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Verstappen holds off Norris to win Emilia Romagna Grand Prix: Formula One – as it happened
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Verstappen holds off Norris to win Emilia Romagna Grand Prix: Formula One – as it happened

new undisputed world heavyweight champion, Oleksandr Usyk:

“You’ve got two guys going at it like Tyson Fury and … in the fight last night.”

“Things don’t stand still in Formula 1. McLaren have made a step, Ferrari have made a step. We’re going to keep that level of development coming thorugh.”

Who will be Red Bull’s biggest rivals next week in Monaco, Horner is asked:

“McLaren have got a very fast car at the moment … but Ferrari are ‘in the noise’ with them as well. It’s good for you guys [media]. It’s great to win a race like that when you’ve been pushed very hard …

“[For Max] to win a race like that, when you haven’t buckled under the pressure, is fantastic.”

There are 17 races still to go. This Formula 1 season is going to be feel more gruelling than your standard Premier League campaign. Speaking of which:

We have the national anthems. Then Verstappen gets his hands on the trophy.

The crowd gives a huge cheer for Leclerc on the podium. Then, today’s top three drivers waste some perfectly good champagne.

Leclerc is the first Ferrari driver to make the podium at Imola since Michael Schumacher in 2006.

There will be dancing in the streets of Bologna tonight.

“At least it’s a podium,” Leclerc says. “We were very fast at the start.”

Then he hits the tifosi with some impressively fluent Italian. And he says the next race – his home race in Monaco next Sunday – will be special.

1) Verstappen
2) Norris
3) Leclerc
4) Piastri
5) Sainz
6) Hamilton
7) Russell
8) Perez
9) Stroll
10) Tsunoda
11) Hulkenberg
12) Magnussen
13) Ricciardo
14) Ocon
15) Zhou
16) Gasly
17) Sargeant
18) Bottas
19) Alonso
Retired: Albon

Did Norris think, with a few more laps, the victory was his?

“Yeah. It hurts me to say. One or two more laps and I think I would have had him. Tough. A shame. I fought hard until the final laps … it was a tough first half, a better second half … one or two more laps would have been beautiful. But just not today.

“We are at the point now, we can happily say, we’re in the [same] position as Ferrari and Red Bull … we’re fighting for first and second now … it’s still a surprise to be disappointed not to win. But after the improvements we made at the last race, it’s what we should expect.”

Did Verstappen feel under pressure out there?

“Yeah, I think the whole race I had to push flat out, to make a gap initially … on the mediums we were quite strong … the last 10, 15 laps I had no grip, I was sliding a lot. It was difficult when the tyres are not working anymore and you have to go flat out. I couldn’t afford to make any mistakes. But I’m super happy to win here today.

“We changed a lot on the car, we didn’t have a lot of information going into the race … but I’ll take that.”

Top 10:

1 Max Verstappen

2 Lando Norris

3 Charles Leclerc

4 Oscar Piastri

5 Carlos Sainz

6 Lewis Hamilton

7 George Russell

8 Sergio Perez

9 Lance Stroll

10 Yuki Tsunoda

It looked like being a procession up front for most of the race, but that was really exciting at the end. Red Bull’s Verstappen lost a lot of pace in the closing laps, and Norris closed to within around a second, having trailed by 6 or 7sec. But a few errors by Norris appeared to cost him when he was almost in DRS range …

It will be interesting to hear Verstappen’s and Norris’s thoughts on that battle. Are we seeing the start of a really big rivalry?

“Unlucky. Almost,” Norris tells his team. “We just lost too much in the beginning … but well done everyone … A lot of points, another trophy. Let’s keep it up.”

“I had to work for that,” says Verstappen on team radio. “Whoo! We did a great race, considering how the weekend started … I had to work hard for that.”

Verstappen wins, Norris second, Leclerc third.

The world champion holds on for the win for Red Bull! Norris pushed him all the way at the end for his second grand prix win, but the Dutchman edged home. A brilliant race in the end.

Final lap! Verstappen leads by 0.9sec …

Lap 62/63: The gap between Norris in second and Verstappen is 1.060sec!

Norris nearly goes into the gravel! But he holds it together! The race is on …

Lap 61/63: Three laps to go. It’s 1.367sec the lead for Verstappen … but I think the champion is going to hold on for victory. Did Norris take something out of his tyres with those mistakes?

Looks like Alonso, in last place, is going to retire … but no! He comes back out. “Must be pitstop practice,” says Kravitz.

Lap 60/63: Norris trails Verstappen by 1.473sec.

Norris has said he’s lost all grip, on the radio. All over?

Lap 59/63: Verstappen stems the bleeding and clocks a quicker lap for the first time in a while … but the gap to Norris is 1.5sec.

Lap 58/63: It’s holding at around 1.7sec. There was a mistake by Norris that cost him a fraction of a second. In fact at least two errors on a bit of a scruffy lap.

Lap 58/63: It’s 1.630sec between Verstappen and Norris!

“I’m pushing as much as I can!” Norris says.

Lap 57/63: The gap is down to 2sec. Norris is closing on DRS range … Could he make it two out of two?

Lap 56/63: We’ve got a real race! Norris is 2.2sec down! He has Verstappen in his sights …

Verstappen complains about Tsunoda, in 10th, slowing him down.

Lap 55/63: Norris was a whole second quicker than Verstappen on the previous lap!

Is this better tyre management by Norris? Does Verstappen have a problem?

“The car doesn’t turn,” Verstappen has said, apparently! (It wasn’t broadcast on radio.)

Lap 54/63: Norris is 3.5sec down now!

Not sure what’s up with Verstappen up front, and neither are the commentators …

Lap 53/63: Seems like Verstappen is complaining about his tyres. He’s lost pace. Norris is catching up … he’s 4.2sec behind. But can he make a real race of it?

Lap 52/63: Up front, Verstappen has 4.5sec on Norris. Towards the back, Magnussen overtakes Bottas for 13th place at Tamburello.

Lap 51/63: Alpine sent Gasly out with a two-stop strategy. He’s now running 17th and they’re hoping to make up some places late in the race, the team principal, Bruno Famin, tells Sky.

Lap 50/63:

Top 10:


It’s 5.7sec for Verstappen v Norris.

Lap 49/63: Fifteen laps to go. Norris trails Verstappen by 6sec. Leclerc has fallen back to over 2sec behind Norris.

Lap 47/63: “George Russell is struggling for pace,” says Ted Kravitz of one of those Mercedes machines. “It’s sliding at the front, and sliding at the rear, and the lap times show that.”

Lap 46/63: There is an elevation change of 35metres on the Imola circuit, apparently. It’s a bit like the famous Lord’s slope.

Norris has found a bit more pace. He’s over a second up on Leclerc … he’s escaped the clutches of the Frenchman for now.

Lap 45/63: Top 10: Verstappen, Norris, Leclerc, Piastri, Sainz, Russell, Hamilton, Perez, Tsunoda, Hulkenberg.

Source: theguardian.com