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Emilia Romagna (Imola) Grand Prix : Race Predictions

Aditya Chaudhuri Aditya Chaudhuri

Formula One returns to Imola after a thrilling race in Melbourne that saw Ferrari and Charles Leclerc assert their dominance and send out a warning to the remainder of the grid: Ferrari have arrived.

The midfield looks packed as well, with the likes of Haas and Alfa Romeo joining the battle and delivering more wheel-to-wheel racing. Along with the excitement, action, wheel-to-wheel racing in Imola this weekend, we will also witness the season’s first Sprint race.

As we head into the race weekend, we take a look at where the teams stand and predict what might happen in Imola.

Also Read – F1: What is Sprint Qualifying and why is it implemented?

Prancing away from the pack?

After winning the season-opener in Bahrain, Red Bull answered back in Saudi Arabia and Red Bull came on a high to Melbourne. Even though Ferrari were fast, it would have been daft to count out Red Bull in Melbourne. They had the fastest car, but Ferrari had the more reliable one, and it’s Ferrari’s reliability that has them on top of the Constructors’ and Drivers’ standings.

It’s not only been Charles Leclerc’s brilliance that sees the Italian team at the top of the standings but also Red Bull’s reliability woes and Mercedes’ non-competitiveness. Ferrari already have a 39-point lead in the Constructors’ standings, while Leclerc has a 34-point gap in the Drivers’ standings, which is already more than the points difference at any point during the 2021 season between the top two drivers. What Red Bull can take confidence from is that aside from their reliability issues, they have had strong pace across all three races, and if Max Verstappen is given a worthy car, he can take the fight to anyone.

The Scuderia are already beginning to distance themselves from the rest of the grid, and if Red Bull can’t fix their reliability woes soon, it might just be one horse prancing away to the Championships.

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Pole Prediction: Leclerc / Verstappen / Sainz

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Win Prediction: Ferrari / Red Bull

New Territory

For the entirety of the turbo hybrid era, the midfield was uncharted waters for Mercedes. They were well and truly only fighting for wins in almost every race for eight years.

As the new regulations era kicked off in 2022, the tide has changed and the German team find themselves in a new and unwanted position. They currently don’t have the pace to fight for wins, and both their podiums this season have come only at the expense of the Red Bulls not finishing races. For seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton, this is also a new territory and something that the Brit isn’t a fan of. While they do have a slight advantage over the rest of the midfield, the Brackley-based team aren’t in the Red Bull and Ferrari league as of now, and until they bring significant upgrades to their challenger, they will be podium outsiders.

The likes of Haas, Alfa Romeo and Alpine are the others in the midfield who have shown solid race pace in the opening races and are definite contenders for the odd podium place should it be an eventful race up ahead.

Dark Horse for Podium: Haas / Alpine / Alfa Romeo

Also look at the team principals of all the 10 F1 teams.

Not the Ideal Start

Heading into the new era, Aston Martin were the dark horses of many to challenge for wins and more. Three races into the season, the British team look like the weakest team on the grid and are the only ones currently yet to score points. Along with their performance woes, the departure of their long-time team boss Otmar Szafnauer has not helped the team either. Szafnauer knew the team from its Force India days and was instrumental in making them a midfield dynamo for many seasons. Along with his departure, Lance Stroll’s form isn’t helping the British team either. Stroll had a weekend to forget in Australia, crashing in Free Practice, Qualifying and then in the race again due to driver errors, and given this is the Canadian’s sixth season in Formula One, one expects a more mature head on those shoulders. Stroll’s partner Sebastian Vettel, who missed the opening two races due to COVID, returned to a similar weekend like Stroll’s, but Vettel’s experience and race-craft should see the veteran German take the up the grid as soon as he’s up to date with the car, which isn’t as easy as it sounds given how tough it has been to handle to AMR22. It won’t be a surprise if Aston Martin are found at the back of the grid in Italy once again come Sunday.

The Mercedes power units haven’t helped Aston Martin either, and unless they bring some big upgrades, the Silverstone-based team might leave the 2022 season with the wooden spoon.

Imola Grand Prix Predictions
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Aditya Chaudhuri

Aditya Chaudhuri

Hailing from the City of Joy, the things that bring me joy are cricket, a good non-tilt CS:GO session, F1 and movies.

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