GP Emilia-Romagna: Max Verstappen will take the lead after overtaking on the penultimate lap

IMOLA, Italy — Red Bull driver Max Verstappen shook off a bumpy start to win the sprint race at Saturday’s Emilia-Romagna Formula One Grand Prix.

The reigning world champion didn’t lose his temper after being stunned at the start by Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc and orchestrated a clean pass at the expense of the ‘Scuderia’ driver to reclaim the lead on the penultimate lap of this 21-lap race.

“Yes, my start was very difficult. I don’t know why, maybe because I skate a little too much. I think Charles lost grip with his tires and that worked for us today. But for tomorrow (Sunday) I don’t know. I’m happy with the result today, but tomorrow will be different,” said Verstappen.

Leclerc, apparently backed by the ‘tifosi’, scarlet-clad Ferrari supporters who monopolize most of the grandstands circling the legendary Enzo and Dino Ferrari circuit at Imola, finished 2.975s clear of the other Red-Bull – Driver in second place. Sergio Perez.

“I will start from the front row tomorrow but we had problems with our tires towards the end of the race – we need to understand why. We will work on that to get back on our feet tomorrow. Every time we’re here in Italy, the fans cheer us so much, it’s incredible,” said Leclerc.

Verstappen is still looking for a first win in a classic race this season. On Sunday, however, he will have to be wary of Leclerc, the last Ferrari driver to give the Italian team a regular win at home in Italy. He received the honor of the Italian Grand Prix in Monza in 2019.

In addition, the Monegasque has won two of the first three events of this season and climbed to the second step of the podium in the other.

It was the first of three races to be held in sprint format in 2022. The qualifying results presented on Friday were used to determine the starting grid for the sprint race.

Carlos Sainz Jr. (Ferrari), Lando Norris (McLaren), Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren), Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo) and Kevin Magnussen (Haas) also collected ranking points.

Aston Martin driver Sebastian Vettel finished 13th while his teammate, Quebecer Lance Stroll, settled for 15th.

Vettel and Stroll were split by Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton while teammate George Russell finished 11th. Russell set the best time in the last free practice session at Imola on Saturday morning.

“We gave everything today, but we didn’t have the pace to move up the table. I enjoyed my fight against Lewis – he kept me on my toes! shouted Stroll.

For his part, Toronto’s Nicholas Latifi finished 19th at the wheel of his Williams.

Alfa Romeo driver Guanyu Zhou had to retire after a collision with Alpha Tauri driver Pierre Gasly on the first lap.

Imola returned to the calendar in 2020 after a 14-year absence. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, spectators were allowed onto the site for the first time in three years. More than 120,000 tickets were sold for the weekend, organizers said.

Leave a Comment