F1 Winners and Losers from 2024 Emilia Romagna GP

Max Verstappen and Lando Norris played out a thrilling F1 finale to the 2024 Emilia Romagna GP, but who else stood out?


Lando Norris‘ miraculous late-race pace brought a previously lacklustre 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix to life as the McLaren driver chased a second successive Formula 1 win, but fell just 0.7 seconds short of overhauling the Red Bull of Max Verstappen. So who were the F1 winners and losers at Imola?

Charles Leclerc joined them on the podium in a reordered repeat of the Miami rostrum, enjoying a quiet race behind the leaders as Oscar Piastri‘s charge faltered after he passed Carlos Sainz.

Despite the sleepy nature of the race behind the battle for the win, but there were still plenty of standouts for both good and bad reasons, including Mercedes.

The Silver Arrows had a good race by their 2024 standards with their second-highest grand prix points haul of the season, but rather than placing them in the winners, it serves to underline how far Mercedes have fallen since the glory days.

Winner: F1 fans

Max Verstappen leads Lando Norris of McLaren during 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
Max Verstappen leads Lando Norris of McLaren during the 2024 Emilia Romagna GP at Imola | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

They made us wait, but those last 15 laps were absolutely gripping. The race win was genuinely on a knife edge as the two form drivers in F1 gave their all and were separated by less than a second in the closest finish since the safety-car-affected 2023 Australian GP.

Norris and Verstappen‘s superiority over the rest of the field was reminiscent of the Dutchman’s battles with Hamilton in 2021 that saw the lead pair in a league of their own race after race, and it may not be an isolated incident.

McLaren do genuinely seem to have closed the gap significantly to Red Bull, as the championship leaders deal with their own internal struggles, while Ferrari could rejoin the party at Monaco too.

If that’s the case then fans could be treated to a repeat of 2019, where despite a dominant title victory by the drivers’ champion, the field closed up mid-season to provide a string of scintillating grand prix.

Loser: Logan Sargeant

For once, Sargeant wasn’t the worst Williams on Sunday. However, he failed to set a time in qualifying for a staggering fifth time since the 2023 Japanese GP – it’s happened to another driver on just one occasion in that spell.

Even more damning was James Vowles‘ interview confirming Williams are actively pursuing other options for 2025, after previously backing his charge to the hilt. Historically the team principal has sought to quell any questions over Sargeant‘s future but these comments were a marked departure from that tone.

“He has to perform above what he is. In the mean time, we are talking to a few other drivers because we have to”

James Vowles’ Sky Sports interview ahead of the 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Valtteri Bottas – who also didn’t have the best of weekends – was seen exiting the Williams hospitality unit and there’s surely a host of options both on and off the F1 grid.

To borrow a phrase from his own sporting vernacular, Sargeant is most certainly on the clock and with Albon effectively AWOL on Sunday, the American missed another opportunity to prove his worth.

Winner: McLaren

378 days ago at the 2023 Miami GP, both McLarens were eliminated in Q1, Oscar Piastri finished a lap behind Verstappen and Norris was just two places and another few seconds up the road.

Maybe the cancellation of the Imola round was a mercy after all, but things couldn’t be more different right now. McLaren are the talk of F1 both inside and outside the paddock, moving ahead of Ferrari in the running order.

Last season also showed that things can change quickly in that regard so McLaren can’t afford to rest on their laurels, but the truth is that Norris has finished the last two grand prix clearly faster than Verstappen.

Meanwhile Piastri‘s wait for a first podium of 2024 continues but his grid drop doesn’t change the fact he qualified on the front row on merit and made progress in the race. His tyre management issues continue, but if we’re comparing Norris to Verstappen then Piastri wiped the floor with Sergio Perez.

Max Verstappen and Lando Norris of McLaren after the 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
Max Verstappen and Lando Norris of McLaren after the 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Winner: Max Verstappen

On the weekend he overtook Lewis Hamilton in the career win percentage, Max Verstappen underlined just how important his individual contribution has been to all 59 victories.

