Verstappen slashes Leclerc’s title lead with Imola F1 win

Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen has slashed Charles Leclerc’s advantage in the world drivers’ championship follow a perfect weekend in the Formula 1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

The Dutchman claimed pole on Friday, headed the field in Sprint Qualifying to start first on Sunday, going on to lead every lap, set fastest lap, and win the race.

It saw him add a mammoth 34 points to his tally, more than doubling what he’d accumulated in the opening three races of the year.

“It’s always tough to achieve something like that,” Verstappen said.

“Already yesterday and the day before we were on it, and I think it was looking like a strong weekend.

“Today, you never know how competitive you’re going to be but I think as a team we did everything well and I think this one-two is very deserved.”

Sergio Perez finished second to Verstappen, handing Red Bull it’s first one-two result since the 2016 Malaysian Grand Prix.

It meant the squad amassed 58 points in the constructors’ championship over the course of the weekend, versus just 20 points for Ferrari.

Verstappen’s victory, his second of the season, came in difficult conditions, the race starting wet before drying over the course of the 63-lap encounter.

“The start was very important but also afterwards judging the conditions and when to swap to the slick tyre, and on the out lap with the slick tyres not to make mistakes,” Verstappen said.

“In the lead, you have to always dictate the pace, and it’s always a bit more difficult initially, but everything was well managed.”

The result catapults Verstappen into second in the drivers’ championship with 59 points, now just 27 adrift of Leclerc who remains at the head of the table.

Things are closer in the constructors’ battle, with Ferrari only 11 points clear of Red Bull after four races.

Formula 1 next heads to the Miami Grand Prix, an all-new event on the schedule, with opening practice on the Miami International Autodrome set to begin on May 6.

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