Verstappen-Leclerc duel, Mercedes out of the points, showers: The Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix in question

At what time will the departure be given?

Lights out at 3:00 p.m. sharp. The usual schedule for European races.

Verstappen or Leclerc, who will get the better start?

Small advantage to Charles Leclerc. The Monegasque, who has always started from the front row this season, is very efficient in this exercise. Especially since the Ferrari is a little less capricious when the lights go out. Max Verstappen, he had a little more trouble controlling skating, especially in Australia.

This was again the case during the sprint race, during which the reigning world champion mentioned a gearbox synchronization problem. He will therefore still have to be wary of his rival: “Especially if I start like today”, he smiled on Saturday. Remember, all the same, that the Dutchman had done well at Imola in 2020 and 2021.

Has Red Bull reversed the balance of power with Ferrari?

Difficult to see clearly. Charles Leclerc believes race paces are similar, Carlos Sainz hinted Red Bull now have a small advantage and Scuderia racing director Laurent Mekies revealed the Italian team expected to suffer from graining during the sprint. And that is precisely what cost the pole to the Monegasque.

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It is likely that the changes made by Red Bull to Imola have made it possible to widen the operating window of the RB18, even if Christian Horner and Helmut Marko have tried to minimize their contribution. This desire to advance masked, on one side or the other, is a rather good sign for the suspense. And since the Enzo e Dino Ferrari layout only offers one conducive to overtaking, we can expect new battles between Verstappen and Leclerc.

Why can Ferrari (still) have a smile?

The Scuderia will approach a Grand Prix in Italy with two drivers occupying the first two places in the world championship for the first time since… 6433 days. And the 2004 Italian Grand Prix.

Bottas, Magnussen, Alonso…: who will have the best race?

Valtteri Bottas may have missed the entire second free practice session on Saturday morning, he still seemed extremely comfortable during the sprint, notably paying Fernando Alonso at the cost of a very nice overtaking. Although it lacks reliability, the Alfa Romeo performs well on this track and Guanyu Zhou demonstrated on Friday that the changing track conditions were not a problem.

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Reassembled like a cuckoo clock, Fernando Alonso could still be restrained by an Alpine which wears out the tires excessively. And have to look behind. For Magnussen, it’s the unknown: the Dane was penalized by a bad choice of tires on the sprint. And in practice, Haas passed his Friday… but missed his Saturday.

Will Mercedes integrate the points?

On a regular basis, the Silver Arrows do not have the potential to aim higher. The world champion team will still have to rely on its ability to maximize its results, which has allowed it to save the furniture since the start of the season, to complete another painful weekend.

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Too uncompetitive in terms of top speed, the Mercedes will not have the means to scrape places in the long pit straight, even with the DRS. George Russell (11th) seems to suffer less than Lewis Hamilton (14th) but both expect to experience a long and difficult race. Toto Wolff felt that there was “throw everything away“during this weekend.

What can the French hope for?

Esteban Ocon believes that the Alpine is much better than the 16th place he will occupy on the starting grid. In any case, he will have the engine power to recover, but getting the points would be quite a performance.

Pierre Gasly, he still lost big on the sprint. He revealed with our colleagues from L’Equipe that Alpha Tauri was thinking of changing his rear wing for an attack race. He would then start from the pit lane. And bet on the appearance of rain.

Should we expect a lively race?

She could be at the forefront. Much less behind, since the sprint race has restored order on the grid. Unless the weather reshuffles the cards.

What is the weather forecast ?

Rain could fall heavily an hour before departure. Showers and thunderstorms are announced for the race…

What strategy does Pirelli recommend?

In the event of a dry race, the manufacturer recommends a one-stop race, in order to favor position on a circuit that is not conducive to overtaking and where a stop costs 28 seconds. With a start on “medium” or “soft” tires, to be swapped for “hard”.

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