Following a three week break, F1 returns for the second race of the 2021 season. The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix returned to the calendar in 2020.
With different races not allowed to share the same name in the same F1 world championship season, and the Italian Grand Prix confirmed at Monza later this year, the Imola round has regressed to its name adopted last year – the Emilia Romagna GP.
It was Lewis Hamilton who stood on the top step last year, in fact it was yet another Mercedes one-two after Max Verstappen crashed out due to a dramatic tyre failure. Will history repeat itself, or will we see another team take out the victory?
Here's everything you need to know about the second round of the 2021 Formula One season.
Imola (also known as the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari since 1988) had its first foundational stone laid in March 1950. However, it wasn't until 1980 that the track was awarded the honour of hosting the Italian Grand Prix for the first time. This Sunday's race will include 63 laps around the 4.909km circuit. Lewis Hamilton holds the lap record with a 1:15.484, set in 2020.
|Free Practice 1||Friday||19:00||Fox Sports 506 / Kayo|
|Free Practice 2||Friday||22:30||Fox Sports 506 / Kayo|
|Free Practice 3||Saturday||19:00||Fox Sports 506 / Kayo|
|Qualifying||Saturday||22:00||Fox Sports 506 / Kayo|
|Race||Sunday||23:00||Fox Sports 506 / Kayo|
2021 Teams and drivers
|Alfa Romeo||Kimi Räikkönen & Antonio Giovinazzi|
|Alpine (previously Renault)||Fernando Alonso & Esteban Ocon|
|AlfaTauri||Pierre Gasly & Yuki Tsunoda|
|Aston Martin (previously Racing Point)||Sebastian Vettel & Lance Stroll|
|Ferrari||Charles Leclerc & Carlos Sainz|
|Haas||Mick Schumacher & Nikita Mazepin|
|McLaren||Daniel Ricciardo & Lando Norris|
|Mercedes||Lewis Hamilton & Valtteri Bottas|
|Red Bull||Max Verstappen & Sergio Perez|
|Williams||George Russell & Nicholas Latifi|
Of the 28 races held at Imola, nine have been won from pole. All but 10 victories were won from the front row of the grid.
Two drivers on this year's grid have previously won at Imola – Fernando Alonso (2005 San Marino Grand Prix) and Lewis Hamilton (2020 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix).
It's the German drivers that have been most successful at this circuit, with nine wins. All but one of Germany’s nine wins at the circuit have been taken by Schumachers, with Michael winning seven times and Ralf taking a single victory in 2001.
Ferrari, McLaren, Williams and Mercedes are the only teams to have recorded 1-2 finishes at the circuit.
Nelson Piquet, Damon Hill, Michael Schumacher, and Ayrton Senna have all taken consecutive wins at Imola. Senna was tragically killed at the circuit in 1994, and, after the fatal accident, a new chicane was added at Tamburello corner to slow cars down.
Lewis was victorious last year and also won the very first round of the 2021 season, so we know he'll perform well here. Having said that, he did get challenged last time out so could his confidence be a little crippled?
All eyes will be on Max Verstappen who managed pole position at Bahrain and wasn't afraid to go toe to toe with the seven-time would-be champion. We still believe the Mercedes will come out swinging and get the job done – whether it be Lewis or Valtteri.
Look out for Daniel Riccardo. He scored a podium at this track last year and will be looking to better his seventh from Bahrain where he sustained damage following contact on lap one, the explanation for his lack of pace. His teammate Lando Norris will no doubt be a part of the podium battle after a fairly strong start to his season.
It will be interesting to see where Ferrari finish at their home Grand Prix as their results from round one were better than expected. Can they continue to be a part of that mid-pack? We aren't so sure.
Our other team to watch this time is AlfaTauri after a cracking result in Bahrain – both drivers managed to finish inside the top ten!
Let us know your predictions ahead of this weekend's race.