F1 pecking order to keep evolving at Imola

"Where there is rubber down and a normal track"


8 May 2024 - 09:34
F1 pecking order to keep evolving (...)

The 2024 pecking order looks set to keep evolving at next weekend’s return to action in Imola.

When the championship-leading Red Bull trailed McLaren’s Lando Norris home last Sunday, the German newspaper Bild cheekily declared in its headline: "Formula 1 winner is NOT Verstappen".

Max Verstappen did, however, emerge fastest from both of the qualifying sessions, as well as winning the Saturday sprint. But he also complained of poor car handling all weekend and on Sunday damaged his car by hitting a bollard.

Dutch racing driver Tom Coronel told Viaplay: "We heard Max say ’I can’t turn in’. I see it very simply. He made that mistake himself.

"Then you have damage, then you’re just surviving, then you’re finishing a race with a handicap."

Norris also benefitted from the timing of the safety car, which some believe was actually a mistake by the FIA race director.

"They are so used to having Verstappen leading the pack that they sent the safety car in front of him," Ferrari boss Frederic Vasseur smiled.

Former Red Bull driver Robert Doornbos told Ziggo Sport that he thinks Verstappen will be back in top form next time out at Imola.

"This (Miami) was a sprint race weekend on a temporary circuit," he said. "When we go to Imola, where there is rubber down and a normal track, and you will see that things will be different."

An editorial at Het Laatste Nieuws agreed: "It has been a long time since anyone could beat Red Bull in what were quite normal circumstances.

"We will only know whether it was a one-off in Imola."

F1’s newest race winner Norris was at the wheel of what McLaren CEO Zak Brown called the "B version" in Miami, which he said was a "big step" over the launch model.

But Red Bull, as well as Ferrari, will have key car updates in the luggage next weekend in Imola.

"The season begins again in Imola," Aston Martin team boss Mike Krack told AS newspaper, revealing that the Silverstone-based team will also have an Imola upgrade.

"Everyone will improve their cars there because it’s better for the logistics. It will be a good opportunity and yes, we will make changes."

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