Red Bull Triumphs With 1-2 Finish & Ferrari Falters At 2022 F1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Reigning F1 champ Max Verstappen closed the points gap to rival Charles Leclerc after the Ferrari driver spun out late in his home race.

Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez
(Getty Images)

Red Bull experienced a significant reversal of fortunes at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in Italy over the weekend.

The team had been struggling through the first month of F1 action, with drivers Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez failing to complete races on more than on occasion. Yet in Italy, things couldn’t have gone much better, as Verstappen made good on pole position to finish first, followed by Perez in second.  

The win pushed Verstappen, the reigning F1 champion, up to 59 points in the 2022 drivers’ championship, just 27 points behind frontrunner Charles Leclerc of Ferrari. Perez is sitting just behind his teammate with 54 points. The Red Bull team, meanwhile, now sits at 113 points in the constructors’ championship, just 11 points behind leader Ferrari with 124 points.

While Red Bull had an excellent weekend in Italy, it was a disaster for the home team Ferrari and their faithful tifosi. 

Spanish driver Carlos Sainz, who recently inked a new deal with the team, was ruled out of the race almost immediately after colliding with Daniel Ricciardo of McLaren, who ultimately finished 18th

Things looked like they would go better for Sainz’s teammate Leclerc, who battled Verstappen, Perez and McLaren’s Lando Norris for a podium position for the bulk of the race. After changing to soft tires, the things took an ugly turn for the Monegasque driver when he made a gutsy push toward Perez and P2, but ultimately spun out of control and had pit again for a nose change. 

That hiccup pushed him from P3 down to P6. 

“It is a big shame,” he said after the race. “The spin should not have happened today. I mean, P3 was the best I could do, we didn’t have the pace for much more and I was too greedy and I paid the price for it and lost seven potential points compared to my third place I was before. 

“It is a shame. It’s seven points that are valuable at the end of the championship. For sure, this shouldn’t happen again.”

Leclerc’s blunder cleared the way for Norris to steal P3, and the young George Russell of Mercedes to zip into P4. 

It has been a great year for England’s Russell, now sitting at fourth in the standings, who is consistently outperforming his superstar teammate Lewis Hamilton in a car that clearly isn’t quick enough to compete for the championship at the moment. 

Hamilton, a seven-time champion, finished 13th in Italy. He now sits at seventh in the standings, with 28 points.

“Hi Lewis, sorry for what you have had to drive today,” team principal Toto Wolff told Hamilton after he finished the race. “I know this is undrivable and not what we deserve to score as a result. This was a terrible race. We will come out of this.”

“No worries, Toto,” a classy Hamilton responded. “Just keep on working hard.”