Scroll downfor the latest news

Max Verstappen takes victory in Imola after close battle: 'We can be very happy'

Published on 19 May 2024 by Stefan Meens

After a thrilling battle with Lando Norris in the closing stages of the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix, Max Verstappen secured his fifth win of the 2024 season. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc completed the podium alongside the Oracle Red Bull Racing and McLaren drivers.

“I had to give everything to win this one. The whole race I was pushing. We were strong on the mediums, but we struggled to manage the hard tyres. Especially in the last ten, fifteen laps, I didn’t have any grip or tyre temperature. I went all out in the last ten laps, which was difficult without grip. I couldn’t afford to make any mistakes and I had to make the most of it whilst controlling tyres. Luckily we didn’t make a mistake and I’m really happy to win here today.”

After a challenging Friday, Red Bull Racing managed to turn their fortunes around on Max’ side of the garage. “We changed a lot on the car so we didn’t have much information when we went into the race. That’s why the hard tyre became a challenge. But we can be really pleased with the pole and a win after turning it around this weekend. You can see McLaren is really strong, also in Miami, so we have to work for it.”

When the lights go out, Norris has a slightly better start than Max, but the Dutchman maintains first place as he steers his RB20 into the Tamburello chicane. All 20 drivers get through the first lap unscathed with Max breaking the DRS gap to Norris in the opening stages. After nine laps, his advantage is 2.5 seconds. 

Meanwhile, Alex Albon’s torrid weekend continues when the Williams driver emerges from a pitstop with a front wheel not fully secured. The British-Thai driver has to return to the pits for another tyre stop as well as to serve a ten second time penalty for the unsecured wheel.

On lap 23 Lando Norris is the first of the front runners to make his first pit stop. The McLaren driver emerges in seventh. Max makes his stop a couple of laps later and by lap 28, the Dutchman is back in the lead. Meanwhile, Sergio Perez is desperately trying to make his alternative strategy work by waiting until lap 38 to make his first and final stop. After coming in and exchanging his hard tyres for the medium compound, the Mexican works his way up to eighth by passing Daniel Ricciardo, Nico Hulkenberg and Yuki Tsunoda. At the front, Max leads Norris by seven seconds and appears to be in control

However, in the closing stages, he reports that his tyres are in a bad state, resulting in a nail-biting end to race as Norris closes the gap in the last dozen laps. As the pair cross the start/finish line for the final lap, the gap is less than a second. Nevertheless, Max is able to withstand the pressure to seal his third win at Imola, finishing seven tenths ahead of Norris. Charles Leclerc joins them on the podium to give the thousands of Ferrari tifosi something to cheer about.

Results Grand Prix Emilia-romagna:

1Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT631:25:25.25225
2Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Mercedes63+0.725s18
3Charles LeclercLECFerrari63+7.916s15
4Oscar PiastriPIAMcLaren Mercedes63+14.132s12
5Carlos SainzSAIFerrari63+22.325s10
6Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes63+35.104s8
7George RussellRUSMercedes63+47.154s7
8Sergio PerezPERRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT63+54.776s4
9Lance StrollSTRAston Martin Mercedes63+79.556s2
10Yuki TsunodaTSURB Honda RBPT62+1 lap1
11Nico HulkenbergHULHaas Ferrari62+1 lap0
12Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari62+1 lap0
13Daniel RicciardoRICRB Honda RBPT62+1 lap0
14Esteban OconOCOAlpine Renault62+1 lap0
15Zhou GuanyuZHOKick Sauber Ferrari62+1 lap0
16Pierre GaslyGASAlpine Renault62+1 lap0
17Logan SargeantSARWilliams Mercedes62+1 lap0
18Valtteri BottasBOTKick Sauber Ferrari62+1 lap0
19Fernando AlonsoALOAston Martin Mercedes62+1 lap0
0Alexander AlbonALBWilliams Mercedes51DNF0