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Emilia Romagna Grand Prix 2021

Verstappen keeps his cool to claim chaotic Emilia Romagna GP

After seeing victory slip through his fingers in Bahrain, Max Verstappen kept his Red Bull pointed in the right direction to take an incident-filled Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. A rare mistake from Lewis Hamilton ultimately took him out of the running for the win, while a big crash between Valtteri Bottas and George Russell brought out the red flag.

Article
To news overview © Red Bull Content Pool / Getty Images

In a race that saw numerous accidents and a red flag, Max Verstappen avoided trouble to take the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

The Dutchman, who started third, shot off the line and took the lead from Lewis Hamilton immediately. The two looked set for another battle like the one seen in Bahrain, however a rare mistake from the Mercedes man ultimately cost him a chance at victory, as he beached his car in the gravel before eventually reversing and finding his way out.

Hamilton worked his way back up the grid to take second after the race was stopped due to a big crash between Valtteri Bottas and George Russell, while Lando Norris, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz rounded out the top five.

Rain in the lead up to the race meant that while the start line looked fairly dry, the opening corners were wet and treacherous as most drivers opted to start on intermediate tyres.

When the lights went green the Red Bulls shot off the line with Verstappen finding his way past Hamilton at the first braking point. The Mercedes driver suffered a bit of front wing damage after running over the curb.

The Safety Car was immediately brought out as Nicholas Latifi spun off at Acque Minerali. The Canadian rejoined but then collided with Nikita Mazepin moments later, sending him into the wall with Verstappen ahead of Hamilton and Leclerc in third.

The front of the grid remained unchanged as the race resumed but the fight for sixth was fierce with Pierre Gasly, Norris, Sainz and Lance Stroll all swapping places. The Ferrari driver eventually fell back from the group after running off track on Lap 10.

While Verstappen built a gap on Hamilton, Perez's hopes of a strong finish were dealt a blow after being handed a 10-second-stop-go for re-passing Daniel Ricciardo and Gasly after running off track under the safety car.

From there the top two pulled away from Leclerc, exchanging fastest laps on a drying track as teams kept a close eye on when to switch to dry tyres. At the front Hamilton began to cut into Verstappen's lead while Sebastian Vettel became the first driver to switch to dry tyres. The Mercedes star found grip on aging tyres, with Verstappen's five second lead quickly coming down to just over a second.

Red Bull were the first to blink as Verstappen came in on Lap 27 in hopes of the overcut. The move worked as Hamilton came in a lap later but his stop wasn't the quickest, meaning the fight for first remained unchanged.

The turning point came minutes later as Hamilton made a mistake and ran off at Tosa. The Brit eventually reversed out of the gravel trap, but he was forced to pit after suffering front wing damage and eventually rejoined in ninth - a lap down.

Minutes later the red flag was brought out after Valtteri Bottas and George Russell came together down the front straight. Russell tried to find his way around the Finn heading into Turn 1, however his right tyres got onto the grass and sent him into the side of the Mercedes at high speed. Both drivers walked away from the collision.

The action resumed with Verstappen ahead of Leclerc and Norris, with the McLaren driver moving up to second after a quick pass at Turn 1. While the Red Bull driver crated a gap over the rest of the grid, Hamilton began his fight back passing the likes of Kimi Raikkonen, Stroll and Ricciardo in quick succession.

Hamilton eventually made his way into second while Verstappen closed out the final laps with relative ease, building a gap of over 20 seconds to take his first win of the season and the 11th of his career.

RN365 News dossier F1 2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

The latest news about the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix straight from the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari.

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