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Nico Rosberg

Rosberg hails 'relentless' Verstappen after Sprint charge

Max Verstappen has received praise from Nico Rosberg after fighting back against Charles Leclerc in the F1 Sprint at Imola.

Verstappen win Imola sprint
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To news overview © Red Bull Contentpool

Nico Rosberg has described Max Verstappen's performance in the Imola Sprint race as "relentless" after he overhauled Charles Leclerc for victory.

Verstappen started the 21-lap encounter on pole position but endured a slow getaway that opened the door for Leclerc to take the lead into Turn 1.

However, the Red Bull driver stayed within touching distance of his Ferrari rival and edged closer when Leclerc began to suffer from tyre graining.

Just two laps from the chequered flag, Verstappen got within DRS range to pull off what Rosberg has labelled a "brilliant move" for the win.

Rosberg impressed with Verstappen's recovery

Reacting to the events, Rosberg was full of praise for the reigning World Champion.

"Verstappen [was] just typical, so relentless," Rosberg told Sky Sports F1.

"He's one of those guys that you least want to see in your rear-view mirrors, getting bigger and bigger, because you just know that guy is gonna attack, absolutely giving it 100 per cent.

"That's what he did again, with a brilliant move there, which was fantastic to see.

"I'm loving the Sprint races, to be honest. It was really fun to watch, really good action, so I'm all for it!"

Who will hold the upper hand in the race?

While Verstappen came out on top in the Sprint, Rosberg is expecting another close battle between Red Bull and Ferrari in the Grand Prix itself.

"I still think that Ferrari has the fastest car out there, even though Red Bull is now much closer with their upgrades," said the 2016 F1 title winner.

"We know that they've dropped the car weight, [brought the] centre of gravity down, we know that they've brought those aerodynamic upgrades on the floor, so they're looking better.

"But when we get away from the Soft tyre (used by Verstappen and Leclerc in the Sprint), like the Medium and Hard tyre, I think it's still advantage [to Ferrari].

"I think we're in for a really, really spectacular race tomorrow, and they're gonna be on a level playing field."

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