F1 news LIVE: Emilia Romagna GP build-up as ‘time bomb’ Max Verstappen tipped for Imola success


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Follow all the latest news and reaction from the world of F1 as the teams prepare for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

It’s still a case of trying to fix issues and stop porpoising for several drivers, with Mercedes particularly affected so far by the phenomenon which is making it tough for Lewis Hamilton and George Russell to control their cars. Ferrari are so far handling matters best, with Charles Leclerc winning two of the three races in 2022 and sitting comfortably top of the drivers’ standings. Max Verstappen won the other Grand Prix, in thrilling style in Saudi Arabia, but apart from that success he’s yet to finish a race.

That has left Red Bull concerned that he might be getting frustrated and searching to resolve their own problems, but the reigning champion has been tipped to bounce back in style at Imola this coming weekend – where we’ll also see the first sprint qualifying session of the season takes place. Elsewhere McLaren will be hoping to emulate their relative success in Australia last time out and Hamilton is still hoping Mercedes can barge their way into the title fight before long.

Follow all the latest F1 news and reaction after a thrilling start to the 2022 season.

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Lewis Hamilton wants to ‘stay optimistic’ Mercedes can ‘get in the fight’ for F1 title

Lewis Hamilton remains hopeful Mercedes can challenge for the drivers’ championship this season despite a difficult start to 2022.

The reigning constructors champions have been playing catch up behind pace setters Ferrari and Red Bull in the opening three races.

And while Red Bull’s reliability issues have left George Russell a surprising second in the standings, many feel Mercedes do not have the car to compete for the title.

However, Hamilton is still optimistic that they can improve and begin to fight for victories as the season progresses.

Speaking to GP Fans, the seven-time world champion said: “I prefer to stay optimistic. There are 20 races to go.

“If you think realistically in terms of the way the sport goes in terms of development, the top teams often develop at a similar pace. Will that be the case with this new car? Who knows.”

More from the seven-time champion here:

Karl Matchett20 April 2022 10:06

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When are the F1 sprint races in 2022?

Formula 1’s introduction of the sprint races were a new innovation brought in at the start of the 2021 season.

A handful of races were given the go-ahead so that qualifying would take place on the Friday rather than the Saturday.

The sprint race would then replace qualifying on the Saturday, before the race took place as usual on the Sunday.

Here is all you need to know about the sprint races for 202:

Michael Jones19 April 2022 19:00

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Hamilton ‘sulking’ after Mercedes poor start, claims Hakkinen

Ex-Formula 1 driver Mika Hakkinen believes Lewis Hamilton may be looking to leave Mercedes after a bad start to the 2022 season.

Hamilton has been on the podium once this campaign, a third-place finish in Bahrain, leaving him in fifth in the driver standings. The British driver would have been targeting a record eighth title this season but he is currently 43 points behind leader Charles Leclerc.

The same can’t be said for Hamilton’s teammate George Russell who slid into second after a podium finish at the Australian Grand Prix.

“George comes from a team with little or no success. He had some good results in qualifying but not in races. All these achievements with Mercedes are new to him. Everything feels super-good,” Hakkinen said.

“For Lewis, this is a disaster. And with George being ahead, it’s even worse. I wonder how Lewis behaves in the team meetings – I bet he’s sulking. I can imagine the sulking. There’s lots of complaining and whining.

“And now starts the natural thought process of drivers. ‘Should I go somewhere else?’

“It’s a fact. He’s been at Mercedes for years and won multiple championships. Now that things are not going well, he’ll start thinking of switching teams.”

Michael Jones19 April 2022 18:40

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‘He won’t win any more’: Vettel ‘should retire’, says ex-F1 team boss

Former F1 team boss Giancarlo Minardi has urged Sebastian Vettel to withdraw from the sport because he ‘won’t win any more races’.

The four-time world champion missed the first two races of the 2022 season after testing positive for coronavirus.

He then returned at the Australian Grand Prix but only qualified in 18th place, before then retiring from the race on the Sunday.

And Minardi, who was in charge of his self-named team from 1985 until 2006 when it was bought by Red Bull and renamed Toro Rosso, feels Vettel should call it a day.

Speaking to Corriere della Sera, he said: “He was unlucky to have missed two GPs with Covid, in the third one he went out.

