Verstappen holds off Norris to win Imola GP

    Norris missed out on victory by just 0.725secs; Leclerc completed the podium.

    Published On May 19, 2024 09:53:00 PM

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    Max Verstappen fended off a surprise late charge from Lando Norris to win the Emilia Romagna GP at Imola for the third consecutive time. Despite complaining about tyre wear and battery issues in the closing laps, Verstappen crossed the line 0.725secs ahead of his McLaren rival.

    Charles Leclerc finished third to hand Ferrari a podium finish in front of the team’s home crowd.

    1. Verstappen leads championship by 33 points over Perez
    2. Perez only able to salvage P8 finish

    F1 Imola GP: Verstappen vs Norris

    Red Bull struggled with pace on Friday, but after some last-minute setup changes, Verstappen bagged pole at Imola. He successfully held on to the lead after a clean start and started pulling away while Norris was defending from the Ferraris.

    Norris, who's fresh off his maiden F1 win at the Miami GP, started closing the gap to Verstappen in the closing stages. The Red Bull driver lost some more time after being held up while lapping Yuki Tsunoda in the sister RB car. Just laps later, Verstappen came on the radio saying, “battery is almost empty”. Despite this, he held on, with Norris unable to get close enough to make a move. The McLaren driver missed out on victory by just 0.725secs.

    “I think the whole race I had to push flat out to try and make a gap initially," Verstappen said after the race. "I think on the medium tyres we were quite strong, on the hards it was just a bit more difficult to manage, especially in the last 10-15 laps. I had no grip anymore, I was really sliding a lot.”

    "I saw Lando closing in, so the last 10 laps I was just flat out. It’s very difficult when the tyres are not working anymore and you have to go flat-out. I couldn't afford to make too many mistakes. Luckily we didn’t, and super happy of course to win here today.”

    F1 Imola GP: Podium for Ferrari

    At one point, Leclerc was locked in battle with Norris, but the Ferrari driver eventually had to settle for third place, ahead of Oscar Piastri in the second McLaren car.

    Carlos Sainz also secured a handful of points for Ferrari, finishing P5, followed by the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell in P6 and P7, respectively. Russel’s late pit stop for medium tyres also helped him set the fastest lap of the race, handing him an extra point.

    With Sergio Perez starting down in 11th place after a difficult qualifying, Red Bull opted to have him start the race on hard tyres. He did gain a few places after a late stop for mediums, but could only salvage a P8 finish.

    Lance Stroll finished ninth, scoring Aston Martin’s only points as Fernando Alonso retired his car after a difficult weekend. Tsunoda scored the final point, rounding out the top 10.

    2024 F1 championship standings

    Back to his winning ways, Verstappen now holds a 33-point lead in the championship. Perez is second overall, just five points ahead of Leclerc.

    Next up on the F1 calendar is the Monaco GP on May 24-26.

    2024 F1 Imola GP results

    2024 F1 Emilia Romagna GP results
    PosDriverTeam
    1Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing
    2Lando NorrisMcLaren
    3Charles LeclercFerrari
    4Oscar PiastriMcLaren
    5Carlos SainzFerrari
    6Lewis HamiltonMercedes
    7George RussellMercedes
    8Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing
    9Lance StrollAston Martin
    10Yuki TsunodaRB
    11Nico HulkenbergHaas
    12Kevin MagnussenHaas
    13Daniel RicciardoRB
    14Esteban OconAlpine
    15Zhou GuanyuStake Sauber
    16Pierre GaslyAlpine
    17Logan SargeantWilliams
    18Valtteri BottasStake Sauber
    19Fernando AlonsoAston Martin
    NCAlex AlbonWilliams

    Also see:

    Miami GP: Norris beats Verstappen to score first F1 win

    Red Bull confirms Adrian Newey exit

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