DRIVER REACTION: Electric battle at Emilia Romagna Grand Prix
The conversation is still rampant on social media following a dramatic Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at the historic Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari on Sunday.
Max Verstappen took his first-ever Italian GP win after an incredible display at Imola this weekend.
He was joined on the podium by a relentless Lewis Hamilton in second, who fought his way up the order after an incident on Lap 31 saw him fall from P2 to P9.
Lando Norris clinched the final podium place of the weekend and proved the McLaren to be a strong front-runner this season.
Let’s see what some of the drivers had to say following a hectic weekend:
Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes
“Considering I was facing the barrier at one stage, then a lap down, yeah, it was a difficult day in that regard. I had some really good pace in the rain and was catching but just a little bit impatient, maybe, with the backmarkers.
“I’m only human so these mistakes happen. I’m grateful that I was back in the race and could hunt down and get back to second. The car had a rough time today.
“I started first, should have been first at the finish but these things are sent to test us and we’ve got a great battle on our hands. Game on.”
Valtteri Bottas – Mercedes
“I’m okay physically. It was a half-decent shunt but obviously could have been a lot worse at that speed. George got close and decided to go for a move.
“Obviously the track is quite narrow, there is only one dry line and he went for the outside, there was space all the time for two cars but he obviously lost the car and hit me.
“I haven’t spoken to him so far: I couldn’t hear a thing what he was on about and obviously we will have a different perspective on it. It was a tough race until then, from where I started it wasn’t easy to make ground.
“But I need to take whatever positives I can from this weekend and move on.”
Max Verstappen – Red Bull
“I am of course very happy with this win for everyone in the Team and Honda. I think the key was of course the start as we had a great launch. I surprised myself as it was always hard to get off the line in the wet last year but we worked hard to try and improve that and it worked.
“The conditions were challenging out there, especially in the beginning and it was very hard to stay on track but we stayed out of trouble. I wouldn’t call it a dominant performance as Lewis was following me quite well and for him to come back to second after his incident means they have a lot of pace in that car. We won because we made the right calls with tyres at the right time and the Team managed everything well in these conditions.
“With the tyres degrading, choosing the right moment to go onto slicks wasn’t easy but we got it right. I had a little moment at the re-start trying to warm up the tyres with some throttle but luckily we didn’t spin. We still have to work hard to improve because it’s very close, but for now, I’m very happy with the result.
“I’m looking forward to Portimão because it’s an amazing track and then we go to a track we all know well in Barcelona. We’ll see what we can do but so far, it’s been a good start to the year.”
Sergio Perez – Red Bull
“The conditions out there were really difficult today and I made quite a few mistakes that were very costly. I struggled to retain any temperature in the tyres, so I lost it under the safety car and I got a 10-second penalty.
“It is of course important that I get used to the car and that I learn these lessons, but I messed up, I’m very disappointed in myself and really sorry to the Team. I think at the re-start the podium was ours and the pace of the car was good today, we should have finished one and two on the podium.
“Let’s focus on the next race now, we will work really hard as a Team and come back stronger.”
Lando Norris – McLaren
“Obviously very happy to get a podium. A very well-executed race from the team and from myself. I think I drove very well – I made a lot of good decisions – but it wasn’t easy.
“The beginning of the race was pretty tough. A bit of contact here and there, not a perfect start but I kept my head cool. I kept focused throughout because sometimes you know you’ve got to expect the red flags and the Safety Cars and think that more opportunities can come towards you later in the race.
“So, I kept that in mind and solidly came back through.
“There were a couple of people crashing and making mistakes ahead of me, which is what we’re here to take advantage of, and then we made a good decision at the end to go onto the Soft tyres and get ahead of Leclerc.
“We almost held on to P2 but not quite. It was a tough race, but very rewarding for myself and more importantly for the team, so a big thanks to them for bringing new parts, and working so hard on the car back at the factory to make it better every weekend.”
Daniel Ricciardo – McLaren
“One of those races where you’ve got rain on the laps to grid and you’re not really sure how it’s going to go. I managed to get a position at the start and was then running in fifth for a bit. Just as the track started to dry I grained the front right, so I couldn’t really keep a good pace.
“For the restart, we put on the Soft tyre to make the most of a potential standing start. I tried to keep on top of the Soft until the end of this long stint but, just couldn’t really manage it. I think both front and rear tyres I struggled with.
“So, certainly not an awesome race, but I think to come home sixth is good for the Constructors’ points with Lando in third. Congrats to Lando, he had a great race and it’s awesome to see the car has the pace. My race pace was nothing too special. I’ve just got to keep working on it and improve.”