Tuesday 20 April 2021

Driver & constructor points: Emilia Romagna (Imola) grand prix

Amid crashed cars, Bottas gives the middle finger to Russell, saying "give me one ring when you get home"

The biggest story of the Imola grand prix appears to be George Russell and Valtteri Bottas playing bumper cars at 200mph. One driver is hoping to be a Mercedes driver next year, and the other is trying very hard not to stay as a Mercedes driver next year. 

Perhaps, however, the biggest story is the sinister wizardry that happened on lap one. Nikita Mazepin throws his car off the track with alarming regularity, as if possessed by some kind of aerodynamic poltergeist. On Sunday, in an impressive feat of demonic transference, he touched Nicholas Latifi's car ever-so-slightly, and it was Latifi who was propelled into the barriers. Is Latifi now possessed with the Phantasm of Mazepin? Who will the curse pass into next?

Latifi was the driver who scored the most losers points: that crash got him 10 points for a DNF plus 5 points for an Earliest Exit. And thanks to our unpredictable Beige Flag awards, it's Tsunoda who was the second biggest losing driver – more details below.

Williams topped the Losers Points for constructors in Italy: what a terrible race for them. Mercedes find themselves in second place in the Losers points, as a growing number of cross-constructor arguments cause a few twitches from our Beige Flags.

Let's dig a little more. Read on.


Perez, Tsunoda, Raikkonen, Giovinazzi, Vettel, Schumacher and Mazepin receive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 points respectively for their finishing places outside the top ten. Latifi, Russell and Bottas each earn 10 points apiece for their retirements from the race. 

Latifi gets 5 points for Earliest Exit, while poor Perez gets a 5 point Backwards Bonus for an incident-strewn race day that saw him drop the most places: going from the front row to just outside the points has got to hurt. Verstappen gets the minus-25 Race Win penalty, and a slow shake of the head from the F1 Losers League for such non-losery behaviour.

Beige Flags are worth 10 points each, and they go to just two drivers this time. We tend to avoid giving Flags for crashes, but Tsunoda hitting the tyre barrier and not even setting a single qualifying time is ridiculous. 10 points to Yuki. And also 10 points to Ricciardo. He called F1's social media team "f***ing idiots" for including racing crashes in their online content, thereby misunderstanding part of the fundamental excitement of the sport, and making the F1 Losers League cry into a pillow for at least 20 minutes.

In summary: Latifi 15 | Tsunoda 12 | Russell 10 | Ricciardo 10 | Bottas 10 | Mazepin 7 | Schumacher 6 | Perez 6 | Vettel 5 | Giovinazzi 4 | Raikkonen 3 | Verstappen -25


Red Bull, AlphaTauri, Aston Martin, Alpha Romeo and Haas each get 1, 2, 5, 7, 13 for their various cars finishing outside the top 10 (*very* outside in Haas's case). Williams and Mercedes get 20 points and 10 points for their respective DNFs. Latifi's Earliest Exit earns another 5 points for Williams, and Red Bull pick up the 5-point Backwards Bonus for Perez's tumble down the order.

We're giving three Beige Flags to constructors. The first Beige Flag goes to Aston Martin: their whinging about regulation changes was dismissed by their rivals, with one team boss saying you can't just ask for a change of rules "because your engineers didn’t understand something". Burn! The second Beige Flag goes to Mercedes. In another paddock spat, Mercedes' boss Toto Wolff accused his rivals of "spreading sh*t" then tried to claim his comment was misunderstood. Very loserly conduct. It's like being back at school.

The third Beige Flag goes to Alfa Romeo. Penalties given by race stewards aren't usually that Flag-worthy. However, in the rolling restart after Bottas and Russell's crash, Alfa Romeo totally blew Raikkonen's race. After a spin under safety car conditions and a bungled restart, Raikkonen found himself with a hefty 30-second penalty. We won't bore you: it's all to do with retaking positions and pit lane starts. In short, it's the constructor not the driver that gets the Beige Flag because the penalty would have been avoidable if it wasn't for their terrible communication with Raikkonen and with race control.

In summary: Williams 25 | Mercedes 20 | Alfa Romeo 17 | Aston Martin 15 | Haas 13 | AlphaTauri 2 | Red Bull -19 


Here are the Losers Teams scores for Imola.

And here's how it's affected the Standings.


It's about to get busy. On April 21st, we'll launch the first Pitlane Punts. On May 2nd, the Portuguese grand prix will be a Double Race Score race (you can move that DRS allocation to a different race if you want), and that will be quickly followed by the Spanish grand prix on May 9th.