Max Verstappen holds off Lando Norris to win Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Max Verstappen holds off Lando Norris to win Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Max Verstappen won the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix by just seven tenths of a second after holding off a late charge from Lando Norris.

Lando Norris sprang to life in the thrilling closing moments of the 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix against Max Verstappen, but the reigning world champion held on to win by a measly 0.725 seconds to salvage what would have been a dreary afternoon in Imola.

Verstappen started the race from pole, followed by Lando Norris, after teammate Piastri was handed a grid penalty and relegated to fifth for impeding Hulkenberg during qualifying. Meanwhile, Fernando Alonso began from the pits after his team changed the rear suspension configuration.

When the lights went out, Verstappen took the lead easily from Pole while Norris appeared to be under attack from Leclerc through Turn 1, but he managed to hold onto second place, trailed by Leclerc, Sainz, Piastri, Russell, Hamilton, Hulkenberg, Tsunoda, and Perez.

Alonso at the back opted to take the plunge by starting on the soft tyres, while majority of the drivers started on the hards. During his ninth lap pit stop, Alonso noticed flames coming from his left front brake as he switched to the hard compound rubber. Although the fire went out as he sped off the pits, Aston Martin’s situation over the weekend went to worse as a result of the incident.

Magnussen gained two positions at the start, as Tsunoda and Ricciardo both lost two while Ocon passed Stroll again after he momentarily overtook him. Albon, Gasly, and Bottas also switched to hard tires following Alonso’s very early stop. Shortly after that, Albon experienced a problem with his car which forced him to finish his out lap quite slowly and eventually headed back to the pits for a new set of mediums.

Albon resumed the race from last place and already a lap down and given that his fresh tyres were clearly more suitably fitted he made good progress catching up with the field. However, his charge was shortlived as later on, he received a 10-second stop-and-go penalty for driving recklessly.

Verstappen, meanwhile, led by 3.3 seconds by lap 13 while Ferrari duo Sainz and Leclerc trailed the McLaren without a trace as Piastri put the pressure on Sainz.

Other than drivers making their routine stops, no positions changed until Sergio Perez went off at Rivazza and drove through the gravel losing himself a little over ten seconds. However, this didn’t cost him a position since he was only a few seconds ahead of Lance Stroll, who was running in ninth place at the time.

Russell pitted first among the front runners on lap 22. One lap later, Norris made an identical tyre switch from medium to hard and resumed the race close behind Perez and later overtook the Red Bull.

Verstappen and Leclerc’s pit stops confirmed the McLarens’ early dominance using the hard tyres as Piastri followed Norris in setting the fastest lap times as the duo overtook several cars. Sainz suffered as a result, coming in behind Piastri after he emerged from the pits.

Russell switched back to mediums as he pitted for the second time on lap 55, and Norris picked up the speed, catching up to Verstappen bit by bit. On the same lap, Norris cut the gap by an entire second, to 2.4 seconds. As the final lap approached, Norris made every effort to close the gap to Verstappen by 0.8 seconds, but in the end, he was unable to mount a serious challenge and Verstappen emerged as the winner.

Verstappen had received an early black-and-white warning flag for three track limits strikes, but avoided a fourth infraction and a subsequent five second penalty that would have cost him victory.

Charles Leclerc completed the podium in third, six seconds behind the leading pair. Oscar Piastri finished fourth, with Carlos Sainz finishing fifth ahead of the two Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell who finished in sixth and seventh.

Sergio Perez took eighth while Lance Stroll and Yuki Tsunoda picked up the final points in ninth and tenth, respectively.

2024 F1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Race Results

1Max VerstappenNEDOracle Red Bull Racing63 Laps
2Lando NorrisGBRMcLaren F1 Team+ 0.725s
3Charles LeclercMONScuderia Ferrari+ 7.916s
4Oscar PiastriAUSMcLaren F1 Team+ 14.132s
5Carlos SainzESPScuderia Ferrari+ 22.325s
6Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team+ 35.104s
7George RussellGBRMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team+ 47.154s
8Sergio PerezMEXOracle Red Bull Racing+ 54.776s
9Lance StrollCANAston Martin Aramco F1 Team+ 79.556s
10Yuki TsunodaJPNVisa Cash App RB F1 Team+ 1 Lap
11Nico HulkenbergGERMoneyGram Haas F1 Team+ 1 Lap
12Kevin MagnussenDENMoneyGram Haas F1 Team+ 1 Lap
13Daniel RicciardoAUSVisa Cash App RB F1 Team+ 1 Lap
14Esteban OconFRABWT Alpine F1 Team+ 1 Lap
15Zhou GuanyuCHNStake F1 Team Kick Sauber+ 1 Lap
16Pierre GaslyFRABWT Alpine F1 Team+ 1 Lap
17Logan SargeantUSAWilliams Racing+ 1 Lap
18Valtteri BottasFINStake F1 Team Kick Sauber+ 1 Lap
19Fernando AlonsoESPAston Martin Aramco F1 Team+ 1 Lap
 Alex AlbonTHAWilliams RacingDNF

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