THE EMILIA ROMAGNA GRAND PRIX promised a lot with a moist observe to start out just for aggressive racing to be denied for too lengthy.
Lewis Hamilton had a race to neglect in Imola (Picture: GETTY)
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It was one other race to neglect for Lewis Hamilton whereas Charles Leclerc additionally struggled to compete with the Pink Bulls at Imola and FIA race director Niels Wittich was partly guilty. With a moist observe to start out on, there was loads of anticipation of thrilling motion at Imola.
All drivers began on the intermediate tyres with DRS unavailable because of the moist situations. However the observe quickly started to dry with some drivers quickly questioning whether or not to maneuver onto drys.
Daniel Ricciardo was first to chew the bullet in placing on the smooth compound and it was rapidly obvious that they have been the quicker tyre to be on. A frenzy ensued within the pits as all drivers got here in for slicks with loads of strikes up and down the grid.
Nevertheless, there was nonetheless no information of DRS being activated after the primary spherical of pits and the dearth of the additional tempo was beginning to spoil Hamilton’s possibilities of ending contained in the factors. A sluggish pit-stop, in addition to an unsafe launch from Esteban Ocon, pushed Hamilton again all the way down to 14th on the observe.
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Lewis Hamilton was caught behind Pierre Gasly for many of the race (Picture: GETTY)
And he was caught behind Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri for a number of laps, getting pissed off at not having an opportunity to overhaul. Imola is notoriously powerful to overhaul on anyway with restricted alternatives to make a transfer.
DRS offers drivers an additional 19kmh when energetic and is often sufficient for drivers to overhaul heading down the pit straight into Tamburello. However nonetheless, the race director refused to activate DRS and new guidelines launched this yr meant groups have been unable to query race management.
It wasn’t till lap 35 when DRS was finally enabled, at which level the tyres had already began to put on off. Hamilton had seemingly missed his alternative to not solely get previous Gasly, but in addition these in entrance with Yuki Tsunoda, working ninth, making a DRS practice behind him.
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The identical scenario arose for Leclerc additional up the grid in his battle with Sergio Perez for second. The Ferrari driver had been struggling to maintain up with Perez till the Mexican made a mistake on the closing nook, permitting Leclerc to push inside DRS vary.
However that second got here when DRS was inactive, leaving Leclerc with little choice however to again off into the primary nook. That proved to be his finest likelihood after which his race was virtually over after a mistake at Rivazza, damaging his entrance wing and compelled to pit which dropped him all the way down to ninth.
Each Leclerc and Hamilton had different points which clearly hampered their race, however the delay in activating DRS actually performed a component. And it isn’t been made instantly clear by the FIA why precisely they waited so lengthy to open the DRS window.