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F1 Race Preview: Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

F1 Race Preview: Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Red Bull have once again secured a 1-2 finish, and Max Verstappen won yet another GP at an incredible pace. Can anyone stop Red Bull? Read on to inform your predictions ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix with expert insight from Pinnacle.

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2023 F1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

When: 21 May, 2023

Where: Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola, Italy

Laps: 63

Distance: 309.049 km

Red Bull have been nailing 1-2 finishes for fun this season, but it was at Imola last season that Red Bull managed their first 1-2 finish since 2016.

Uniquely, this fast-paced track runs anti-clockwise, whilst most international circuits run clockwise.

The track has a chequered past, and had previously been dropped from the F1 season for over 10 years, before returning as a one-off replacement in 2020. However, the track was once again required as a replacement in 2021, and Imola has remained in the calendar ever since.

Imola is a sweeping track, but there are still plenty of places where things can go wrong. The exit kerbs on turn nine are unsighted, as drivers bravely fly through the unseen apex. Turns 11 and 12 can get bumpy, and the Variante Alta is very tight chicane.

Miami GP: What did we learn?

Max Verstappen surged from ninth position to secure another victory, along with another 1-2 finish for Red Bull. Fernando Alonso continues to impress in the Aston Martin with another podium finish.

However, his performance is much less impressive when you consider that the Spanish driver was still over 26 seconds behind Verstappen.

Miami is a modern street circuit, with tight and gruelling streets that feature intensely sharp corners. Strong performance on a track like Miami doesn’t exactly guarantee the same outcome on a long, sweeping circuit like Imola, which flows much like the Santerno river that lies adjacent to it.

The Red Bull show continues

Imola is the first of three consecutive European Grands Prix before Formula 1 flies over to Canada in June.

This is important, as there are reports that young AlphaTauri driver Nyck de Vries has been given until the end of this European leg to drastically improve, or he risks losing his seat. The rumour mill suggests that Red Bull legend Daniel Ricciardo could take his seat.

After five races, five drivers have stood on the podium. Only one man has failed to step down, and that is Max Verstappen.

The two-time champion has looked nearly unbeatable, with only his teammate Sergio Pérez providing any genuine competition – but even Pérez found himself five seconds behind the champion in Miami.

Red Bull have notched the 1-2 podium finish in four of those five races.

Emilia Romagna GP: Who will win?

So, can anyone genuinely challenge Red Bull? Imola will see plenty of upgraded vehicles. Mercedes will be running an 80% new vehicle for Italy, but even George Russell has downplayed the potential effect on performance this change may have.

It almost looks like the only person who can stop Verstappen is Verstappen himself.

His own mistakes that have brought more trouble his way than any driver applying pressure. Sergio Pérez is the champion’s chief competition, and even whilst driving the same car, Pérez has been several seconds behind Verstappen.

Racers will get few chances to pass each other, too. In a season that has already been criticised for a lack of passes, Imola is unlikely to impress. The track has a single drag reduction system (DRS) zone, and is notorious for being tough to pull off passes.

Charles Leclerc can’t decide if he’s amazing or disappointing this season, and his hit-and-miss form appears to favour misses more than hits this time around. Despite driving at home, Ferrari are unlikely to threaten Red Bull.

Mercedes’ car changes may help them push for a podium, but only the third step. It really is Red Bull’s race to lose, and if they keep steady, they’ll likely perform yards ahead of the competition, as they have done for the entire season thus far.

Are you ready for the drama and extreme speed of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix? Sign up to Pinnacle and enhance your experience with Pinnacle's fantastic F1 odds for each race.

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Matty Treuberg
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