Emilia Romagna GP: Max Verstappen wins blockbuster race at Imola, Norris third

Max Verstappen has won the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in Italy after a huge crash between George Russell and Valtteri Bottas brought out the red flags.

Lewis Hamilton finished second in a strong recovery drive after the Brit was ninth at one point, while Lando Norris overcame his disappointment in qualifying to take his second F1 podium.

The two Red Bulls got off the line well leading to Max Verstappen pushing up to Lewis Hamilton and forcing his way through to lead the race.

However, in the process the two cars came together and Hamilton’s Mercedes lost a chunk of its front wing.

The Williams of Nicholas Latifi spun off the track on the first lap but managed to keep his car out of the gravel and made his way back on track, although, on his return he had a coming together with Haas’ Nikita Mazepin which sent him straight into the barrier and out of the race and a safety car coming out.

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Sergio Perez slipped off the track under the Safety Car, losing him a couple of places, and he received a 10 second time penalty for overtaking under the Safety Car to try and get those places back.

He looked set to redeem himself after the red flag, back in fourth place, but then spun into the gravel and found himself in 14th on his return to the track.

Pierre Gasly, Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz had a good scrap on the restart after the Safety Car, the three of them switching places with Norris ultimately winning out and putting himself in sixth behind his teammate.

Daniel Ricciardo had a good start to the race, making his way up to fifth on the first lap but was then forced to switch places with his teammate as Norris was promising quicker pace on his radio if he had clean air.

He proved his pace, getting up to fourth and then overtaking Leclerc on the restart after the red flag for second place.

Verstappen pitted on lap 27 for the slick tyres whilst Hamilton stayed out to try and build a lead. Hamilton had a slow pit stop though and came out behind Verstappen.

He was rapid on his chase of the Red Bull driver, but went wide trying to lap George Russell, going into the gravel and crunched his front wing into the barrier. In trying to get himself unstuck, he fell down to ninth.

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On the following lap George Russell went for the overtake on Valtteri Bottas but edged onto the grass which spun him into the Mercedes, sending them both veering into the barriers and debris all over the track.

With the barriers in tatters and the track an obstacle course, the red flags were waved and all remaining cars made their way into the pit lane.

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After the rolling start, Hamilton was tasked with a recovery race, and steadily reeled in the cars ahead of him to secure second place and the championship point for the fastest lap too.

But Verstappen was in another league for the day, maintaining and then stretching his lead to over 20 seconds to come home in first place.

Charles Leclerc spun on the formation lap but managed to avoid the gravel and any damage and subsequently chased back his position to ensure he kept his qualifying place on the grid.

He had an excellent race, running in third and then in second after Hamilton’s off-track venture. He was caught by Norris on the softer tyres and passed by Hamilton to end up fourth, but it was still a great day for the Ferraris with teammate Carlos Sainz finishing fifth.

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Pierre Gasly struggled on the full wets he started on, dropping to eighth after 10 laps and holding the rest of the pack up before gradually falling back. He was then brought into the pits for a change to the intermediate tyres but with a lot of work to do. He managed to recover to eighth overall.

Yuki Tsunoda did very well to make up 10 places from starting at the back of the grid only to spin off-tack on the red flag restart to end up 13th.

It was a tough day for Alpine too, with Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso finishing 10th and 11th.

With a close battle at the end with Ricciardo and Gasly, Lance Stroll managed to secure seventh place.

Sebastien Vettel had a very difficult day, starting from the pit lane due to a problem with his rear brakes. He was handed a 10 second stop/go penalty because his car did not have its wheels fitted five minutes before the start of the race.

Vettel ultimately retired his Aston Martin on the final lap of the race due to gearbox issues.

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Kimi Raikkonen managed ninth but was to be investigated by the Stewards after the race for an infringement during the rolling start. Teammate, Antonio Giovinazzi finished 14th.

Whilst under the Safety Car, Mick Schumacher lost his front wing to the wall at the exit of the pit lane, forcing him to complete two laps with no front wing before he could come in for a change due to the pit entry being closed.

Schumacher ended the race in 16th. After his touch with Latifi, Mazepin had a quiet race and finished last of the remaining cars in 17th.


Final Standings:

  1. Max Verstappen
  2. Lewis Hamilton
  3. Lando Norris
  4. Charles Leclerc
  5. Carlos Sainz
  6. Daniel Ricciardo
  7. Lance Stroll
  8. Pierre Gasly
  9. Kimi Raikkonen
  10. Esteban Ocon
  11. Fernando Alonso
  12. Sergio Perez
  13. Yuki Tsunoda
  14. Antonio Giovinazzi
  15. Sebastien Vettel
  16. Mick Schumacher
  17. Nikita Mazepin
  18. Valtteri Bottas
  19. George Russell
  20. Nicholas Latifi