Max Verstappen once again showed on Sunday that he is perfectly capable of winning races if he is spared a hardware failure. He convincingly won the Emilia-Romagna GP.
While he had already won the sprint race at the Imola circuit on Saturday, there was no metrics on the Red Bull driver on Sunday afternoon, who picked up no less than 34 World Cup points in a weekend. -end. World Cup leader Charles Leclerc made the afternoon even better for Verstappen when he made a mistake late in the race and wasted a ton of points in the process.
Beginning of debacle for Ferrari
Verstappen, who had retired with technical problems in two of the previous three GPs, started the race on the wet tarmac at Imola in first place, ahead of Leclerc. The Ferrari driver missed his first meters and was immediately overtaken by Perez (Red Bull) and Norris (McLaren), who fell to fourth place. The departure of the other Ferrari driver was even more dramatic: Carlos Sainz collided with Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) and the Spaniard found himself stuck in the gravel.
It wasn’t raining at the time, but the trail was still treacherously slippery from previous rainfall. When the asphalt was almost dry, everyone decided to change the intermediate tire for dry weather tires. The scorching Leclerc tried with a later substitution to outsmart Perez in the battle for second place and also found himself ahead of the Mexican, but Perez immediately overtook the Ferrari driver.
For example, the Red Bull cars were in first and second place and Verstappen had built up a lead of more than seven seconds. Verstappen was also clearly the fastest man on the circuit and further widened the margin to around fifteen seconds. Leclerc opted for another pit stop twelve laps before the end and Perez and Verstappen agreed. This gave Leclerc the chance to increase the pressure on Perez.
Leclerc at fault
And then Leclerc overplayed his hand: the World Cup leader took too many risks and skidded off the track, had his front wing replaced and fell back to ninth position. In the end, he climbed to sixth place, taking only 8 points. He did so well behind the Red Bulls of number two Perez and leader Verstappen, who crossed the line without being threatened and also set the fastest lap time.
Verstappen won the sprint race in Italy on Saturday, after a fine duel with Leclerc. On the penultimate lap of the race, he overtook the Monegasque and won eight World Cup points, one more than the Ferrari driver who crossed the line second. Verstappen added a further 26 World Cup points on Sunday, taking him from sixth in the World Cup to second in two days. His gap with Leclerc fell from 46 to 27 points.
The next race is in two weeks in the United States. Then the F1 drivers go into action for the first time on Miami’s brand new street circuit.
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