Max Versteppen dominated the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix to grab his second win of the season after Charles Leclerc spun with just 10 laps to go, as he desperately tried to chase down Sergio Perez who was second. McLaren's Lando Norris was the benefactor of Leclerc's costly error, finishing third like he did a year ago.
After a tricky start to the season for Red Bull, getting a one-two at Ferrari's home Grand Prix is a fantastic achievment.
The Dutchman got off to an ideal start - something he wanted to do after yesterday's poor start to the sprint race - as he kept his cool through the changeable conditions and the constant threat of more rain.
Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix
Verstappen's dominance puts pressure on Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes in Miami
It was not the start to the race either the Tifosi or Ferrari were hoping for. Leclerc dropped to fourth after losing out to Perez and Norris at the start, as for the second time in successive Grand Prix's, Carlos Sainz crashed out early on, after getting tapped into a spin by Daniel Ricciardo when the pair attempted to go side-by-side through the Tamburello chicane for the first time.
Ricciardo had to pit after he got front wing damage whilst Fernando Alonso was the innocent victim of a spin by Mick Schumacher, which put a hole in the right-hand side sidepod of the Spaniard's Alpine, eventually forcing him to retire as the safety car came out to recover the stricken Ferrari.
Once the safety car came back into the pits, all drivers were hunting for wet patches on the track in an attempt to cool over-heating tyres. Leclerc used the slip-stream to full effect to get back past Norris, out-braking the McLaren driver going into the Tamburello chicane.
- Verstappen's dominance puts pressure on Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes in Miami
- Wolff sorry to Hamilton for Mercedes car: 'Not good enough for world champion'
- Verstappen leads Red Bull one-two as Leclerc suffers dramatic late accident
George Russell made his way past Kevin Magnussen with a brilliant move going into the very fast turn 14 and 15 chicane, before the Dane also lost out to Valterri Bottas a lap later, dropping him to seventh.
The race-leading Verstappen was extending his margin over teammate Perez, who was having to hold off Leclerc, desperate to recover from a poor start. Despite looking comfortable, Verstappen was reporting a lot of sliding as the track continued to dry. The problem was, however, no one wanted to pit for slicks with more rain forecast to fall.
But in a further twist, the rain quickly passed over and with no more forecast, the field all pitted for medium compound tyres, creating a very busy pit-lane as Esteban Ocon and Lewis Hamilton collided. The Frenchman was soon handed a five-second time penalty for an unsafe release.
Once the pit-stops were over with, Leclerc was closer than he had ever been to Perez in the race, but with the FIA hesitant to enable DRS, could not quite find a route through - even with a small mistake from the Mexican that forced him to go across the wet grass.
In truth, the race turned into a bit of a procession at this stage, with no DRS and a single dry line making overtaking opportunities hard to come by.
With the top three all spread out, Leclerc decided to pit on lap 50 for the red-walled soft compound tyres in an attempt to go for the fastest lap and grab an extra championship point. Perez also did the same a lap later, which brought Leclerc back onto his gearbox, but as was the case all race long, the Monegasque driver could not find a way past.
As the Mexican put a gap between him and the championship leader, Leclerc spun after he clipped the curb at the turn 14 and 15 chicane too hard, hitting the outside tyre barrier and damaging his front wing, forcing him to pit. That dropped the fan favourite this weekend, down to ninth.
That left the Red Bull duo of Verstappen and Perez to cruise to the end for a brilliant result with Norris coming home third.
Russell came home fourth after holding off Bottas late on. Leclerc eventually recovered to finish sixth whilst Yuki Tsunoda finished seventh.
Aston Martin scored their first point of the season with Sebastian Vettel eighth. Magnussen eventually finished ninth with Lance Stroll 10th.
DRIVER OF THE DAY: GEORGE RUSSELL
Obviously, Verstappen's drive was seriously impressive, but George Russell once again showed what a brilliant asset he is going to be for Mercedes this year.
He came through from 11th on the grid to finish fourth, pulling off a very impressive move on Magnussen, before holding off former Mercedes driver, Bottas.
The Brit is the only driver this season to finish every race in the top five and currently sits fourth in the championship. He has also been much quicker than the very experienced Hamilton this weekend.
WHERE THE RACE WAS WON
LAP 1/63 - SAINZ IS OUT! Just like last time out in Australia, Carlos Sainz is out of the Grand Prix early on after contact with Daniel Ricciardo through the Tamburello chicane. The Tifosi can't belive it! Meanwhile, it's a Red Bull one-two with Verstappen leading from Sergio Perez, Norris is third and Leclerc is fourth.
The sheer dominance of the Red Bull's today and the difficulties faced by Leclerc meant the race was won at the start as the Dutchman was never troubled.
PIT EXCHANGE OF THE DAY
Fearing a rather lonely end to the race, and probably feeling a little frustrated by his position, Leclerc asked his engineer, "How does plan-B look?" A quick response followed, of which Leclerc was told; "Not good, stay out."
That exchange shows just how difficult strategy was today for teams and drivers to manage, with a constant threat of more rain and heavy tyre wear making overtaking challenging to say the least. In addition to this, a 29-second pit-stop lost meant making an extra stop was not the ideal strategy to go on.
A mention must also go to Toto Wolff's apology to Hamilton at the chequered flag. "This race was awful, I can only apologise that you had to drive the car like this today, Lewis."
"No worries Toto, we'll keep working hard - we'll get to the bottom of it," was the response from Hamilton.
That perfectly sums up the fighting spirit Mercedes are trying to show as they continue to find themselves in a position that is unnatural to them.
OVERTAKE OF THE DAY
The turn 14 and 15 chicane only really has one line through it and is not known for being an overtaking opportunity. It is a short run up the hill to the entry that is not particularly wide either. For two cars to go through there takes an awful lot of respect and great skill.
Both Magnussen and Russell showed that today. Having struggled to find a way pass the Haas, Russell dived up the inside going into the chicane, grabbing fifth place. It was also a move that arguably set the Briton up for his fourth-placed finish. It was a move that could have gone wrong, but both drivers showed the respect necessary to make it work.
Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix
Wolff sorry to Hamilton for Mercedes car: 'Not good enough for world champion'
Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix
Verstappen celebrates Red Bull one-two: We deserved it
Share this article