After a three-week hiatus, the F1 World Championship arrives in Europe for the 2021 Emilia-Romagna GP (April 16-18). The second round of the 2021 calendar will take place at the legendary Enzo e Dino Ferrari track in Ímola where the high point will be a very much anticipated sequel to the exciting fight between Red Bull and Mercedes that we saw in Bahrain.
At the last round, the team of the silver star took the win amidst a heated controversy, but Red Bull was definitely faster in Sakhir. It was just a very contentious decision by the FIA that took the victory away from Max Verstappen and handed it to Lewis Hamilton.
The Dutchman will now be eager to counterstrike in Italy, where the bendy track plays to his advantage. Verstappen must now play on the superiority of the RB16B against the W12 to impose himself at such a favourable location.
There is, however, a lot more at stake than seeing who takes the gold at the thrilling Italian appointment.
The Austrian team is on a mission to put an end to the dictatorship of the ‘German Empire’, which was established at the arrival of the hybrid era. If they are to succeed, they need the help of the other Red Bull driver, Checo Pérez, who must qualify for Q3.
Anyhow, the Brackley structure will not give up its supremacy without a fight. During the resting period that has followed the Bahrain GP, Mercedes has been busy trying to remediate the problems they suffered in the rear area of the car and which caused instability and oversteering.
Ferrari at home
This will also be a very special appointment for Ferrari. Unfortunately, the Tifosi are not to be present to cheer them along this time around but, in any case, Maranello will be on its home turf. The extra boost of motivation will hopefully serve to confirm the good sensations felt at the desert races.
For his first engagement dressed in red, Carlos Sainz gave a correct performance to take the eighth position, but he will attempt to step up a bit this Sunday. Together with his partner Charles Leclerc, they must build up the team effort that will allow Ferrari to continue climbing positions.
McLaren, to remain leaders of the midfield
Closely Ferrari, McLaren will try and maintain its position and establish itself as the definitive leaders of the midfield. The MCL35M has adapted flawlessly to its new German engine.
This, coupled up with a great chassis and a diffuser which is the envy of its rivals, places McLaren in a very strong position. Its great set of drivers, Lando Norris, fourth in Bahrain, and newcomer Daniel Ricciardo, will do the rest. It wouldn’t be surprising to see them dangerously close to the podium places.
How Aston Martin will perform, on the other hand, is still very much a mystery. The green cars are suffering from the same stability problems as their older brothers from Mercedes.
But technical issues aside, all eyes will be fixed on Sebastian Vettel. His performance in Bahrain, which included another of his trademark mistakes, ended up with a pitiful fifteenth place.
A result far from what it is to be expected of a four-time world champion. Criticisms rained down on the German driver. He now must prove he can give an excellent performance, otherwise, his future in the Silverstone structure can go up in the air.
Meanwhile, Alpha Tauri is arriving at the 2021 Emilia-Romagna GP in great spirits. The AT02 has demonstrated to be a reliable and extremely fast machine. Pierre Gasly & Yuki Tsunoda would be dreaming of matching the fourth place achieved by Daniil Kvyat in this same track in 2020.
One step below we find Alfa Romeo. The team from Hinwil has taken a firm step forward. Kimi Raikkonen & Antonio Giovinazzi will be out to try and snatch the first points of the season.
Finally, Williams Racing & Haas F1 Team will engage in their very own fight to not come in last, a place that seems destined for the American team.
Images of 2021 Emilia-Romagna GP: F1.com.