There is less than a week before the lights will go out once again for the second round of the 2021 Formula 1 season. The race is going to be held in Imola that will host a Formula One GP for the second year in a row.
After a great start to the season in Bahrain, the teams and drivers are ready to either consolidate or improve what they did almost three weeks ago in Sakhir. The Italian circuit has different characteristics, and the outcome of the race can be different from the one seen in the season opener.
Track Name: Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari.
Location: Imola, Italy.
Track length: 4.909km.
Race distance: 309.049km
Lap record (race): 1:15.484 (Lewis Hamilton 2020).
Starting from the team that never dies, Mercedes. They were not the favorite in Bahrain, but Lewis Hamilton managed to win, and Valtteri Bottas finished third, setting the fastest lap of the race. That means that the Silver Arrows can aim to win this weekend as well, even though beating Red Bull will not be easy.
Speaking of Red Bull, the outcome of the Bahrain GP was not the one they expected. Everyone inside the team was sure to win, and they are disappointed to have lost the victory. Because of that, they will be hungry for success in Italy. Plus, their car is extremely competitive, perhaps more than the W12. With Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez in great shape, they can surely win the Emilia Romagna GP.
The team that occupies the third spot in the standings is McLaren. They showed a great pace in qualifying in Bahrain and a decent one in the race. With Lando Norris already incredibly fast and Daniel Ricciardo who seems to be adapting to the car fairly quickly, the English team can still aim to finish right behind Red Bull and Mercedes. However, the battle with Ferrari will be a hard one.
Ferrari did improve a lot compared to last year. The next GP will be their home one, and they want to perform well. That is why the Scuderia will bring new updates to stay in front of McLaren. Charles Leclerc proved to be very fast in qualifying, and during the race, his pace was faster than Ricciardo’s. Carlos Sainz said that the car feels good, and he is adapting to the SF21, meaning that in Imola, he can be even closer to his teammate.
Another team that can challenge both McLaren and Ferrari, as Pierre Gasly said, is AlphaTauri. They were fast both in qualifying and in the race. Their French driver was unlucky on Sunday, but the rookie Yuki Tsunoda showed that the car is fast during the race too. He performed many overtakes, and if everything goes smoothly for them, they can be somewhere near the top in Italy.
A team that had a disappointing weekend in Bahrain was Aston Martin. Many people expected to see a great performance from them, but they only scored one point with Lance Stroll. Their new driver, Sebastian Vettel, said that he does not feel at home in his Aston, and he struggled a lot throughout the whole weekend, and he also crashed into Esteban Ocon on Sunday. There is a lot of work to do for the English team if they want to repeat the great season they had in 2020, and they want to recover starting from Imola.
Just outside the top ten finished Alfa Romeo, with Kimi Raikkonen in P11 and Antonio Giovinazzi in P12. Despite not scoring any point in Bahrain, the team is confident that the 2021 season will be a lot better compared to the last one. Plus, after what they showed in Bahrain, they could also score some points in Imola and get back into the midfield battle, which is closer than ever this year.
Just as Aston Martin, another team that disappointed many people was Alpine. After their performance during the pre-season testing, they seemed quick, but in Bahrain, it was not like that. Probably, in Imola, they will still struggle a bit, and if Fernando Alonso and Ocon want to score points, they must do everything perfectly otherwise it will not be easy for the French team to get inside the top ten.
Williams did not have a great weekend in Bahrain, but after many seasons of struggle, they are trying to come back. As Nicholas Latifi said, they expect to be faster in Imola, and maybe they can also score some points in 2021. The car might not be fast enough to be in the midfield battle, but for sure, George Russell can bring it to the limit and bring some good results to the English team, while Latifi still seems to struggle a bit.
Finally, the team that will probably struggle the most this year, Haas. They already said that they want to focus on 2022, and they will not bring new upgrades this year. The one in Bahrain was the first F1 race for both Haas drivers, Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin. They both need time to adapt and gain experience. It was not an ideal weekend for Mazepin as he spun after four corners on Sunday and crashed. Mick did the same some laps later, but he managed to finish the race and collect data. In Imola, their performance will not be much different from the one seen in Bahrain.