Although reigning world champion Max Verstappen lost the lead at the start of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix sprint race, but he could fight back with just two laps to the end to overtake championship leader Charles Leclerc.
Ferrari’s four-time race winning driver Charles Leclerc had a great getaway at the start, managing to overtake Max Verstappen before the pair approached the first corner complex named Variante Tamburello.
At the back of the field, there was frustration for AlphaTauri and Alfa Romeo as Pierre Gasly and Zhou Guanyu collided at Piratella. The Frenchman managed to crawl back to the pits for new tyres and a new front wing, but the Chinese driver crashed into the walls with the incident bringing out the Safety Car.
When the Bernd Maylander-driven car left the track, Leclerc made sure that Verstappen did not have any chance of overtaking him on the start-finish straight.
There was also frustration for Mercedes as both George Russell and Lewis Hamilton lost positions on the first lap, dropping back to P12 and P15 respectively.
As the race went ahead, Red Bull driver Sergio Perez and Ferrari racer Carlos Sainz started to make inroads after starting the race from P7 and P10 respectively following their problems in the qualifying session. The Mexican got past Fernando Alonso and Daniel Ricciardo on the first lap and overtook Kevin Magnussen with the help of DRS later on.
On the other hand, the Spaniard also started to make up positions, overtaking Fernando Alonso and Daniel Ricciardo in eye-catching style.
On lap 11, Perez closed in on McLaren’s Lando Norris and overtook the British driver on revamped brutally long start-finish straight. At the same time, a fierce battle formed between Ricciardo and Magnussen with the Australian getting the better of the Dane into Turn 1. Sainz was then eager to make the jump on the Haas returnee as well, and only needed two laps to also get past Ricciardo.
In the meantime, Ferrari's Monegasque racer appeared to be in control of the sprint and held a 1.5 second advantage over Verstappen for the majority of the race.
Although there was a five-second gap between Sainz and Norris, the Spaniard had so much pace in his Ferrari SF-75 that he could closed in on and overtake the Bristol-born McLaren driver in the closing stages of the race.
At the front, Leclerc started to suffer from graining with four laps to go, and Verstappen got close to the Monegasque. On lap 20, the reigning world champion then made the race-winning move with the help of the DRS around the outside of Leclerc at the Tamburello chicane.
Leclerc had no answer as his tyres fell off in the dying minutes of the 21-lap sprint race, leaving Verstappen to claim the pole position for Sunday’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
|1||1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Rbpt||21||30:39.567||0|
|3||11||Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing Rbpt||21||+4.721s||0|
|5||4||Lando Norris||Mclaren Mercedes||21||+24.561s||0|
|6||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Mclaren Mercedes||21||+27.740s||0|
|7||77||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||21||+28.133s||0|
|8||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||21||+30.712s||0|
|9||14||Fernando Alonso||Alpine Renault||21||+32.278s||0|
|10||47||Mick Schumacher||Haas Ferrari||21||+33.773s||0|
|12||22||Yuki Tsunoda||Alphatauri Rbpt||21||+38.298s||0|
|13||5||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||21||+40.177s||0|
|15||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||21||+42.910s||0|
|16||31||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault||21||+43.517s||0|
|17||10||Pierre Gasly||Alphatauri Rbpt||21||+43.794s||0|
|18||23||Alexander Albon||Williams Mercedes||21||+48.871s||0|
|19||6||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Mercedes||21||+52.017s||0|
|NC||24||Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||0||DNF||0|