Qualifying at Imola was one of the more impressive sessions of Verstappen‘s career as Perez was dumped out of Q2 in stark contrast to the championship leader who topped all three sessions and illustrated how hard he’d pushed with a breathless celebratory radio message.

While he was reeled in by Norris in the closing stages of the race, haunted by a track limits warning, ultimately it was the McLaren man who made the small but costly error to surrender a shot at victory.

Verstappen‘s accuracy in those last few laps with his mirrors full of papaya was a sight to behild, and while the Dutchman’s point that his quality has remained consistent even when he’s dominating race weekends is valid, it’s weekends like these that prove it.

Loser: Alex Albon

Alex Albon commits to Williams by signing multi-year deal | Williams F1 Team
Alex Albon commits to Williams by signing multi-year deal | Williams F1 Team

It’s rare to include both teammates in separate entries, but such was Williams‘ weekend. At least he’s already signed his contract.

Albon at least reached Q2 once again – in the same period that Sargeant‘s failed to set a time in five qualifying sessions his teammate has exited Q1 an impressive 12 times. Unfortunately that was the pinnacle, with a botched early pitstop derailing Albon‘s grand prix.

His weekend didn’t start off in the best manner as Albon‘s Williams pulled up in FP1 – maybe the only other consolation is that all his bad luck came at once so he should find some better fortune later down the line.

Loser: Sergio Perez

Sergio Perez runs into the gravel during the 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
Sergio Perez runs into the gravel during the 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

If the job of a teammate is to help his colleague, then Perez at least achieved that by showing the performance edge that Verstappen brings to the team.

However, Perez‘s own edge is seemingly getting duller by the race in a worrying repeat of 2023. 12 months ago, Monaco was the site of the beginning of a crippling rut that saw the Mexican miss out on Q3 for five consecutive races.

Perez was swift to shut down any questions over whether he’s about to start a similar run but it must be weighing on his mind, and his race day wasn’t really much better as the highlight was emerging victorious in a battle with Red Bull‘s junior team.

Winner: Charles Leclerc

Charles Leclerc‘s press conferences are usually the polar opposite of punchy, so it was particularly notable to hear him come out swinging ahead of the Chinese GP.

With Carlos Sainz having won Ferrari‘s last two grand prix and finished on the podium of every race he’d entered, Leclerc led his teammate by just four points as he landed in Shanghai despite having raced four times and Sainz only three.

Leclerc emphasised how he was Ferrari‘s lead driver in the 2023 standings and everyone goes through peaks and troughs, but he’s certainly riding high on an example of the former right now after consecutive podiums.

Now can he take that form to Monaco and secure a first win on home turf?

Loser: Aston Martin

Fernando Alonso‘s weekend was ruined by his heavy FP3 crash, with the Spaniard then dumped out of Q1 and then starting in the pitlane on the circuit he described as the most difficult circuit for overtaking on the calendar apart from Monaco.

His race turned into a glorified practice session apart from a failed attempt at the fastest lap, while Lance Stroll‘s two points confirmed this is Aston Martin‘s joint-lowest haul of the season.

Against the backdrop of Aston‘s much-vaunted Imola upgrade package, it can’t be anything other than a disappointing end to the weekend, but the good news is they’ve got the chance to bounce back in just a week’s time.

Don’t forget, Aston Martin‘s 2023 appeared to be in the doldrums after a dismal start to their American leg of the season before they turned it around with Alonso‘s Sao Paulo podium before he clinched fourth in the drivers’ championship.

Winner: Franco Colapinto

Given the uncertainty of Williams‘ driver lineup, it was the perfect time for Grove junior Franco Colapinto take his maiden F2 victory with the ballsiest of last-lap moves at Tamburello.

A top-five finish in this year’s championship could be enough to earn the Argentine his FIA Super Licence, and Colapinto is just four points off that mark thanks in part to his fifth-place in the feature race a day after his triumph.

Williams junior Franco Colapinto celebrates his F2 sprint race win at Imola | Williams F1 team
Williams junior Franco Colapinto celebrates his F2 sprint race win at Imola | Williams F1 team
Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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