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Max Verstappen

How Verstappen's unique skill helped his miraculous save at Imola

Max Verstappen impressed many at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix when he managed to keep his car on track during a spin behind the safety car. Former F1 driver Jolyon Palmer believes that Verstappen has a particular talent in this area.

Verstappen Imola
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Former F1 driver Jolyon Palmer has praised Max Verstappen's "instinctive" ability to save a spin after he avoided going off the track at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

The Dutchman had a wobble behind the safety car ahead of the restart of the race but somehow was able to prevent his car from completely spinning off. Whilst this could be deemed lucky, Palmer thinks that Verstappen's history shows he has a unique skill in this area.

"Through a mixture of luck and skill he managed to pull the car round and somehow not even fully leave the track, which could have cost him track position to [Charles] Leclerc or [Lando] Norris behind," Palmer wrote in his column for Formula1.com.

"He hit and then released the brakes at the perfect moment as he was spinning across the grass and it seemed to correct the slide and pitch him right – back onto the track.

"On the face of it this seems like pure luck in this situation, and it certainly was lucky that he didn’t fully leave the track by the skin of his teeth.

"But I’ve seen Max control a spinning car on the brakes a few times now and quite often he can pull of these miraculous saves. Think back to Brazil 2016, or even Turkey last year where hitting the brakes and releasing at the optimum moment has saved him.

"This must be a purely instinctive thing for him as it’s not really something a driver can practice for particularly, but once again he managed to wrestle the car back from a position where I’m sure many others would have spun completely."

Verstappen went on to win the race ahead of Lewis Hamilton, who similarly managed to avoid disaster after a slide into the barriers caused damage to his front wing.

The Briton benefited from the timing of the safety car and was able to work his way back up through the field.

"Hamilton had his own bit of luck with the timing of the red flag," Palmer said. "It couldn’t have been better for him. Still, he had to make the most of that though, and delivered a fine recovery drive to finish second with fastest lap.

"I’m sure at the chequered flag, Max would have been gutted to see Lewis in second, knowing that he was on the fringes of the top 10 at the red flag, but in a race where both drivers were superb, and got away with one, the championship remains neck and neck and the excitement continues."

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