Verstappen holds off late Norris charge to win in Imola

Just a second separated the top two heading into the final lap of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

IMOLA, ITALY - MAY 19: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB20 leads Lando Norris of Great Britain driving the (4) McLaren MCL38 Mercedes during the F1 Grand Prix of Emilia-Romagna at Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari Circuit on May 19, 2024 in Imola, Italy. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202405190411 // Usage for editorial use only //

Max Verstappen survived late pressure from Lando Norris to take victory at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola.

The McLaren driver had to settle for second after closing in on the reigning champion in the final laps, while Charles Leclerc joined the duo on the podium in third.

After a difficult qualifying, Fernando Alonso started the race from the pitlane, and gambled on an early safety car by starting on soft tyres, but with no incidents in the early laps he soon had to come in for fresh tyres.

Alex Albon also stopped early, but after rejoining the track he reported on of his tyres wasnt’ on proprely, and had to slowly drive back to the pit, resulting in a 10-second stop and go penalty for the Williams driver.

There was a close battle between the McLarens and the Ferraris towards the front of the field, with Oscar Piastri looking to pressure Carlos Sainz for fourth place.

Norris was the first of the front runners to pit, coming out in traffic behind Sergio Perez, while Piastri and Verstappen shortly following, while the Ferraris stayed out longer.

But, with the McLarens showing strong pace on new tyres, Ferrari soon brought in Leclerc, followed by Sainz a couple of laps later, but staying out longer meant he rejoined behind Piastri.

Leclerc in particular seemed stronger on the hard tyres, closing in on Norris for second, with the winner last time out questioning over the radio why the Ferrari was so much faster.

Inside the final 10 laps, Norris started to pick up the pace, pulling away from Leclerc and closing to within two seconds of Verstappen, who struggled to get past a backmarker.

Just a second separated the two drivers heading into the final lap, but Norris couldn’t quite get close enough to go for the overtake.

A difficult day for Albon saw him finish the race as the only retiree, with Williams bringing him into the garage late on, while George Russell secured the bonus point for fastest lap after pitting late on.

Provisional classification:

1 Max Verstappen (Red Bull)

2. Lando Norris (McLaren)

3. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)

4. Oscar Piastri (McLaren)

5. Carlos Sainz (Ferrrari)

6. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

7. George Russell (Mercedes)

8. Sergio Perez (Red Bull)

9. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin)

10. Yuki Tsunoda (VCARB)

11. Nico Hulkenberg (Haas)

12. Kevin Magnussen (Haas)

13. Daniel Ricciardo (VCARB)

14. Estaban Ocon (Alpine)

15. Guanyu Zhou (Sauber)

16. Pierre Gasly (Alpine)

17. Logan Sargeant (Williams)

18. Valtteri Bottas (Sauber)

19. Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin)


Alex Albon (Williams)

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