their Rebel car.
“In the end we haven’t gotten to the right level this year, but everyone is working hard to make it right,” said Hamilton, who has ruled himself out of the title race. He is already 50 behind Leclerc.
However, there could still be a wrench in the 20 field works on Sunday. Current weather models suggest there is a 60% chance of heavy rain at some point in the race.
As expected, Ross Brawn, managing director of Formula 1 motorsports, praised the coordination as “fantastic entertainment” and confirmed there would be a renewed push for more Sprint racing in 2023.
“We would like to have six next year,” he said. “I think (the teams) can see the success. We didn’t quite know where we were last year with the old cars, but I think they can see the way that feeds into the new cars. I’m hopeful they will all see the value of that. Even the fans. What to To always remember him about the enemy is that he gives you a great Friday, too.”
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