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5 things that made 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix worth watching

It wasn’t the only race Max Verstappen won last weekend

Imola is where Ayrton Senna had a fatal crash in 1994. PHOTO FROM FORMULA 1

For the seventh round of this year’s Formula 1 season, the sport returned to Imola for the first race in Europe. The competition is starting to get exciting, especially with the first victory of Lando Norris (McLaren) in Miami. So, here are five things that made the 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix worth watching.

It was a hard-fought qualifying session for Max Verstappen. PHOTO FROM RED BULL

1. Qualifying was tight. Red Bull was on the back foot throughout the whole weekend. Max Verstappen didn’t top any of the Free Practice sessions, while his teammate Sergio Perez got knocked out in Q2.

Despite Verstappen receiving a tow from Nico Hulkenberg (Haas) in Q3, only 0.074 second separated the Red Bull driver from Oscar Piastri (McLaren). Had the Australian not been penalized for impeding Kevin Magnussen (Haas), he would have been on the front row ahead of his teammate Lando Norris who qualified P3, before being promoted to P2.

Oscar Piastri was close, but not fast enough to pass Carlos Sainz. PHOTO FROM FORMULA 1

2. Oscar Piastri undercut Carlos Sainz. Imola is an old-school circuit where overtaking is difficult. Although Piastri had the pace to keep up with Carlos Sainz (Ferrari), the Australian driver couldn’t carry enough speed to pull off an overtake on the main straight. This went on for several laps until the McLaren driver pitted on Lap 24, allowing him to gain track position when the Ferrari driver went in on Lap 27.

Alex Albon felt that one of his wheels was loose after his first pit stop. PHOTO FROM FORMULA 1

3. Williams screwed up Alex Albon’s race. When Albon pitted on Lap 8, his pit crew failed to attach one of the wheels properly. This prompted another pit stop after he coasted around the track for another lap. To make matters worse, the stewards issued him a 10-second penalty for an unsafe release. Since he was two laps down, Williams decided to have him retire. This must have left a bad taste in the Thai driver’s mouth, considering he had just signed a multiyear contract extension with the team.

Lando Norris went from being chased by Charles Leclerc for P2, to hunting down Verstappen for the win. PHOTOS FROM FORMULA 1

4. Lando Norris had a last-minute push. Throughout the race, Lando didn’t look like he was set to challenge for the win. And he was even under attack by Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) for P2 at one point.

However, the McLaren driver was able to find some pace in the closing stages of the race, eating away at the gap to Verstappen bit by bit. In the end, he lost out finishing behind the Red Bull driver by only 0.725 second. Given a lap or two more, Norris said he would have secured his second victory.

It's amazing how Max was able to juggle sim racing and Formula 1. PHOTO FROM BMW

5. Max Verstappen won two races for the weekend. After securing pole position on Saturday, Verstappen jumped into the simulator and did his stint for the 2024 iRacing Nurburgring 24 Hours, before proceeding to compete in the real-world race. Not only did he win the Grand Prix with Red Bull, but he was also crowned the victor of the virtual race as part of BMW M Team Redline, along with three other drivers.

The next race will be the 2024 Monaco Grand Prix on May 26 (9pm, Philippine time). Is Formula 1 worth watching now that Red Bull is showing signs of struggling?

Leandro Mangubat

Leandro is our staff writer. Although having a background in mechanical engineering, he enjoys photography and writing more.