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Emilia Romagna Grand Prix: Race team notes - Pirelli

NEWS STORY
19/05/2024

Another victory for Max Verstappen, but Lando Norris came very close to repeating his Miami win from a fortnight ago: between qualifying and the race, the gap between the Red Bull driver and his McLaren rival was only 816 thousandths of a second (91 in qualifying and 725 in the race). Ferrari's Charles Leclerc made it to the third step of the podium, the trio covered by less than eight seconds or 7"916 to be precise.

This was win number 59 for Verstappen, his third in a row at Imola (2021, 2022 and 2024) equalling Michael Schumacher's achievement from 2002 to 2004. It was Red Bull's 118th win.

15 drivers lined up for the start on the Medium tyre. Three, Perez, Sargeant and Zhou, opted for the Hard, while Alonso, starting from pit lane and Gasly, took a gamble on the Soft. As widely predicted it was a one-stop race, with Medium and Hard the favourite choices. Starting on the Softs simply did not pay off, both the above mentioned drivers having to make an additional stop. With three laps to go, Aston Martin's Spanish driver fitted another set of Softs, probably with the aim of setting the fastest race lap, but this actually went to George Russell who also made an extra stop on lap 52 with this in mind, thus bringing Mercedes the extra point. The prize for the longest stint of all goes to Valtteri Bottas (Sauber) who is no stranger to this exercise. He completed 54 of his 62 laps on the C3, while Kevin Magnussen (Haas) and Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) topped the laps on the C4, extending the first stint to lap 37.

Mario Isola: "A very close race, for the most part without any particularly exciting moments, but it livened up towards the end as Norris closed on Verstappen. On an old style track like Imola, overtaking has always been difficult and this year was no exception. A strategy based on a single stop was, as predicted, the quickest and was adopted by the majority, with the first stint run on the Medium and the second with the Hard. Both compounds worked quite well despite the fact that, especially at the front of the field, the drivers pushed practically all race long, with track temperatures oscillating between 43 and 50 C, even if there were a few clouds overhead.

"The predicted pit stop window proved to be accurate: in fact, those who stopped very early then found themselves struggling towards the end. Actually, degradation was not very high because there were few signs of graining.

"Finally, I must congratulate the wonderful crowd at Imola who were as passionate as ever, once again putting on a great show in the grandstands which I'm sure the drivers and teams enjoyed."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Imola here.

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