In a thrilling wet-to-dry race, Lance rose above the chaos to secure eighth place in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. Sebastian was unfortunate to have to retire just a lap before the finish after showing a good turn of pace to move up the field, despite a pre-race setback that caused a pitlane start.
That was a lot of fun with some exciting racing. We have scored some important points and I really enjoyed myself.
“That was a lot of fun with some exciting racing. We have scored some important points and I really enjoyed myself today. The weather made things a little bit interesting and we made the most of it. All credit to the crew on the grid for getting my car repaired after the brake problem, too. We also overcame a gear shift issue, which cost us lap time, but we managed to hang on until the end. It was just a very busy afternoon with so much happening, so I am really pleased to have scored four points. The car was nicely balanced this weekend, but we still have some work to do to catch the teams ahead of us. That is where our focus is now as we get ready for Portugal.”
We gambled on fitting the dry tyres early and, as the track dried more, there was a phase of the race where we were quite strong.
“Things did not go our way today. Even before the race, we had issues going to the grid and I had to start from the pit lane. That was not too painful because it was a wet start to the race, but the time penalty changed everything, especially because it came 20 minutes into the race. The track conditions were quite difficult in the beginning and it was hard to overtake, but a dry line soon appeared. We gambled on fitting the dry tyres early and, as the track dried more, there was a phase of the race where we were actually quite strong. Then there was the red flag, which was the right decision, and for the restart we chose to fit the soft tyres and gambled on a standing start happening, but they decided on a rolling start. Those soft tyres obviously had higher degradation compared to the medium, which made things more difficult at the end.”
Lance’s hugely impressive drive to eighth place, under pressure all the way through, lifted the spirits of everyone in the team.
“After an Imola weekend that was challenging from a number of perspectives, Lance’s hugely impressive drive to eighth place, under pressure all the way through, lifted the spirits of everyone in the team. He had gear shift issues throughout, but managed them very capably. Sebastian had a troubled run that ended in a DNF just one lap from the end, which was disappointing for him and the team, but he got a lot of very useful mileage in the car, which is a positive because he is still playing catch-up to some extent as a result of his lack of running in pre-season testing. Both our cars suffered brake overheating problems on the way to the grid, and we are currently investigating the root cause in order to implement a permanent solution.”
#IAMSTORIES - Alessandro
Ahead of the 2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, we're shining a spotlight on our local fan community. Alessandro tells his Formula One story and explains where his love of both Aston Martin and Sebastian Vettel began, and his hopes for the team in the future.
Keys to Imola
The track has a wide range of slow-, medium- and high-speed corners, but the removal of the old pit-straight chicane tempts teams into reducing drag for that blast from Rivazza all the way to Tamburello, which in turn hurts cornering performance. Like Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, it’s a high-speed track with minimal run-off.
Only Singapore and Monaco offer a greater passing challenge. Discounting the first lap and Safety Car restart, there were just six overtakes in 2020 – and five required DRS. This year, Formula One has announced a revised DRS zone, so expect more overtakes this time out. Imola has the highest pit-time loss of the season at around 28 seconds. That pushes teams towards a conventional one-stop strategy and makes any unplanned pit-stops particularly costly.
Predicting Safety Cars is tricky due to the lack of relevant historical data (the race was last conventionally run in 2006). Last year, there was one Safety Car appearance and a single Virtual Safety Car period, but the lack of run-off and trackside gravel traps means there’s always potential for caution periods – potentially turning the race on its head.
Inside the lap
It’s 440m from pole position to the first braking point at the Turn Two chicane – that’s a relatively average distance across the season, so doesn’t offer much opportunity for slipstreaming opportunities into the braking zone.
Expect top speeds of around 325km/h (200mph) on that run between Rivazza and the Tamburello chicane. The corner itself is taken in fourth gear, at around 170km/h (105mph). The lap is dominated by high-speed corners – the Tamburello, Villeneuve and Alta ‘chicanes’ require both precision and commitment.
The fastest corner on the track is Piratella, a daunting, sixth-gear downhill left-hander taken at 220km/h (135mph).
Inside the lap
Imola is one of seven anti-clockwise tracks on the 2021 calendar. The resulting high incidence of left-handers places additional stress on the front-right tyre. Pirelli brings its C2, C3 and C4 tyres to Imola – the same as Bahrain.
The MGU-K – the motor-generator unit that gathers energy under braking – is almost constantly busy either harvesting or deploying energy around a lap of Imola. In fact, only Monza is more intensive.
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