Verstappen and Red Bull embarrass Ferrari at Imola | Sports

IMOLA, Italy — Formula One champion Max Verstappen dominated Sunday in a Red Bull rout of Ferrari on the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix, a lot to the dismay of the ocean of red-clad “tifosi.”

Verstappen gained from the pole, logged the quickest lap and picked up his second win of the season whereas main teammate Sergio Pérez to the primary one-two Red Bull end since Malaysia in 2016.

“Lovely Sunday,” Verstappen radioed his Red Bull workforce on what was really a dreary, overcast and misty race day.

But the Dutchman scored most factors on the weekend — he additionally gained the dash qualifying race on Saturday — and led Red Bull in its embarrassment of Ferrari in what the Italian scuderia hoped to be its celebratory weekend on dwelling soil.

“It’s always tough to achieve something like that,” Verstappen said of the perfect weekend. “We were on it. You never know with the weather how competitive you are going to be, but I think as a team we did everything well and this one-two is very deserved.”

Lando Norris was third for McLaren.

It was a disastrous race for Ferrari, racing on its dwelling soil and hoping to have a good time a return to F1 dominance. Charles Leclerc got here into Sunday because the championship chief with two wins within the first three races and Carlos Sainz Jr. celebrated a two-year contract extension this weekend in Italy.

But Leclerc could not get the bounce on Verstappen at first and by no means contended. Sainz spun off beam on the opening lap to break his race, and Leclerc’s bid to salvage the day for Ferrari ended when he spun racing Perez for second.

He in the end completed sixth.

Leclerc had a 46-point lead within the standings over reigning champion Verstappen at first of the weekend however Verstappen lower the hole to 27 factors and moved into second.

“I was too greedy and I paid the price for it and lost seven potential points,” Leclerc informed Sky Sports. “It is a shame, it is seven points that are valuable at the end of the championship for sure and this shouldn’t happen again.”

It’s a well timed increase for Red Bull after two DNFs for Verstappen within the first three races. Pérez additionally failed to complete the season opener.

“The most important thing of today was not making mistakes, because with these conditions it was so tricky out there,” Pérez stated. “To get a one-two under these conditions, I think it’s a great result for the team.

“We’ve been so unlucky, the start has been so difficult for us, so I am very pleased to see everyone in my team smiling today.”

Verstappen was passed by Leclerc at the start of the sprint qualifying race on Saturday but come race day, Verstappen got off to a good start. Leclerc, meanwhile, plummeted as he was passed by Pérez and Norris.

Leclerc eventually got up to third and was chasing the Red Bulls when he spun off course.

It rained heavily in the morning but cleared off by the start of the race, and although the track was still wet, it quickly dried and drivers had to change their tires for the new conditions.

Leclerc came off pit road ahead of Pérez, but the Mexican driver had warmer tires and was able to squeeze inside and reclaim second. Leclerc was in still chasing Pérez for second, with nine laps remaining, when he made a rare mistake and went off course. Although he was able to drive off, his Ferrari was damaged and Leclerc had to pit.

The race featured a stirring late battle between Mercedes newcomer George Russell and Valtteri Bottas, the driver he replaced. The two went down to the final lap for fourth position, with Russell holding off the veteran for the spot, having started the race 11th.

Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, continued his early struggles and finished 13th. Mercedes head Toto Wolff apologized to Hamilton over the radio for the “undriveable” car that Hamilton was given in Italy.

The seven-time world champion lost the title to Verstappen in last year’s season finale in one of the best championship fights in decades. On Sunday, Hamilton was lapped by Verstappen on lap 39.


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