Max Verstappen cruised to victory at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix to cut Charles Leclerc’s championship lead after the Ferrari driver threw away a podium finish with a costly late spin at Imola.
Sergio Perez finished second to seal a Red Bull one-two, but only after Leclerc made a late pit stop for soft tires in an attempt to catch him. The move backfired, however, with the championship leader spinning off with 10 laps of the race remaining.
Leclerc was able to recover to salvage 6th place, but it sealed a nightmare weekend for Ferrari at their home race in Italy after Carlos Sainz retired on the opening lap following a bump from Daniel Ricciardo.
Lewis Hamilton’s struggles continued as he finished in a lowly 14th place and his miserable weekend was completed after being lapped by last season’s title rival Verstappen.
The victory is Verstappen’s second of the season, to go along with two retirements, as Red Bull responded to their reliability issues with a performance in a race that started in wet conditions.
And a fastest lap completed a perfect weekend for the defending champion to cut Leclerc’s lead at the top of the standings to 27 points. Lando Norris completed the podium and George Russell finished fourth with a commendable drive in the struggling Mercedes.
Follow all the latest reaction from the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix below:
Emilia Romagna Grand Prix winner Max Verstappen reacts
“It’s not a bad record,” Verstappen says to Sky Sports of the fact that he has won both races that he has finished this year. “We just have to learn from our reliability trouble and I think the whole weekend we made the right calls. The whole race was very well executed without too many troubles, but you still have to focus.
“Sometimes if you can’t win you have to settle for a second or third. Every pointscounts. It is painful if you lose points. You always have to try and score the most points you can even in the weekends you struggle.”
Harry Latham-Coyle24 April 2022 16:26
Lewis Hamilton on the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix
“I really don’t know to be honest,” Hamilton tells Sky Sports. “A weekend to forget, that’s for sure.
“I’m out of the championship for sure. There’s no question about that but I’ll keep working as hard as I can to try and pull it back together somehow.”
Harry Latham-Coyle24 April 2022 16:19
Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Result
“There are stats that sound nice on paper but are pretty meaningless,” says George Russell when told he is the only driver to finish in the top five. “Whether we are getting the most out of the car is a slightly different story. We’ve had things fall our way, but equally we’ve been unfortunate in some circumstances because the car isn’t quick enough. Really happy with this P4 but if we want to maintain this place in the championship we need to find more pace.”
Harry Latham-Coyle24 April 2022 16:16
Charles Leclerc is next to speak with Sky Sports
“It’s a real shame. I believe the spin shouldn’t have happened. P3 was the maximum. We did not have the pace.
“I was too greedy today and paid the price. I lost seven valuable points for the championship. This shouldn’t happen again.”
Harry Latham-Coyle24 April 2022 16:10
Carlos Sainz reflects on his first lap DNF
The Spaniard tells Sky: “I didn’t get the best of starts compared with Charles. We still managed to get cleanly into turn two but for some reason Daniel went into the kerb and must have lost control of the car.
“It’s very bad. It is definitely a tough moment. We wanted to have a good race here in front of our fans. Toget bumped out of the race in turn two is bad. But there are always tough moments in the life of a sportsman and it is my turn to go through them.”
Harry Latham-Coyle24 April 2022 16:05
Contrasting performances for Mercedes’ drivers
Fourth for George Russell, 14th for Lewis Hamilton – an odd day to assess for Mercedes, but Toto Wolff has had a go:
“George really drove well considering the car that he had underneath. Really, really good drive.”
On Hamilton: “Really bad. We got squeeze by the Alpine and then there is just no overtaking when you are in a DRS train. We are not good enough for the world champion. We just need to fix the car.
“I had a little bit of an exchange with him and said ‘sorry for the car today. It was undrivable’. We are going to look at things for Miami and I think we can make a step in the understanding of our car.”
Harry Latham-Coyle24 April 2022 16:02
How that changes things in the standings
We’ll get to the full standings in the while, but Max Verstappen has closed the gap to Charles Leclerc with a full set of points from race weekend in Imola.
Leclerc still sitting relatively well – his sixth place takes him to 86 points for the season, with Verstappen now second on 59 and Sergio Perez dropping to third, five points behind his teammate.
The Constructors’ Championship is even more closely fought – just eleven points now separate Ferrari and Red Bull after a tough home Grand Prix for the Italians.
Harry Latham-Coyle24 April 2022 15:53
On to the podium…
Out come Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen, arm-in-arm and pumping raised fists of delight as they join Lando Norris on the podium.
DNF, win, DNF, win – not perhaps the smoothest start to the season but Verstappen once again looks in some form when he can kepe his Red Bull running.
Harry Latham-Coyle24 April 2022 15:49
Lando Norris reacts to finishing third at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix
There to take his chance after Charles Leclerc’s error was Lando Norris, who drove a smooth race, keeping out of trouble and taking his second straight podium on this circuit.
And Norris beams: “[It was] an amazing race, an amazing weekend to be honest. The team deserve it, from where we were in race one to a podium, it’s amazing. I like these conditions, same as last year!”
Harry Latham-Coyle24 April 2022 15:45
A first Red Bull one-two since 2016
A perfect afternoon for Christian Horner and his team. Charles Leclerc rubs his head in frustration as he watches the podium finishers be interviewed. He knows his thrown at least third away.
Harry Latham-Coyle24 April 2022 15:42