Max Verstappen leads 1-2 finish for Red Bull at Imola as Ferrari stumbles at home F1 race

Verstappen Imola Ferrari
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IMOLA, Italy — Formula One champion Max Verstappen dominated Sunday in a Red Bull rout of Ferrari at the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix.

Verstappen won from the pole, logged the fastest lap and picked up his second win of the season while leading teammate Sergio Perez to the first one-two Red Bull finish since Malaysia in 2016.

“Lovely Sunday,” Verstappen radioed his Red Bull team.

The Dutchman also won the sprint qualifying race Saturday and earned maximum points on the weekend.

Lando Norris was third for McLaren.

It was a disastrous race for Ferrari, racing on its home soil and hoping to celebrate a return to F1 dominance.

Charles Leclerc came into Sunday as the championship leader with two wins in the first three races and Carlos Sainz Jr. celebrated a two-year contract extension this weekend in Italy.

But Leclerc couldn’t get the jump on Verstappen at the start and never contended. Sainz spun off course on the opening lap to ruin his race, and Leclerc’s bid to salvage the day for Ferrari ended when he spun racing Perez for second.

He ultimately finished sixth.

Leclerc had a 46-point lead in the standings over reigning champion Verstappen at the start of the race, but Verstappen cut the gap to 27 points with his impressive weekend.

The race featured a stirring late battle between Mercedes newcomer George Russell and Valtteri Bottas, the driver he replaced. The two went down to the final lap for fourth position with Russell holding off the veteran.

Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile. continued his early struggles and finished 13th after struggling much of the second half with trying to pass Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri.

Mercedes head Toto Wolff apologized to Hamilton over the radio for the “undriveable” car that Hamilton was given in Italy.

Hamilton later proclaimed that his bid for a record eighth championship essentially was over a month into the 2022 season.

After a two-week break, F1 heads to the United States for the inaugural Grand Prix of Miami. The May 6-8 race weekend is the first of two American stops this year, and Las Vegas will be added in 2023.