Emilia-Romagna GP: Verstappen wins but Hamilton hangs on to the lead at Imola
Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen has taken his eleventh Formula One victory after winning the Emilia-Romagna GP and second round of the calendar will with great authority at the Imola circuit.
Behind the Dutchman came Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) who managed to snatch second place after a breath-taking comeback. The Briton remains leader at the standings by one point. A sensational Lando Norris (Mc Laren) completed the podium.
Meanwhile the Ferrariof Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz sealed two brilliant performances to close the top five.
This triumph consolidates Red Bull’s bid for the title and demonstrates that the team of the energy drink has the most competitive car on the grid at the present time.
Their Mercedes rivals, however, have introduced some improvements in their Silver Bullets bringing their performance very close behind.

Verstappen is off to a lightening start

Max Verstappen was off to a spectacular start as the lights came off. The Dutch driver made a pass on his teammate Checo Pérez for second place on the first few meters of race.
Before the first bend he repeated the maneuver on Lewis Hamilton after some beautiful wheel to wheel action. Charles Leclerc then took third place after overtaking Checo Pérez.
With hardly any time to digest so much excitement, the Williams of Nicholas Latifi crashed against the barriers after touching the Hass of Nikita Mazepin, triggering a safety car.
The race was resumed after the seventh lap and straight away Verstappen escaped accruing a two-second advantage. Hamilton could not keep up with the rhythm of the Dutchman. Leclerc, Pérez and Riccardo completed the top five.
By the twentieth lap Max was leading comfortably by five seconds ahead of Hamilton. Leclerc was hanging on to third place although nearly 20 seconds behind his predecessor. 

Hamilton and Max fight it out in boxes

One third into the race and Hamilton, who was running on fresher tires, had shortened his distance with Max to 1,8 seconds. Aware of the danger, Verstappen went to boxes on lap 28 and Hamilton followed suit on the following round.
The Briton relinquished four precious seconds during the operation, rejoining the track behind Max once more.

Hamilton’s mistake and good fortune

By lap 32 Max had increased his lead to 2,9 seconds over Hamilton. The Briton, nervous seeing how he was being left behind, went off track at the slowest bend of the circuit after skidding on the wet tarmac. The Briton made a mistake, hitting the wall.
He managed to get back onto the track although he had to go to boxes again to replace a damaged front wing. Then fortune smiled at him again.
George Russell and Valtteri Bottas crashed spectacularly, and the red flag came out. The race stopped on lap 34 during approximately half an hour.
The race resumed after another safety car with Max followed by Leclerc, Norris, Pérez and Sainz. Verstappen put his foot down followed by a surprising Norris wearing the only soft compounds on the grid.

Hamilton smells the blood and the show commences

Soon after Hamilton had swallowed up Stroll for sixth place. On a mission to climb back to the top, he passed Riccardo moments later.
He was fifth but he was not done on his rampage. Lewis took advantage of Norris’ low pace to get hot on the heels of his two Ferrari victims. First he passed the Spaniard on the 50th lap.
At just eight laps from the chequered flag Hamilton passed Leclerc for third an with just three to go he had overtaken his compatriot from McLaren. By then Max had already crossed the finish line with a 22-second advantage.
Images of Emilia-Romaña GP: Red Bull Racing.

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