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Formula 1 2021: 5 things we learned from FP3 at Imola Grand Prix

Max Verstappen led the third Free Practice at the Imola Grand Prix. Photo: Mark Thompson/Getty Images.
Max Verstappen led the third Free Practice at the Imola Grand Prix. Photo: Mark Thompson/Getty Images.
ANALYST
Modified 17 Apr 2021
Feature

The third practice session for the Imola Grand Prix ended with Max Verstappen leading the charge for Red Bull. Lando Norris also showed impressive pace for McLaren. Mercedes also had a solid session with both cars, but track limits caused a few problems. Multiple drivers had their times deleted for off-track excursions throughout the session.

1: Red Bull bounce back

Max Verstappen was back to his best during the third practice session at the Imola Grand Prix. Red Bull were finally able to put together a smooth session after suffering interrupted runs yesterday. The car looks good on the track. Qualifying will be extremely close between Red Bull and Mercedes. Will the Silver Arrows take pole position at Imola? Or will Max Verstappen spoil the party?

2: Alpha Tauri, Ferrari, and McLaren will fight it out for the best of the rest

Ferrari and AlphaTauri stood out yesterday with some headline-grabbing lap times. McLaren also added their name to the hat after a stunning lap from Lando Norris in the third practice session of the Imola Grand Prix. All three teams have great drivers at their disposal and they will make the difference at the Imola Grand Prix.

3: Lando Norris is making life tough for Daniel Ricciardo

Lando Norris is making exponential gains every year. The 2021 season has seen Lando Norris become one with the car, and the Briton is operating at a high level with McLaren.

This has put the team's new signing, Daniel Ricciardo, under pressure. The Australian is admittedly not comfortable in the car and has found it hard to match Norris' pace. The practice session saw a significant gulf between the two drivers on the timesheets.

We are still in the early days of the season, but Ricciardo is under serious pressure to bounce back.

4: Yuki Tsunoda is not a finished product yet

Yuki Tsunoda arguably had the best Formula 1 debut in recent years. Ross Brawn called him one of the best Formula 1 rookies and Helmut Marko dubbed him a future superstar.

However, the Imola Grand Prix weekend has seen Tsunoda trail his experienced teammate (expectedly so) and hurl vulgarities at fellow drivers on the radio. At 20, Tsunoda is the youngest on the grid, but it's also becoming apparent that the young Japanese driver still has some work to do.

5: Qualifying will be key for the Imola Grand Prix

The Imola Grand Prix could be decided on Saturday. The track is narrow and lacks opportunities for the drivers to overtake during the race.

With tire degradation not a huge factor, starting positions will play a huge role in deciding the outcome of the Imola Grand Prix. In qualifying, neither Red Bull nor Mercedes can afford to slip up as it could have an adverse effect on their performance at the race.

Published 17 Apr 2021
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