The driver at risk of being dropped: 2022 Emilia Romagna GP what you missed


The 2022 F1 title fight took another twist at Imola but off-track there was movement in the driver market according to rumours

Max Verstappen, 2022 Imola GP

It was a Red Bull show on Ferrari turf at Imola

Grand Prix Photo

The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix might not have been the most exciting in terms of on-track action but there was plenty going on that will impact this season and beyond.

Ferrari versus Red Bull took another twist and despite the Scuderia looking set for a romping performance at home, it was the Bulls that ran wild around Imola.

Lewis Hamilton was outclassed by team-mate George Russell, Yuki Tsunoda and Valtteri Bottas did likewise to their respective team-mates while Lando Norris proved that McLaren’s upturn in form isn’t just a lucky blip.

This weekend also brought about the return of the cooldown room, a much better version than the below-the-podium interviews immediately after the race, and a helping of drama too.

Here are a few more items you might have missed from this weekend’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.


Verstappen takes his second grand chelem

Max Verstappen, 2022 Imola GP

Verstappen secured his second grand chelem at Imola

Alex Pantling - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images

It was almost the perfect weekend for Max Verstappen, but Sunday was as good as things could get for the Dutchman.

Starting from his sprint race pole, he led every lap and posted the fastest tour on the way to his second win of the season, keeping up his record of winning every race he finishes in 2022.

The Imola win marked his second grand chelem of his career and put him level with the likes of Juan Manuel Fangio, Jack Brabham, Mika Häkkinen and Nico Rosberg.

Had he led every lap of the sprint race on the way to victory he would have completed a remarkable feat of domination.

Might he secure that honour at the scene of his first grand chelem during the second sprint race weekend of the ’22 season: the Red Bull Ring?


Mr Saturday Consistent


Russell has been in the points despite the Mercedes problems this season

ANP via Getty Images

He held the moniker of Mr Saturday while at Williams but George Russell has been plugging away in his W13 so far this year.

While Mercedes’ struggles continued at Imola, Russell was able to make the most of his situation to secure his fourth consecutive points finish to open the ’22 campaign.

He is the only driver to have finished in the top five at every race this season (4th, 5th, 3rd, 4th) and is still fourth in the drivers’ championship despite the pace difference to the top teams.

He would have been hoping for a title-contending car after arriving from Williams to the reigning constructors’ champions but he is maximising his opportunities.

Contrast his efforts to those of Hamilton and the former Mercedes junior is arguably one of the stand out performers in the opening quartet of races this year.


Everyone’s on the board


Stroll and Vettel were in the points for Aston Martin

Alessio De Marco/LiveMedia/NurPhoto via Getty Images

With Aston Martin securing a surprise double points finish at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, it now means that every team on the 2022 grid has scored at least one point this year.

Alexander Albon’s solitary point in Australia has been Williams’ only day in the sun so far, and AM’s P8 and 10 finishes at Imola put it back ahead in the standings with five points total.

Red Bull’s one-two finish was the first time the team has registered points with both cars at Imola, and put it back in the hunt in the constructors’, now just nine points behind table-topping Ferrari.

Of the driver’s with a full-time drive, only Mick Schumacher and Nicholas Latifi are yet to score a point in 2022. Nico Hülkenberg’s P12 finish in Saudi Arabia puts him ahead of the Canadian in the standings.


Driver market in motion

Sergio Perez, 2022 Imola GP

Perez could be in line for a new contract if rumours are accurate

Alex Pantling - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images

It was only the fourth race weekend of the season but the 2023 driver market is already picking up steam.

Rumours in the paddock over potential driver line-up changes were swirling with multiple teams looking at making changes according to early reports.

Oscar Piastri was left without a race seat for this season despite winning the FIA F3 and F2 titles back-to-back (last achieved by George Russell and Charles Leclerc before him).

The Australian though could be in line for a promotion to a race seat albeit not part of the Alpine team he is a junior driver for.

Williams has been rumoured to be in the market for another driver for the future and with Latifi’s slump in form, he could be on the outs despite the sponsorship dollars he brings to the team.

Sergio Perez has performed dutifully as a number two driver to Verstappen and although the Mexican is on a single-year deal for ’22, is reportedly in line for a multi-year extension with the team.