With the Motorsport calendar underway, we’re here to keep you updated on everything within Formula 1 and MotoGP on a monthly basis.
A dramatic weekend started with delays, as freight from the previous round in Indonesia was delayed meaning Friday's run was cancelled.
Something else missing from the race was Marc Marquez, who was replaced by Stefan Bradl as the eight-time world champion was suffering from another spell of Diplopia after his horrific warmup crash in the previous round.
It was also a weekend of firsts as Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro took their maiden MotoGP pole position, and Luca Marini took the first front row start for Valentino Rossi’s VR46 team in third. Second, on the front row would end up being Jorge Martin on the Pramac Ducati.
Pole position winner and pre-race favourite Aleix Espargaro was swamped in turn one, but five laps in it were clear that the Aprilia rider and Jorge Martin would be battling for the win.
Twice Espargaro would briefly take the lead, only to outbreak himself and hand the position back to Martin. Finally, on lap 21 he managed to make the move stick and held out to take Aprilia’s first MotoGP win. Martin was a clear second, with Alex Rins on the Suzuki taking the final step on the podium. A clean sweep for Spain.
- 1st Aleix Espargaro, Aprilla
- 2nd Jorge Martin, Pramac
- 3rd Alex Rins, Team Suzuki
A Ducati dominated qualifying saw Jorge Martin snatch pole from Jack Miller in second, and Francesco Bagnaia in Third.
The Italian marques superiority did not stop there, as Johann Zarco, and Enea Bastianini took fourth and fifth respectively.
Despite a crash, Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo took sixth, followed by the Suzuki duo of Alex Rins, and Joan Mir in seventh and eighth.
Enea Bastianini took his second win of the 2022 season and claimed the championship lead in the process.
It was fellow Ducati rider Miller who had taken the lead off the line and would only succumb to Bastianini on lap 16. Miller would also lose second place to Suzuki’s Alex Rins on the penultimate corner of the race but managed to hold on to secure the last place on the podium.
Special mention to Honda’s Marc Marquez. The seven-time winner of The Grand Prix of the Americas had a disaster at the start which saw him dead last at turn one. His charge through the field culminated in a battle with Quartararo which nearly ended in the two coming to blows on turn six of the penultimate lap. Marquez would take an impressive sixth place, only 0.143 seconds ahead of the Frenchman.
- 1st Enea Bastianini, Ducati
- 2nd Alex Rins, Team Suzuki
- 3rd Jack Miller, Ducati
Ducati’s Johann Zarco took pole, followed by Suzuki’s Joan Mir, and Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro in a qualifying session that started on wet tyres but ended on slicks.
Three riders who arguably suffered the worst from the changing conditions would be Francesco Bagnaia, who crashed heavily and would start from last on the grid after being cleared to race. Enea Bastianini, who also crashed and would start from 18th, and Alex Rins who could only manage 23rd after staying on wets when all the fast times were being posted on slicks.
The unlucky Marc Marquez was stripped of a potential pole-winning lap as it was set under yellow flags ironically caused by fellow Repsol Honda teammate Pol Espargaro crashing at the last corner. Marquez would be shuffled to ninth.
Fabio Quartararo claimed a dominant victory, leaving the rest of the field to battle for the remaining podium and minor placings.
As the lights went out, Joan Mir lead the field followed by Quartararo and Jack Miller. Pole sitter Zarco was in P4 but would fight back to third by lap three. Zarco would briefly take P2 from Joan Mir on lap 16 only to be re-passed by the Spaniard as the Ducati ran wide. The same mistake allowed Miller to rejoin the fight. On lap 17, Zarco would make the same pass but make it stick, with Aleix Espargaro joining in the fight for second place.
With seven laps remaining Miller made his move for the podium, only to lose grip and take out both himself and the hapless Mir.
Aleix Espargaro would push Zarco hard in the final laps but could not pass the Pramac Ducati. They would finish second and third, behind the dominant Quartararo.
- 1st Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha
- 2nd Johann Zarco, Ducati
- 3rd Aleix Esparagaro, Aprilla
Standings after 5 races:
- 1st Fabio Quartararo, 69pt
- 2nd Alex Rins, 69pt
- 3rd Aleix Esparagaro, 66pt
The 2022 season has had an incredibly interesting start, with Ferrari & Red Bull at the helm of podium finishes in the first two races. The Australian Albert Park track has seen a few adjustments after its absence in the last 3 years, mainly the chicane in Sector 2 removed and several corners that have been widened. Lewis Hamilton will be looking to bounce back after the poor performances at the start of the year. Hamilton has finished in pole position for the last 6 races at the Australian track and will want to retain that record.
Final practice saw both Aston Martin’s crash out early, Vettel causing a massive shunt and Canadian teammate Stroll red flagging the session early on, forcing the Aston Martin’s engineers a heavy few hours of repairing before qualifying.
The Aston Martin engineers were unable to get their experienced driver out forcing him to start at the back of the grid, due to the big crash in FP3. Continuing the same approach, Stroll was then involved in a huge incident with fellow countryman Nicholas Latifi. The two drivers were not in lieu on their stints throughout Q1, forcing an early red flag into Q1 with a halt to proceedings and therefore allowing Sebastian Vettel’s engineers to get those important repairs in to get him out on track.
