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

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

Max Verstappen withstood a determined late-race charge from Lando Norris to take his fifth victory of the season at the 2024 FIA Formula 1 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix, with Charles Leclerc finishing third for Ferrari. 


After a strong start in which Verstappen took the lead from pole and then ruthlessly controlled the bulk of the race, it looked like a third Imola win in a row was a certainty. However in the final 10 laps, the Red Bull driver’s Hard tyres began to fade badly and Norris smelled blood. However, despite the gap falling to less than a second, Verstappen held on for a hard-won victory. 


“The whole race I had to push flat out,” said Verstappen. “On the Medium tyres, we were quite strong. On the Hard tyres, it was just a bit more difficult to manage, and especially the last 10 or 15 laps, I had no grip anymore. I was really sliding a lot. I saw Lando closing in. So the last 10 laps it was just flat out. I couldn't afford to make too many mistakes. Luckily, we didn't and I'm super happy of course to win here today.”


When the lights went out at the start, Verstappen got away well to take the lead from pole as the field powered into the Tamburello chicane. Behind the top two Leclerc held third place ahead of the second Ferrari of Carlos Sainz and McLaren’s Oscar Piastri. 


At the front, with clear air ahead, Verstappen began to pull away from Norris and with seven laps on the board the Dutchman was almost two-seconds clear of the McLaren and as the first stint evolved the Red Bull driver worked his way to a five-second lead over Norris. 


At the end of lap 23, Norris made his sole pit stop of the race and after switching to Hard tyres, the McLaren emerged behind Sergio Pérez who was running a long opening stint on Hard tyres. However, with older rubber onboard, the Mexican couldn’t keep the Briton at bay and he surrendered the position at the start of the following lap. 


Verstappen then made his pit stop and after a 2.6s switch to Hard tyres he rejoined in fourth place, behind Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton. And as new leader Leclerc, second-placed team-mate Carlos Sainz and Hamilton cycled through the pit lane for their stops Verstappen once again took the lead, 6.3s ahead of Norris. 


Behind the top two Leclerc was again third, but Piastri had undercut the late-stopping Sainz to steal fourth place. Pérez, meanwhile, was now in sixth place on starting Hard tyres and with his pace flagging he soon dropped back to eighth behind the Mercedes drivers.


At the end of lap 37 Pérez at last headed into the pits to move to Medium tyres and though he initially dropped back to his starting position of 11th, the pace advantage afforded his new Medium tyres allowed to swiftly reel in the drivers ahead. 


On lap 39 he powered past the RB of Ricciardo and a lap later 40, with aid of DRS, breezed past Hülkenberg on the run to Tamburello. His next target was the second RB of Tsunoda and on lap 43 he again used DRS to steam past the Japanese driver on the pit straight to move up to P8. 


At the front, things appeared to be going smoothly for Verstappen but with 10 laps remaining he came on team radio to complain that “my tyres don’t work” and over the following laps a 6.0s gap to Norris crumbled to four and then two seconds. 


Despite the limitations, Verstappen stayed cool and though the gap dropped towards DRS range in the final three laps, the champion held on to take the chequered flag just 0.7s ahead of the McLaren.
 

With Norris second and Leclerc taking the final podium position, fourth place went to Oscar Piastri with the Australian driver finishing ahead of Sainz and the twin Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell. 


Pérez then crossed the line in P8 to take four points at the end of a good recovery from 11th place at the start. Ninth place went to Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll and the final point was claimed by Tsunoda.

 

2024 FIA Formula 1 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix – Race 
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda RBPT 63 1:25'25.252 
2 Lando Norris McLaren/Mercedes 63 1:25'25.977 0.725
3 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 63 1:25'33.168 7.916
4 Oscar Piastri McLaren/Mercedes 63 1:25'39.384 14.132
5 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 63 1:25'47.577 22.325
6 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 63 1:26'00.356 35.104
7 George Russell Mercedes 63 1:26'12.406 47.154
8 Sergio Pérez Red Bull/Honda RBPT 63 1:26'20.028 54.776
9 Lance Stroll Aston Martin/Mercedes 63 1:26'44.808 1'19.556
10 Yuki Tsunoda RB/Honda RBPT 62 1:25'43.108 1 lap /17.856
11 Nico Hülkenberg Haas/Ferrari 62 1:25'50.529 1 lap /25.277
12 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 62 1:25'51.686 1 lap /26.434
13 Daniel Ricciardo RB/Honda RBPT 62 1:25'52.913 1 lap /27.661
14 Esteban Ocon Alpine/Renault 62 1:26'09.159 1 lap /43.907
15 Zhou Guanyu Kick Sauber/Ferrari 62 1:26'10.185 1 lap /44.933
16 Pierre Gasly Alpine/Renault 62 1:26'14.967 1 lap /49.715
17 Logan Sargeant Williams/Mercedes 62 1:26'16.303 1 lap /51.051
18 Valtteri Bottas Kick Sauber/Ferrari 62 1:26'21.595 1 lap /56.343
19 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin/Mercedes 62 1:26'40.376 1 lap /1'15.124
     Alexander Albon Williams/Mercedes 51 1:13'07.729 Withdrew
 


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