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Verstappen Wins at Imola with Nail-Biting finish, F1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Written by Owen Bradley

Credit: Red Bull Content Pool

Max Verstappen took his fifth victory of 2024 at Imola, extending his lead in the championship over the field.

Formula One returned to the iconic Imola Circuit for the 7th round of the F1 Championship, the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix has played host to many memorable moments. A 100% Safety Car chance based off previous Grands Prix at Imola,

A clean start for the entire field, with a few overtakes made by Nico Hulkenberg in the Haas, going around the outside of a few cars at Turn 1, being late on the brakes to then take the inside line of Turn 2.

The race settled down as drivers began to lose grip and were stuck in the infamous DRS train, struggling to overtake on the narrow, flowing circuit of Imola. Awaiting the pit stop window, Verstappen managed to open the gap to McLaren's Lando Norris, fresh off the back of his victory at Miami, who was chasing the Red Bull to try and claim back-to-back victories.

Credit: Red Bull Content Pool

During the race, a small mistake from Lewis Hamilton at acqua minerale would lead to the 7-time champion losing time, and losing even more grip. Sergio Perez would replicate a similar mistake to the Mercedes driver at ravazza, running wide at the penultimate corner and picking up a lot of gravel. Perez was running long into the race on the Hard compound tyre, whereas most of the field started on the Medium tyre.

Alexander Albon would endure a difficult race after his first pit stop led to one of the tyres not being fitted properly. Albon would pick up a penalty and made four pit stops, eventually retiring from the race. Fernando Alonso would also endure a difficult race, starting from the pit lane and struggling for grip. Alonso would also retire from the race in the closing stages, with Lance Stroll being the only Aston Martin to score points, with a ninth place finish.

Credit: Red Bull Content Pool

In the closing stages, Verstappen would lose front end grip as Lando Norris caught up to the back of the Red Bull. However, despite closing to within a second on the final lap there would not be a DRS zone available, Norris just unable to take another victory, but finishing less than a second from the Dutchman.

Charles Leclerc would give the Tifosi something to cheer about, finishing in third place for Ferrari at their home circuit. Oscar Piastri would bring home his McLaren for a fourth place finish, managing to overtake Carlos Sainz's Ferrari during the pit stops, Sainz was unable to make the overcut strategy work, as he nearly lost a place to George Russell. Sainz would finish in fifth.

Credit: Red Bull Content Pool

Russell needed to make another pit stop later on into the race, and ceased position to Lewis Hamilton who finished in sixth. Hamilton struggled initially earlier in the weekend over one lap pace, however managed to recover in the Grand Prix. Sergio Perez would be unable to make his strategy work, attempting to finish on the medium compound. The tyre degradation was higher than expected, with Perez pitting on Lap 38 of 63, earlier than the Mexican would have wanted on the Hard tyres.

Stroll would finish ninth, with Yuki Tsunoda managing to finish inside points at RB's home race. Both Haas drivers finished just outside the points, despite Hulkenberg's impressive race start.

A difficult race for many drivers, a tough circuit to overtake at, especially with DRS trains and narrow corners which flow, unable to offer multiple racing lines for many of the corners, and subsequently making the racing more difficult.

Formula One returns for the jewel in the crown next weekend, the Monaco Grand Prix in Monte Carlo.


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