Emilia-Romagna GP: Verstappen triumphs at Imola and resists Hamilton’s crazy number

Impressive winner of the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix at Imola this Sunday, Max Verstappen (Red Bull) is ahead of Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), who keeps the lead of the Formula 1 championship by one point. Lando Norris completes the podium.

We had known it since the start of the season, but it is now a certainty. Max Verstappen started with a hunger of a wolf and, above all, a car at the height of his ambition: to dethrone Lewis Hamilton. The Dutchman proved it again, this Sunday at Imola, by winning with style during the Grand Prix of Emilia-Romagna. Behind the Red Bull rocket, Hamilton, a bit lucky after going off the road, managed to keep his Mercedes in second place and ahead of Lando Norris’ McLaren.

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From the start, made difficult by the humidity on the track, Verstappen set the tone. More incisive, he overwhelmed his teammate Sergio Perez, missed his Grand Prix, then passed Lewis Hamilton with nothing to take the lead at the end of the first lap. The Flying Dutchman then took off, despite a safety car, thanks to a well-managed pit stop. A spectacular clash between George Russell and Valtteri Bottas, which interrupted the race on lap 34, slowed down his quiet march to victory.

A fear at the restart

At the restart, a quarter of an hour later, Verstappen was indeed his only fear of the race: a spinning start, but under a safety car, therefore without consequences. Once the Grand Prix really resumed, however, the Dutchman did not make the slightest mistake and controlled the pack from start to finish. Clear and flawless victory, the eleventh of his career in Formula 1.

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Behind him, the fight for the podium was made intense from start to finish by an unusual mistake from Lewis Hamilton. The seven-time world champion, surprised by a wet portion of the circuit, left in the gravel just before the interruption. The red flag saved him: the interruption allowed him to change his wing and start again in ninth position, not far from the leading men.

“It’s been a long time since I made a mistake like this,” he whispered after the finish. “After that, I was just thinking of catching up and that’s what I did.” Then talking about the power of his engine, the Briton bit by bit his opponents, to find an unexpected podium.

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Norris pilot of the day

In front of him, only Lando Norris resisted for a long time, before giving in five laps to go. The Briton from McLaren, driver of the day, can still be satisfied with a nice podium, he who started sixth on the grid, and a third place in the drivers’ standings. The Hamilton ride, on the other hand, deprived Charles Leclerc of a top 3, while Ferrari seems to have found color. On the French side, we will be satisfied to score points, after a completely failed Grand Prix start: Pierre Gasly took 8th place and Esteban Ocon, 10th.

The other consequence of this return of Hamilton is that the takeover of Verstappen, who has never been at the top of the world championship, is delayed. For a small point, that of the best lap in the race this Sunday, the Briton is still ahead of his younger brother (44 points against 43). But for how long? The Portuguese Grand Prix, in two weeks’ time, is set to see yet another hectic clash between the reigning world champion and his rival, who has never looked so fit.

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