IMOLA, Italy –
Formula One champion Max Verstappen dominated on Sunday in the Red Bull race against Ferrari at the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix, leaving one disappointed by a sea of red-coated “tifosi”.
Verstappen won from pole, scored the fastest lap and got his second win of the season while leading teammate Sergio Perez to the first of two Red Bulls since Malaysia in 2016.
“Lovely Sunday,” Verstappen radioed to his Red Bull team about what was truly a bleak, overcast and foggy racing day.
But the Dutchman scored maximum points at the weekend – he also won the sprint on Saturday – and led Red Bull in embarrassment ahead of Ferrari in what Ferrari hopes will be their celebratory weekend at home.
“It is always difficult to achieve something like that,” Verstappen said of the perfect weekend. “We were up there. You never know with the weather how competitive you will be, but I think as a team we did everything well and a part two was well deserved.” worth.”
Lando Norris finished third for McLaren.
It was a disastrous race for Ferrari, racing at home and hoping to celebrate a return to F1 dominance. Charles Leclerc has become the championship lead with two wins in his first three races and Carlos Sainz Jr celebrated his two-year contract extension this weekend in Italy.
But Leclerc couldn’t jump to Verstappen in the first place and never ran for office. Sainz ran off course on the opening lap to ruin his race, and Leclerc’s attempt to save his Ferrari day came to an end when he turned Pérez to second.
In the end he finished sixth.
Leclerc had 46 points above defending champion Verstappen at the start of the weekend but Verstappen closed the gap to 27 points and placed second.
“I was too greedy and I paid the price for that and lost seven potential points,” Leclerc told Sky Sports. “Unfortunately, that’s seven points worth at the end of the championship and this won’t happen again.”
Verstappen was overtaken by Leclerc at the start of Saturday’s sprint classification race but by race day Verstappen was off to a good start. Leclerc, meanwhile, plummeted as he was overtaken by Perez and Norris.
Leclerc ended up in third and was chasing the Red Bulls when he ran off course.
In the morning it rained heavily but the start of the race was clear, although the track was still wet it quickly dried and the drivers had to change the tires for new conditions.
Leclerc got ahead on the pit lane ahead of Perez, but the Mexican driver had warmer tires and was able to squeeze inside and reclaim second place. Leclerc still trailed Perez in second, with nine laps remaining, when he made a rare mistake and veered off course. Although he was able to drive, his Ferrari was damaged and Leclerc had to plunge into the cliff.
The race featured a stirring late battle between Mercedes newcomer George Russell and Valtteri Bottas, the driver he replaced. The two made it to the final lap in fourth place, with Russell holding the 11th place veteran, starting the 11th race.
Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile. continued his initial struggle and finished in 13th place. Mercedes head Toto Wolff apologized to Hamilton over the radio about the “undriveable” car Hamilton had been gifted in Italy .
The seven-time world champion lost the title to Verstappen in last season’s finale in one of the best title fights in decades. On Sunday, Hamilton was overtaken by Verstappen in lap 39.