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Max Verstappen

Verstappen: 'I almost crashed into a grandstand' in Imola win

Max Verstappen was made to work for his race victory at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, crossing the line less than a second ahead of Lando Norris.

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Max Verstappen has explained a lack of grip towards the end of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix saw him “almost end up in the grandstand”.

Verstappen came under pressure from McLaren's Lando Norris for the race lead as the event entered its final laps.

The reigning world champion struggled for form on the Hard tyres during his second stint and was one track limit violation away from being handed a five-second time penalty.

However, the Dutchman held on to take his 59th grand prix win - which did not come without a struggle.

“First of all, on the Mediums it was very good,” Verstappen told media including RacingNews365

“I didn’t expect that kind of pace after what we did so far in the weekend. 

“We somehow kept the balance together but as soon as I swapped to the Hard tyres, maybe not the first five to 10 laps but after that I was like ‘I’m not sure I can bring this to the end’.

“The tyres just fell out of the operating window. It was just like driving on ice, very snappy. 

“You could feel when the tyres were not gripping up anymore. Turn 7, I almost ended up in the grandstand from my feeling at some point.”

'Trying to survive'

Norris closed the gap to Verstappen to within a second on the final lap, crossing the line just seven-tenths behind the three-time world champion.

Verstappen revealed he was forced to adjust his lines into corners in a bid to “survive” Norris' pressure.

“It was really difficult, some really weird lines I had to take,” Verstappen reflected.

“But those last 10 laps I was really trying to survive and then Lando picked up the pace. 

“I could see him catch up, I was not sure if I could keep him behind but I was trying to do the best I could, pushing as hard as I could with the grip I had. 

“Luckily [there were] just enough laps.”

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