In the three days during the 2022 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, we experienced diametrically different weather conditions: we went from having lots of rain and cold temperatures, on Friday, to dry and 30 degrees on the track for the sprint race on Saturday afternoon. In (almost) all conditions Max Verstappen especially – but then also Sergio Perez – realized the high potential of the RB18. Red Bull has provided its drivers with a car that has never been difficult to control, unlike the F1-75 of Charles Leclerc, who seemed competitive but not entirely at ease, or rather not in all conditions nor in all moments of the fourth round of the 2022 Formula 1 season in Italy.
Red Bull: bringing the (weight) updates to Imola was a winning bet
Charles Leclerc was 6 tenths faster in Melbourne as compared to Max Verstappen, while in Imola he was behind by just over one. However, it is clear that the improvement of RB18 was not worth 7 tenths. There were unfavorable conditions in Melbourne, very favorable on the Santerno for the RB18. According to Ferrari’s post-race analysis, second position was possible, with a gap of 7-8 seconds from Max Verstappen, 0.13 seconds per lap, if at the start Charles Leclerc hadn’t lost his position to Lando Norris and especially Checo Perez, as explained by formu1a.uno.
The Milton Keynes team was able to count on a better window of use for the tyres, certainly a wider one. Something that seemed to be the fundamental key to beating Scuderia Ferrari this weekend. Red Bull team principal Christian Horner also agrees. “This weekend we have simply reached the tire working window better” – said the English manager – “Charles had a little more problems with the front tires than us”, concluded, as a result, the Austrian team has almost never been under too much pressure. “After the disappointment in Australia we managed to get one of our best results ever,” said Horner.
At Imola, Red Bull was able to load the rear as in Australia, without sacrificing the front with an ideal compromise to protect the performance of the tires, avoiding deterioration and limiting front sliding. An issue that instead caused difficulties for the front right of Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari. Ultimately, contrary to what could be seen at the Albert Park circuit, the cars of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez had much better starts than the two Ferrari cars and being able to take P1 and P2 after the first corners helped them manage the 2022 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
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From this weekend, Red Bull is aware that it has all it needs to challenge Ferrari in 2022, which means that the main areas of the car a team develops during the season will be very important.