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Max Verstappen

Verstappen turns to painkillers after being left 'broken' by brutal Imola

It was a bruising victory for Max Verstappen, one that left him a broken man and in need of pain relief

Verstappen Leclerc
To news overview © XPBimages

Max Verstappen has conceded to being left "broken" following his latest F1 victory that left him in need of painkillers.

From a self-proclaimed "bad day" on Friday when Verstappen was left frustrated by his surprisingly below-par RB20 ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola, the three-time F1 champion went on to claim pole and the 59th win of his career.

Verstappen managed to hold off a charging Lando Norris in his McLaren, taking the chequered flag by just 0.725s from the Briton who had a second successive win in his sights after breaking his duck a fortnight ago in Miami.

But it came at a price for the 26-year-old. "I'm just broken from the bumps, to be honest," revealed Verstappen when asked as to how he was feeling physically. "My back, everything is hurting.

"It's not so much from the physical side of things, but it was just so bumpy out there. Already after like 20 laps, I could really feel my back. So I'm just looking forward to laying in bed, maybe take some painkillers, and a massage, I don't know."

Best win of the season

Verstappen's latest success, that has opened a 48-point gap to Ferrari's Charles Leclerc, who finished third, was hailed as "a masterclass" by Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.

Not only did he have to contend with tyres that ran out of life, but he also received three black-and-white flags for exceeding track limits. A fourth, whilst coming under severe pressure from Norris, would have likely resulted in a penalty and cost him the win.

Asked whether his performance was one of his best in F1, especially after what had occurred on Friday and how far off the pace he was, he replied: "I would say definitely this year, in terms of how we managed to turn things around.

"In general this year, of course, we have had a really good car so far. But for whatever reason, we didn't get on top of things from the start.

"I do think from qualifying onwards, it all looked a bit more normal. But maybe we were still not on top of things for the race because on the hard tyres, for sure, something was not optimised. I just never felt like the tyres were working on our car. So that's something that we have to analyse."

Wary of the growing threat of McLaren and Ferrari, although the latter left its home race disappointed after expecting more from a considerable upgrade package, Verstappen added: "Clearly the teams around us, they are catching up and they're doing a really good job.

"So we also need to try and find improvements from our side."

Also interesting:

In the latest episode of the RacingNews365.com podcast, Ian Parkes, Samuel Coop and Nick Golding look back at this weekend's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, where Max Verstappen and Lando Norris went head-to-head for the victory around the famous Imola Circuit as McLaren continue to pile the pressure on Red Bull!

Rather watch than listen to the podcast? Click here.

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