Red Bull’s Imola upgrade a major boost for Verstappen in battle with Leclerc

Red Bull are reported to have shed five kilograms as a result of the upgrade they brought to the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Red Bull are thought to have made major gains with the upgrade they brought to 2022 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix as they claimed a one-two through Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.

Verstappen took pole with an exceptional lap in wet conditions on Friday, before hunting down and passing Charles Leclerc to take victory in the sprint race after losing a position at the start.

He would go on to take a lights-to-flag victory on Sunday, securing maximum points from the weekend by setting the fastest lap, so he was very pleased after a magnificent performance from him and his team in Italy.

READ: ‘It’s always tough to achieve’: Verstappen delighted with performance after Imola grand slam

“It’s always tough to achieve something like that but already yesterday and the day before we were on it,” said Verstappen.

“I think it was looking like a strong weekend. Today, you never know with the weather how competitive you’re going to be but I think as a team we did everything well.

“I think this one-two is very deserved.”

Red Bull and Mercedes were said to be running at around 813kg – 15kg over the limit – and 5kg heavier than Ferrari as the teams endeavour to keep the weight down due to the naturally heavier machines cultivated by the new technical regulations.

The upgrade they introduced at Imola gave them more pace in the corners having had a deficiency there compared with Ferrari in the opening three rounds of the season.

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They also reportedly lost 5kg as a result, putting them theoretically on par with the Scuderia as the Maranello side decided not to bring anything new to the sprint weekend.

Ferrari had a terrible Sunday in front of the Tifosi as Carlos Sainz was wiped out by Daniel Ricciardo on the first lap, before a spin for Charles Leclerc stripped him of a projected P3 and ultimately sent him down to sixth.

It compounded the fact that they were already slower than Red Bull who, given the disparity in Melbourne two weeks ago, made astronomical gains last weekend.

Team boss Mattia Binotto acknowledges the impressive improvement in performance by Red Bull, and cites the fact that his team were so much quicker in Australia to emphasise that the development battle this year will give us a lot more see-saw fluctuation regarding the pace advantage.

“Certainly the are strong and we know that they are developing the cars,” he told Sky Sports.

“Two weeks ago we were in Australia we were in Australia, we though we’ve got the best car.

“Today is the opposite, I think it will be a race-by-race [championship], the balance may change a bit but again here we have a good package overall, we are second in quali, in the wet conditions and in the dry I think he had a good sprint race.

“So overall I think again we can keep smile. We know that developing will be a key element of the season, no doubt.

“We know that Red Bull will be very strong, they are coming back but again we will review the race of today and move forward.”

Ferrari now sit just 11 points clear of Red Bull in the Constructors’ Championship, with the fight very much back on following a stuttering start to the year for the Milton Keynes side, with three reliability-induced DNFs for Red Bullso far this year.