Round two – Hamilton and Verstappen take their battle to Imola
Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes’ drew first blood in Bahrain, but Red Bull’s Max Verstappen will be charging in Italy
Italy’s Imola circuit provides a fresh challenge for seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton and young pretender Max Verstappen, as the pair prepare for round two of their Formula One battle this weekend.
The circuit, with the Santerno river running alongside and a verdant backdrop of trees and parkland, is a marked contrast to Bahrain’s desert Sakhir track that hosted the opener won by Mercedes’ Hamilton. The fast and flowing anticlockwise layout is also narrower and bumpier than Bahrain, and with fewer opportunities to overtake which means track position and strategy will play a bigger part.
Red Bull’s Verstappen has started the last two races — Abu Dhabi at the end of last season and Bahrain in March — in pole position, and the 23-year-old will be looking to complete his hat-trick. His car should be well-suited to the circuit characteristics, with the Honda engine also looking a match for Mercedes. ..