F1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – Start time, how to watch, & more

Lewis Hamilton has secured his 99th career pole position in Formula 1 for the 2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. Here's how and when you can watch the race.

Mick Schumacher, Haas VF-21, Nikita Mazepin, Haas VF-21, Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo Racing C41, Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M, and others line up for practice starts at the end of FP3

The reigning F1 world champion saw off both Red Bull drivers Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen to claim his first pole position of the season – the 30th different F1 track he has achieved the feat across his career – by a tiny margin of 0.035s from Perez.

Hamilton admitted after qualifying that he hadn't expect to beat the Red Bull duo, having anticipated both Perez and Verstappen to up their pace in Q3. 

Perez conceded a final-corner mistake during the pole position shootout “should have” given him top spot in Imola, with Verstappen also missing out due to a grassy moment on his final lap. 

Lando Norris was another to lose out in qualifying, the McLaren driver denied his fastest Q3 lap after exceeding track limits at Turn 9. That meant he dropped from third to seventh place in the final qualifying results, directly behind team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.

Charles Leclerc impressed again for Ferrari to take his second consecutive fourth place in qualifying, with Pierre Gasly also mirroring his Bahrain GP qualifying result in fifth for AlphaTauri.

But it was a tough afternoon for Valtteri Bottas, who said he “couldn’t trust the rear-end” of his Mercedes F1 car as he struggled to a lowly eighth place. 

Esteban Ocon claimed ninth place for Alpine, while Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll will start 10th after all his Q3 lap times were deleted for exceeding track limits.

Sparks trail behind Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Sparks trail behind Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

When is the F1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix?

  • Date: Sunday 18th April 2021
  • Start time: 2:00pm BST, 3:00pm local time

The second round of the 2021 F1 season, the Emilia Romagna GP at Imola, gets underway at 3pm local time (2pm BST) on Sunday 18th April.

How can I watch the Emilia Romagna GP?

In the United Kingdom, Sky Sports has exclusive live broadcasting rights of F1, with the Emilia Romagna GP race shown live on Sky Sports F1. Pre-race coverage will be starting at 12:30pm BST ahead of the race start at 2:00pm BST.

After the race, Sky Sports F1’s live coverage continues to follow the post-race reaction from when the chequered flag is waved until 5:00pm BST.

Autosport is running a live text commentary for the Emilia Romagna GP

When can I watch the highlights?

In the United Kingdom Channel 4 is broadcasting highlights of the Emilia Romagna GP at 6:30pm BST on Sunday. The full programme will run for two-and-a-half hours, covering the pre-race, the race highlights and the initial post-race reaction to wrap up the major talking points of the race weekend.

For the entire 2021 F1 season, Channel 4 will broadcast highlights of every qualifying and race on the Saturday and Sunday of each event. The highlights will also be available on Channel 4’s on demand catch up services.

·        Channel: Channel 4 

·        Start time: 6:30pm BST 

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Will it be on the radio? 

Live radio coverage of every practice, qualifying and race for the 2021 F1 season will be available on the BBC Radio 5 Live and 5 Live Sports Extra stations.

Coverage of the Emilia Romagna GP will start at 1:50pm BST on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, available on both DAB radio and the BBC Sounds app.

What is the F1 Emilia Romagna GP?

Following a trend which started due to the redrawn 2020 F1 calendar, new and unfamiliar race names were used as part of double-headers at the same circuit or races taking a new name as the national race title was already used or unavailable.

With different races not allowed the same name in the same F1 world championship season, and the Italian GP confirmed at Monza later this year, the Imola round has reverted to its new race name adopted last year – Emilia Romagna GP – named after the area the circuit is located in. 

Previous F1 races held at Imola were called the San Marino GP (1981-2006), while the Italian GP did take place at Imola in 1980 when Monza was undergoing major upgrade work.

PLUS: The great unheralded Imola F1 drives

Why is F1 racing at Imola?

With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to disrupt the regular motorsport calendar, the start of the 2021 F1 season has been reshaped after the Australian GP was postponed to November and the Chinese GP was called off for this year.  

As a result, just like last season, Imola has stepped in as a late replacement along with the Portuguese GP which takes in a few weeks’ time. 

At the time of writing, the 2021 F1 calendar reverts to a largely familiar schedule with the Spanish GP and Monaco GP taking place in May – but fans will not be allowed to attend the Barcelona round this year due to COVID-19 restrictions. 

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF21

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF21

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

Will fans be allowed at the Emilia Romagna GP?

Fans will not be allowed to attend the Emilia Romagna GP, with Imola set to be shut to spectators for the F1 race weekend. Health measures and protocols have been put in place due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic which continues to cause major disruption across the world. 

Weather forecast for the Emilia Romagna GP

Current weather forecasts predict mostly cloudy and cool conditions, with a low possibility of rain at Imola on race day. The temperature is expected to be 13 degrees Celsius for the start of the race – about nine degrees cooler than the Bahrain GP.

How many laps is the Emilia Romagna GP?

The race is scheduled to complete 63 laps of the Imola circuit, covering a total race distance of 309.049km.

Emilia Romagna GP starting grid

Cla Driver Chassis Gap
1 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes  
2 Mexico Sergio Perez Red Bull 0.035
3 Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull 0.087
4 Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari 0.329
5 France Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 0.379
6 Australia Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 0.415
7 United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren 0.464
8 Finland Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 0.487
9 France Esteban Ocon Alpine 0.799
10 Canada Lance Stroll Aston Martin  
11 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 0.788
12 United Kingdom George Russell Williams 0.850
13 Germany Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 0.983
14 Canada Nicholas Latifi Williams 1.182
15 Spain Fernando Alonso Alpine 1.182
16 Finland Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 1.563
17 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 1.711
18 Germany Mick Schumacher Haas 1.868
19 Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin Haas 2.386
20 Japan Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri  

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