F1 – Verstappen Passes Leclerc Late To Claim Sprint Victory In Imola

F1 world champion Max Verstappen passed 2022 Championship leader Charles Leclerc at the start of the penultimate lap of a thrilling Sprint in Imola to take victory, eight points and pole position for tomorrow’s FIA Formula 1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. Sergio Pérez finished third ahead of Carlos Sainz after both drivers recovered from difficult Friday qualifying sessions.

Red Bull driver Verstappen started the first Sprint from pole position but when the lights went out at the start he lost out to the fast starting Leclerc and the Ferrari driver powered past the Dutchman on the run to Tamburello. Behind them, Pérez made a good start from P7 on the grid to sweep past Alpine’s Fernando Alonso and McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo in the first corners. He then closed on Haas’s Kevin Magnussen but the Dane aggressively defended his position and was later shown a black and white flag for weaving on the straight.

However, even as that battle was developing the race was neutralised. Further back Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu tangled with AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly at Piratello and the Chinese driver spun into the barriers. As Gasly limped back to the pits for repairs, the Safety Car was released.

The SC left the track at the end of lap four and Leclerc managed the restart well to keep Verstappen at bay, with McLaren’s Lando Norris third ahead of Magnussen and Pérez.

When DRS was enabled at the end of lap seven, Pérez got a good exit out of the final corner and he powered past the Haas as they started the next lap to take fourh place. Three laps late the Mexican closed in on McLaren’s Lando Norris and eased past the Briton under DRS. Behind Norris, Ricciardo got past Magnussen.

With 10 laps left Leclerc found himself 1.5s ahead of Verstappen, with Pérez 6.1s further back. Norris was now fourth, ahead of Ricciardo and Sainz who had also passed Magnussen. The second Ferrari driver was on the move, however, and at the start of lap 14 he used DRS to comfortably power Ricciardo.

At the front, Leclerc began to suffer with graining tyres and Verstappen began to erase the gap. On lap 16 the Red Bull driver pulled into DRS range of the Ferrari. At the end of lap 19 the world champion got the better exit out of Rivazza 2 and as they crossed the line to start the penultimate lap Verstappen moved to the outside and passed the Ferrari in the first chicane to take the lead, the win and eight championship points.

Checo crossed the line in third, just 1.7s behind Leclerc, while fourth place went to Sainz who had demoted Norris to fifth in the closing stages. Ricciardo finished in sixth place ahead of Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas, while Magnussen’s slide down the order halted in P8, for which he claimed the last point on offer.


2022 FIA Formula 1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – Sprint
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 21 30:39.567
2 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 21 30:42.542 2.975
3 Sergio Pérez Red Bull 21 30:44.288 4.721
4 Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 21 30:57.145 17.578
5 Lando Norris McLaren/Mercedes 21 31:04.128 24.561
6 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren/Mercedes 21 31:07.307 27.740
7 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 21 31:07.700 28.133
8 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 21 31:10.279 30.712
9 Fernando Alonso Alpine/Renault 21 31:11.845 32.278
10 Mick Schumacher Haas/Ferrari 21 31:13.340 33.773
11 George Russell Mercedes 21 31:15.851 36.284
12 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri/Red Bull 21 31:17.865 38.298
13 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin/Mercedes 21 31:19.744 40.177
14 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 21 31:21.026 41.459
15 Lance Stroll Aston Martin/Mercedes 21 31:22.477 42.910
16 Esteban Ocon Alpine/Renault 21 31:23.084 43.517
17 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri/Red Bull 21 31:23.361 43.794
18 Alexander Albon Williams/Mercedes 21 31:28.438 48.871
19 Nicholas Latifi Williams/Mercedes 21 31:31.584 52.017
Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 0 – Accident

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