until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula 1

Winners and losers from F1's 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

6 min read

The 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was far from a Formula 1 classic but it did feature plenty of visible evidence that the Imola circuit was pushing all 20 drivers to their limits.

That inevitably led to some starring drives as well as some performances that others would like to quickly forget.

Here's our pick of the main winners and losers:

Winner: Max Verstappen

Wins in both the virtual and real-world for Verstappen this weekend. And he had to work properly hard for both.

"The [hard] tyres just fell out of the operating window and it was just like driving on ice," he explained.

"It got really snappy and you can feel when the tyres are not gripping up anymore. Like at Turn 7, I almost ended up in the grandstand at some point."

Verstappen drove around it brilliantly though, driving some "really weird" racing lines and never pushing beyond the limits of his not-completely-compliant RB20: "You can't suddenly force half a second out of it when you don't have the balance."

He was left thankful for Red Bull's (and McLaren's) rear wing choices that protected him on the straights and will feel Imola was a proper win against the odds given he genuinely was "nowhere" on the long runs on Friday. - Josh Suttill

Loser: Sergio Perez

Like the RB19, the RB20 has been a car good enough not only for Perez to rack up silverware when he's on the upper side of his performance range, but for him to sometimes get away with being on the lower side.

But it was not that car this weekend. Hence that Q2 exit. Hence an unremarkable opening stint with minimal progress. Hence a race made into a complete write-off by car damage from a couple of off-track excursions.

Verstappen's pace drop-off at the end of his own hard stint made Perez's race look slightly better - both just lost temperature.

But it's also true that Verstappen's drop-off showed just how valuable having a rear gunner running in second would've been in this race - and Perez was nowhere near providing that safety net. - Valentin Khorounzhiy

Winner: McLaren

Yes McLaren and Lando Norris lost the battle but they have the best indication yet that they can win the war.

Norris proved Miami was no fluke with his all-out late-race charge that put far more pressure on Verstappen than the Red Bull driver was able to put on Norris late in Miami.

It's by no means confirmation that McLaren is F1's absolute second-fastest car, but it's the second weekend in a row where it's been toe-to-toe with Red Bull and that's a remarkable turnaround from a so-so 2024 start. - JS

Loser: Ferrari

If Red Bull and McLaren are winners, you have to class Ferrari as a loser.

Yes it's still well clear of Mercedes (which has far, far more work to do to catch up) but Ferrari had a sizeable upgrade and Charles Leclerc had some strong early-stint pace relative to Norris.

But it transpired that Norris was simply working hard to bring his tyres into the right window. Once he did that, Leclerc had no answer and had to settle for a distant third best.

Both Leclerc and Carlos Sainz complained that the team's ERS deployment wasn't up to scratch compared to Red Bull's and McLaren's.

Sainz in particular struggled with the balance of his Ferrari and appeared to be a step behind Leclerc all weekend long. - JS

Winner: Lance Stroll

Stroll's two-point haul is par for the course for what is still probably (just about?) the fifth-fastest car in F1, and it owed a lot to the specific first stint-extending strategy he was on.

But he did his part, bringing home the best finish an Aston Martin driver could reasonably hope for - after a weekend in which he looked a solid match for Alonso throughout, then didn't buckle when Alonso did.

Obviously, this needs to be the norm. - VK

Loser: George Russell

Russell essentially sacrificed an intra-team victory so that Mercedes could get one extra point.

You get the sense Russell wasn't totally on board with that sacrifice but he still followed the order.

"As a driver, you want to finish in the highest position possible, and all weekend I've been ahead of my team-mate," Russell said after the race.

"I was ahead the whole race, comfortably. Then I sort of lose the position for the sake of it. We got the extra point.

"As I said, I'm not going to talk about it tonight. It's P6, it's not for a podium or a victory."

As he says it's only for sixth and seventh, but no racing driver is going to enjoy throwing an intra-team fight that they looked certain to win. - JS

Winner: Kevin Magnussen

This was the ideal response to Miami really. After driving so controversially there that McLaren wanted him banned for a race, then exiting Imola qualifying in Q1 because (ironically) a McLaren impeded him, Magnussen looked to be facing a difficult race fighting near the back while Haas team-mate Nico Hulkenberg fought for the minor points places.

But Hulkenberg gradually went backwards after a fast start, beaten to the top 10 by Perez’s underwhelming Red Bull, Stroll’s recovering Aston Martin and the hugely impressive (all weekend) Yuki Tsunoda.

Magnussen started way down in 18th but overcame both Saubers, both Alpines and overtook Daniel Ricciardo’s RB near the end, finishing just one place and 1.157 seconds behind Hulkenberg. 

A very good Sunday performance from a guy who is very much driving for his F1 future. - Ben Anderson

Loser: Fernando Alonso

Alonso's Saturday morning error will be the takeaway from the weekend here, although he still should've had a shot at Q2.

But is it his uncharacteristic mistake that should worry him - or the fact that Aston's development path doesn't seem to be getting it done right now?

The car flirted with a race win in Monaco last year, but you would be ever-so-brave to bet on anything like that repeating in 2024, and the early verdict on Aston's latest package has ranged from equivocating (Alonso) to underwhelmed (Stroll).

Let's hope there are better cars coming during that soon-to-kick-in multi-year contract of Alonso's. - VK

Winner: The Red Bull under-pressure narrative

Ferrari might not have been the one to challenge Red Bull this Sunday but its team boss Fred Vasseur summed up an important point very well after the race.

"Good news for me, good news for F1, good news for the championship. You have three teams in seven seconds after 70 laps," he said.

"It's less than one tenth a lap. It was almost the same from the beginning of the weekend, and we'll start from scratch next week in Monaco, with a different track layout, different corners."

We potentially have three different teams capable of winning multiple F1 races in one season for the first time since 2019.

You no longer have to go into every weekend and Sunday with only a faint hope of an interesting fight for the race win. - JS

Loser: Alex Albon

The good news for Albon and Williams - as he himself pointed out post-race, albeit straining to call it a real positive - is that its main rivals aren't scoring too much, and that it wasn't in a too-dissimilar position last year.

But the fact remains the upgraded, weight-shedding FW46 still didn't particularly convince at Imola, even before the post-pitstop wheel drama fully torpedoed his grand prix.

RB's recent rise spells a bit of trouble for Williams's quest to put anything on the board here - and, fresh off signing a contract extension with Albon, Williams will need to show a lot more to silence those who were puzzled by Albon's long-term commitment. - VK

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • More Networks