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Formula 1 Emilia Romagna GP

Our writers rate the 2024 F1 Imola Grand Prix

Max Verstappen won the 2024 Imola Grand Prix despite late pressure from McLaren driver Lando Norris.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB20, 1st position, takes the chequered flag

The Red Bull driver maintained a comfortable lead until the last few laps and rarely seemed to be threatened by the McLarens and Ferraris behind him.

Our writers give their verdict on the seventh round of the 2024 season.

Late Norris surge fails to disguise snoozefest: 4/10 - Filip Cleeren

As much as the drivers love racing at Imola - can't blame them, it is a mega circuit - today's race further underlined that some of these traditional circuits aren't necessarily suitable for this current formula of modern grand prix racing.

Between the lack of tyre strategy and the difficulty of overtaking cars, it was a drab affair, with the silver lining that Max Verstappen is no longer winning by half a minute or more. Lando Norris's late surge injected some life into the race, but whether he truly could have overtaken Verstappen is another matter.

Imola may be iconic, but between the circuit, the tyres and the cars themselves the recipe isn't working on a track like this. The smaller gaps between Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari are at least promising for the rest of the season.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 1st position, celebrates on arrival in Parc Ferme

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 1st position, celebrates on arrival in Parc Ferme

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

It's the hope that kills you (twice): 2/10 - Alex Kalinauckas

Having seen Max Verstappen off the road two times in FP1 and then Lando Norris and Charles Leclerc blitzing rapid long runs in FP2, it really raised expectations that Red Bull was beatable here.

But that team and its factory – the simulator work done on Friday night by ex-F1 racer Sebastien Buemi and Formula E world champion Jake Dennis – is just so good and things were predictably better on Saturday.

Still, without the Nico Hulkenberg Q3 tow the start and first stint might not have been dire had a McLaren started ahead, but that was an awful race until Norris's hard tyre advantage came to bear. He was brilliant late on, but just fell short.

Also worth considering is how Pirelli bringing softer tyres in a (failed) bid for more pitstops made Red Bull's degradation advantage more potent on the mediums in stint one and that made the critical difference at the end…

A slow burner that didn't actually spark to life: 2/10 Haydn Cobb

A surprisingly well-mannered start meant no early chaos or strategy gambles. With limited options due to the tyres, the race was nullified by a lack of overtaking opportunities and copy-and-paste race plans.

Norris creeping up to Verstappen in the final 10 laps gave this race some grace but as the two never went into combat, there's not much to be gained.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB20, Lando Norris, McLaren MCL38, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-24, Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-24, the rest of the field at the start

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB20, Lando Norris, McLaren MCL38, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-24, Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-24, the rest of the field at the start

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

Simply not much excitement: 3/10 – Ben Vinel

I'm giving this race three points based on the following criteria. One point for the Imola track with its grass and gravel traps, which means errors do not go unpunished, as Sergio Perez and Lewis Hamilton found out today. Another one for Yuki Tsunoda's remarkable overtake on Logan Sargeant, around the outside in Tamburello.

One last point for the (very) ephemeral suspense as Max Verstappen and Lando Norris (nearly) battled for the win late on, after the Dutchman dominated the whole contest. Other than that, it's fair to say not much happened in terms of quality racing or interesting strategies, with nearly everyone on a one-stopper.

Watch: F1 2024 Emilia Romagna GP Review - Too Late for McLaren's Charge on Red Bull

Late Norris charge skews the picture: 3/10 - Pablo Elizalde

Not even the late Norris charge can disguise the fact that the Imola race was almost a non-event in which nearly nothing happened.

The old-school circuit might be a welcome sight to many F1 drivers but, combined with this breed of cars, it just doesn't appear to be a track capable of producing great grand prix racing.

The complete lack of strategy options didn't help either, and drivers switching to hard tyres some 15 laps into the race was never going to be a good sign.

Norris's charge will leave a better taste than the race probably earned.

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