Verstappen rescues F1 Sprint win at Imola with late Leclerc pass

The Red Bull driver was on pole but was jumped by Ferrari's Charles Leclerc off the line, but came back to take the F1 Sprint win


A resilient Max Verstappen managed to make amends for a poor start to jump Charles Leclerc late in the Emilia Romagna GP F1 Sprint Race to take victory at Imola. 

Leclerc had a lightening start and had his Ferrari ahead of pole sitter Max Verstappen by the first corner, though there was a Lap 1 Safety Car as Pierre Gasly and Guanyu Zhou came together with the Alfa Romeo driver ending up in the wall. 

At the restart there was nothing Verstappen could do as Leclerc pulled out a one second lead on the Red Bull, keeping the Dutchman out of the DRS zone. That was until the final five laps when Verstappen got himself on the gearbox of the Ferrari with Leclerc struggling for grip.  

Then on the second to last lap Verstappen used DRS on the main straight to take the lead of the race and the victory. 

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in action during the Emilia Romagna GP sprint race REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini

“The start was very bad,” Verstappen said after the F1 Sprint. “I don’t know exactly what happened but after that we had to stay calm.

“Initially it looked like Charles had more pace but I think he ran out of tyres and I was able to close the gap. I know tomorrow will be different. Happy to have a clean sprint race in the end.

“I am happy about today but I know tomorrow – with other tyre compounds coming in – it will be different.”

Haas’ odd tyre choice

Kevin Magnussen, who had started fourth, decided to go with the medium tyre whereas all the cars around the Haas were on the softs, which meant the Dane slipped down the order. 

Two beneficiaries of Magnussen’s poor tyre choice were Carlos Sainz and Sergio Perez in the Ferrari and Red Bull, respectively, as they both managed to get their cars up to fourth and third. 

The Haas driver eventually finished eighth ahead of Fernando Alonso in the Alpine, and his teammate Mick Schumacher

McLaren’s Lando Norris in action during the Emilia Romagna GP sprint race REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini

Resurgent McLaren

Another Sprint Race in Italy and another good performance from Daniel Ricciardo, who took his McLaren to sixth place, just behind his teammate Lando Norris with the just the two Ferrari and Red Bull cars ahead of the pair.  

John Smith
John Smith
Editor at and all round Motorsport journalist specialising in Formula 1, IndyCar and Formula E.
- Advertisment -


Lewis Hamilton at 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix | Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton calls for two changes to bring back Monaco GP magic

Lewis Hamilton has suggested two major changes that could be made to the Monaco Grand Prix to help reinvigorate...
Fernando Alonso ahead of the Emilia Romagna GP at Imola

Fernando Alonso gives candid admission on performance amid Aston Martin struggles

Fernando Alonso believes he's not been good enough individually as Aston Martin have struggled to recapture their 2023 form...
Andrea Kimi Antonelli tests the Mercedes W12 in Austria in his first taste of F1 machinery | Mercedes F1 team

Max Verstappen offers Mercedes starlet Andrea Kimi Antonelli advice on joining F1

Max Verstappen has given his advice to Andrea Kimi Antonelli on the biggest changes he should expect if he...
Yuki Tsunoda of Visa Cash App RB ahead of 2024 Monaco Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Unwanted Yuki Tsunoda eyes Aston Martin switch as Red Bull say no

Yuki Tsunoda revealed he could be tempted to abandon the Red Bull program for Aston Martin ahead of the...
George Russell at 2024 Japanese GP | Mercedes

Russell explains how Mercedes are closing gap on Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari –...

Mercedes are getting closer to Formula 1's current frontrunners Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari according to George Russell, who...
Charles Leclerc during the 2024 Japanese Grand Prix weekend | Suderia Ferrari Press Office

Charles Leclerc reveals Ferrari’s key target to beat Max Verstappen in Monaco

Will 2024 be the year that Charles Leclerc finally breaks his Monaco Grand Prix curse? He’s hoping so as...
Max Verstappen during the 2024 Monaco GP press conference | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Max Verstappen warns Red Bull to avoid ‘stressful’ repeat at Monaco GP

Max Verstappen has warned Red Bull they cannot risk a repeat of what happened at Imola as the team...
Nyck de Vries of AlphaTauri, leads Kevin Magnussen of Haas, and Valtteri Bottas of Alfa Romeo during 2023 Monaco GP practice | Sam Bagnall / LAT Images

Monaco GP 2024 F1 Schedule and Start Times

The 2024 Monaco Grand Prix sees the Formula 1 circus head to one of the one of the most...
Jake Dennis looks on at the 2024 Berlin E-Prix | Formula E

Jake Dennis downbeat about Formula E title chances: I need s**t to happen now

Reigning Formula E champion Jake Dennis isn’t optimistic about the chances of retaining his title, ahead of the 2024...
Formula E will visit the Shanghai International Circuit for the first time in 2024 | Formula E

Formula E returns to China as it takes on the Shanghai International Circuit

The drivers are certainly being kept on their toes this season. Formula E is heading to yet another new...
- Advertisment -