Max hoping for ‘straightforward’ weekend at Imola

Sam Cooper
Max Verstappen adjusts his ear piece. Melbourne, April 2022.

Max Verstappen says he hopes to have a “straightforward weekend” at Imola after an eventful start to his 2022 season.

In the opening three races of his title defence, the Dutchman has retired twice and won once. He is currently the only driver on the grid who has shown he is capable of challenging Charles Leclerc for pace, but any more DNFs and the Ferrari could soon disappear over the horizon.

While Verstappen himself has said he is not even thinking about the title following his season’s start, Helmut Marko has predicted the calmness of the driver may soon evaporate if Red Bull cannot solve their reliability issues.

Looking ahead to the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Verstappen said he was hoping for a “straightforward weekend”.

“The team trackside and back at the factory in Milton Keynes are working incredibly hard. Hopefully we’ll have a straightforward weekend and that we score some good points as a team,” the reigning World Champion said.

“For now, we will take it race by race and we’ll see where we end up.”

The 24-year-old will have fond memories of the Imola circuit having won there last season – his first victory in what turned out to be a Championship-winning campaign.

“I’m looking forward to racing again this weekend at Imola,” he said.

“This is obviously the first sprint race of the year, so it’s important to make the most of the first practice session so we have a good understanding of where the set-up needs to be for qualifying on Friday.”

His team-mate, Sergio Perez, also said he was “looking forward to getting back in the car”.

“It was a mixed few days in Australia for the team, but for me I managed another consistent weekend after my pole position and fourth place in Jeddah,” the Mexican said.

“I’m pleased with how I’ve been performing so far and getting on the podium for the first time this season in Melbourne was a step in the right direction. But I won’t stop there – I need and want to be there weekly for the team and for myself.

“We go back to the sprint format this weekend and I will be aiming to pick up the most points possible. That all comes from a good qualifying performance on Friday and I hope to hook it up again in Italy.

“It looks like it could rain this weekend, so that will play a part and I want to learn from the performance I had at Imola in the wet last season and continue to improve in all areas.”


Another Ferrari v Red Bull battle in Imola

Formula 1 is bracing itself for the resumption of Ferrari versus Red Bull at Imola this weekend.