Throughout the week, the Alpines had shone through with blistering paces, both Ocon & Alonso pushing hard to obtain those all-important spots for the race on Sunday. This, unfortunately, was the demise of Fernando Alonso, who crashed his Alpine in sector 3 after getting a purple in sector 2 on his flying lap.
Once again, we saw the front runners fight for pole position, Leclerc securing P1 on his final flying lap, his second of the season, with a 1:17:868, followed by the two Red Bull drivers taking second and third position. With the return of his home race, Daniel Ricciardo will want to impress, the Australian finishing in 7th while British teammate Lando Norris placing 4th. Lewis Hamilton has history broken, ending his 6-race record of finishing pole for Sunday's race.
With the race underway, Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, who has seemingly looked positive throughout the week, span on lap 2 after collecting some grass at the exit of turn 10. Consequently spinning off into the gravel, rendering his car mute and out for the remainder of the race. The Australian track took no prisoners this weekend, with Vettel suffering from pushing too hard and his car colliding with the barriers just after turn 4, Vettel out.
This poised a safety car to be deployed and benefitting the likes of Mercedes new driver George Russell who was able to pit first and move up into 3rd. Lap 27 saw the race resume with Verstappen trailing to Leclerc, who was simply faultless all weekend and retained the first position after the short fighting stint. This was, however, short-lived, just 12 laps later saw Verstappen’s car being ignited from oil leakage and abruptly stopping near a fire safety marshal, not ideal for Red Bull and team principal Christian Horner.
Charles Leclerc brought home 1st place for Ferrari for his second win of the season from 3 races, incredible performance and such professionalism from the Monegasque considering Ferrari’s previous years. Red Bull’s Sergio Perez takes home second with George Russell in the Mercedes following in a close 3rd, the Britain’s first podium for Mercedes AMG. The highlight of the weekend goes to Alex Albon of Williams, the Thai driver raced 56 laps on one set of tyres, with the ruling enforcing a minimum of 1 pit stop. Albon came home in 10th position, dropping 3 positions due to the ruling by FIA, this however is a massive point for Williams who were predicted to finish 18-19th for the weekend.
- 1st Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
- 2nd Sergio Perez, Red Bull
- 3rd George Russell, Mercedes
First practice at Imola was the first chance to see the 2022 cars fair in wet conditions. The first of three weekends with a Sprint formatted weekend. The tricky conditions saw drivers test out the blue and green trimmed wheels, with a range of drivers spinning off throughout the track. The rain did, however, clear up fairly quickly on Saturday for P2, and the sprint race.
The first Sprint race of the year saw a 21 lap race, with Leclerc overtaking race leader Verstappen into turn 1. The Ferrari engine has excelled throughout the first few races, translating into other cars such as HaaS F1, who currently use the Ferrari powerhouse. Experienced driver, Kevin Magnussen, showcased pure brilliance throughout the race with an 8th place finish. Truly outstanding from a driver who was recalled 2 weeks before the start of the Formula 1 season, proving his value to team boss Guenther Steiner.
Rookie driver, Zhou Guanyu's sprint ended early by colliding with Alpha Tauri’s Frenchman, Pierre Gasly. In a dramatic turn of events, lap 20 saw Max open up with DRS and overtake the championing Ferrari with the dutchman taking the checkered flag to the end of the Sprint and reclaiming that all-important first pole position going into the race weekend.
Sunday’s race saw both the Red Bull get off to a flying start, with Max retaining first place and his Mexican teammate moving up into second, overtaking the all-important Monegasque, Charles Leclerc. The second corner saw McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz get into a spin, and for the second race in a row negating the Ferrari’s driver race, causing the Italian crowd utter disappointment.
The Alpine of Fernando Alonso saw him swiftly exit from the race, with a piece of his right sidepod come off from his car in an early minor incident. A second DNF for the Spaniard, and something he’s definitely not used to. Lap 19 saw the first pitstop for the front runners in Sergio Perez, the Red Bull driver strategically being placed back into the race to cover off for his leading teammate Verstappen. Although having a poor lap, Perez was able to regain his second place, on the following lap.
Towards the latter of the race, lap 53 broke the hearts of all the Italians in attendance. With Leclerc spinning out at the chicane, taking sufficient damage to his front wing whilst retaining his place, however, he had to pit to stand any chance of maintaining a podium finish. The pit saw Leclerc give up 3rd place with him emerging into 8th position, the Ferrari team will not enjoy that one. The checkered flag saw Red Bull’s Max Verstappen taking home his second first-place finish of the season, with the aim of retaining his championship title, sixteen seconds behind, teammate Perez taking second and McLaren taking home their first podium of the season in Lando Norris, who had a dreadful start to the season.
- 1st Max Verstappen, Red Bull
- 2nd Sergio Perez, Red Bull
- 3rd Lando Norris, McLaren
Standings after 4 races:
- 1st Charles Leclerc, 86pt
- 2nd Max Verstappen, 59pt
- 3rd Sergio Perez, 54pt