The F1 2021 calendar continues in Italy this weekend with the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix set to offer another glimpse of what to expect across the season.
Reigning champion Lewis Hamilton will appreciate that this season is already poised to be one of the closest in recent years given Max Verstappen’s performance in the snarling Red Bull last time out in Bahrain.
The track at Imola is infamously tricky to execute overtakes, meaning qualifying looks all the more important going into this one.
Behind the brewing Hamilton-Verstappen storm, their respective teammates Valtteri Bottas and Sergio Perez will be determined to make an impression early in 2021, while McLaren duo Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo enjoyed a bright start to the season. Ricciardo finished third here last year for Renault.
Ferrari suffered a nightmare 2020 season, but their Bahrain showing suggests signs of life going into their return ‘home’ this weekend with Charles Leclerc particularly impressive alongside new teammate Carlos Sainz Jr.
RadioTimes.com brings you a complete guide to the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix 2021 including dates, times and TV details as well as exclusive analysis from Sky Sports F1 commentator Crofty ahead of every race.
When is the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix?
The Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix takes place on Sunday 18th April 2021. Check out our full F1 2021 calendar for the list of dates and upcoming races.
What time does the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix start in the UK?
The race begins at 4pm on the Sunday of the race weekend.
We’ve included the full schedule for the rest of the weekend, including practice and qualifying times below.
As the season remains in its infancy, every session will provide evidence that will suggest how the season is going to pan out, while qualifying should bring another tight battle between Mercedes and Red Bull at the top of the order.
Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix schedule
Friday 16th April (from 9:30am on Sky Sports F1)
Practice 1 – 10am
Practice 2 – 1:30pm
Saturday 17th April (from 9:45am on Sky Sports F1)
Practice 3 – 10am
Saturday 17th April (from 12pm on Sky Sports F1)
Qualifying – 1pm
Sunday 18th April (from 12:30pm on Sky Sports F1)
Race – 2pm
How to watch Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix on TV
The Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix will air live on Sky Sports F1.
Sky customers can add individual channels for just £18 per month or add the complete sports package to their deal for just £25 per month.
How to live stream the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix online
Existing Sky Sports customers can live stream the race via the Sky Go app on a variety of devices.
NOW can be streamed through a computer or apps found on most smart TVs, phones and consoles. NOW is also available via BT Sport.
Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix preview
With Sky Sports F1 commentator David Croft
Takeaways from Bahrain
DC: For the first time, in this this era of V6 turbo hybrid engines, Mercedes haven’t got the best all-round package in terms of engine and chassis, I think Red Bull – given that Verstappen had pole by the largest margin for a Red Bull driver since Sebastian Vettel in 2013 – have the car to be beaten.
What Mercedes proved to me is that they can still beat them. It’s all about teamwork, they got their strategy right and, with Bottas able to challenge in the early stages of the race, they forced Red Bull into a situation where they couldn’t get the lead back again. I think this season is teed up nicely for a really good scrap between [Hamilton and Verstappen]. And let’s face it, we’ve been waiting for that for quite a while.
While you know Red Bull has a better car at the moment, I’m sure Mercedes are able to develop enough to push their car a bit further forward. And there’s two drivers there, they’re going to give absolutely everything and that, in what is possibly a 23-race season, will be very nice, thank you very much.
Ones to watch
DC: While we’re salivating like Pavlov’s dog over Hamilton and Verstappen, we should also get excited about the the old papaya duel at McLaren, I think Norris and Ricciardo are going to be very closely matched. And I think it was important for Lando Norris to strike the first blow in Bahrain, and that was an excellent fourth place for him.
I think Ferrari showed they’re not as far off the pace as was feared at testing. And I would hope that that Leclerc can produce some excellence once again. I think he’s another driver that is fast-becoming one that rarely makes mistakes.
I think Yuki Tsunoda gave us the excitement we were hoping for in an Alphatauri which is also not a bad car.
Under pressure, Aston Martin. Their car should be a lot better than they showed in Bahrain. Are they suffering from this high rake v low rake philosophy, where the higher rake cars seem to have an advantage under the new regulations? We’ll see in time but they won’t be happy with tenth as a return for that first race. I think Sebastian Vettel’s under pressure there. I really do, because he’s been signed to give them better results than he managed in Bahrain.
DC: This is not an easy track for overtaking. Never has been in the modern era. Six on-track passes outside of Lap 1 last year. The next lowest number was was 19. It showed you how difficult it is. Fewer than 10 on-track passes in each of the last seven Imola F1 races. It’s a track that rewards patience. You’ve got to be patient, you’ve got to take the opportunity when it comes that you’re not going to go for something silly. A cagey strategic race.
I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it rains because looking at the weather forecast, there is a chance of rain on Sunday and that might just might just help us a bit as well. I love Imola, I think it’s a gorgeous place, it’s a lovely track, a wonderful place to be but we’re there quite early in the middle of April. So bring on the rain, bring on the games, bring on the fun.
For the full breakdown of F1 races coming up check out our F1 2021 calendar guide.