Verstappen surprised by Imola success

19 April 2021 02:12:33 GMTPlus10

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen came out on top in a chaotic Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola to claim his first win of the year with Lewis Hamilton recovering from an error to take second spot.

After rain early in the race, Verstappen took the lead from third on the grid, overtaking and making contact with title rival Hamilton into Turn Two.

The conditions were problematic for a number of drivers with an early safety car deployed, while a red flag came later in the race following a collision between Valterri Botas of Mercedes and George Russell of Williams.

Verstappen himself half-spun after the race's resumption and Hamilton suffered a significant setback when he slid into the gravel trying to overtake Russell at half-distance.

But the winner of the last four Drivers' Championship titles fought back after the collision between Bottas and Williams, moving from eighth at the restart to second in the race as well as claiming the fastest lap.

Lando Norris, meanwhile, put up a decent fight for McLaren to take third in Italy.

Speaking after his win, Verstappen said: "It was very challenging out there especially in the beginning.

"It was very hard to stay on track. With tyres degrading in the wet to choose the right moment to go to slicks is never easy. I had a little moment with my restart but everything else went well today.

"I surprised myself. We worked really hard to make that better. In these tricky conditions we did a great job."

Verstappen is 2.62 to win the Formula 1 Drivers Championship 2021, while Hamilton is 1.44.

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