“But he should withdraw. He has a lot of money, he’s won a lot of titles and he won’t win any more [races].”

Michael Jones19 April 2022 18:25

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Aston Martin struggling with porpoising issue

Aston Martin technical director Andrew Green believes the team must fix its porpoising issue before it can find the pace to compete better on the grid.

Aston Martin are the only team yet to win a point this season while Sebastian Vettel has endured a nightmare start, missing the opening two races due to Covid before failing to finish the Australian Grand Prix.

Green admitted the team are still struggling to solve the issue after designing the car to go “low and hard” in the hope of maximizing downforce.

“It wasn’t possible to shoot in all directions in detail,” Green said. “Instead, you try out different paths in the initial phase and see how they develop. To do that, you set a target where you’d like to end up with the field flow and the lap time. Where the jumps are the biggest and where you think it’s most likely to land at the target, you stay.

“That’s what the geometry of your car tells you. If you choose a different flow field than a competitor at the beginning, you’ll end up with two different cars.

“To [maximise the downforce], you set a vehicle height for yourself that you think will give you the most performance. Then the shape of the car evolves from that,”

“We went low and hard to the road. We could see the goal, so it seemed like the right way to go. None of our simulations suggested that it would give us a problem with the instability of the car.”

Michael Jones19 April 2022 18:08

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Max Verstappen is Red Bull’s ‘important figure’ in partnership ‘chess game’, says Helmut Marko

“Max Verstappen is certainly an important figure in the whole chess game,” Marko told Formel.de. “It’s not absurd for manufacturers to look at that and in that respect it was important for the team to be able to say, ‘Look, we have the fastest and best driver tied up’.

Michael Jones19 April 2022 17:52

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Sergio Perez wants Red Bull to ‘start again from zero’ after reliability failures

Red Bull driver Sergio Perez is hopeful the team can “start again from zero” after reliability failures cost them a host of points in the opening three races of the season.

Both Perez and Max Verstappen looked in contention for a podium place in the first race in Bahrain before engine problems saw both of them fail to finish.

Michael Jones19 April 2022 17:36

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Leclerc excited by chance to fight for F1 title

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc is happy to be back fighting for the drivers’ championship after a sensational start to the 2022 season.

The Monegasque driver has already picked up victories in Bahrain and Australia to go with his second place in Saudi Arabia.

Leclerc’s impressive opening three races have left him with a huge 34-point lead in the standings as his title rivals have suffered various pace and reliability issues.

And the 24-year-old was in a positive headspace while discussing his championship credentials ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix this weekend.

Speaking to Sky Sports, he said: “Obviously we only had the third race, so it’s difficult to think about the championship, but to be honest, we’ve got a very strong car, a very reliable car too.

“We’ve always been there, so I hope it continues like this and if it does, then we probably have chances for the championship, which obviously makes me smile after the last two years that have been difficult for the team and obviously for myself . It’s great to be back in this position.”

Michael Jones19 April 2022 17:22

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Mercedes engineers doing ‘enormous’ work on car

Mercedes chief strategist James Vowles says an “enormous” amount of work is being done on the team’s car ahead of Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Despite the sluggish start, Mercedes are second in the constructors’ title with Hamilton’s teammate George Russell runner-up in the driver standings. And Vowles says the team are dedicated to improving the car ahead of this weekend’s Emilia Romagna GP.

“I think often people see the race team on TV and think that’s the entire team. It’s not,” he said. “We are fortunate to have a base in Brackley, and in Brixworth, with hundreds of people working every hour they possibly can make this racing car fast, competitive and a championship winner.”

Michael Jones19 April 2022 17:04

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Williams close to fixing key car issues

Williams’ head of vehicle performance Dave Robson says the team are close to solving their porpoising issues.

The team have been struggling this year but they bagged their first points of the season when Alex Albon managed to fight through the field and finish 10th at the Australian GP>

“In terms of the ride height and the set-up, the porpoising, we are getting pretty close to operating in the right kind of window now,” he said.

“If we get it a little bit wrong we risk damaging the floor so that is probably our limit, we are pretty close to where we want to run it.

“I think the rest of it, other than that one little balance issue we are trying to sort out, we just need a bit more load, that will help get the tires in the window and make us quicker everywhere.”

Michael Jones19 April 2022 16:52


www.independent.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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