Max Verstappen Robs Charles Leclerc of F1 Glory in Final Moments of Nail-Biting Imola GP Sprint Race

Published 04/23/2022, 11:28 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola, Italy – April 23, 2022 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen celebrates after winning the sprint race REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane/Pool

A brilliant start from Charles Leclerc saw him take the charge from Max Verstappen. Max barely managed to hold P2 from McLaren’s Lando Norris as he followed Max to turn 2 of the circuit. However, in the end, Max Verstappen came out as the clear winner over his championship rival Leclerc.

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It was the same Charles Leclerc-Max Verstappen duo battling out for supremacy. After the first three races, the two has got everyone biting their nails once again as they sped past the chicane one after another till the very last lap.

The sprint didn’t start off well for Guanyu Zhou. After the Chinese driver’s unlucky qualification, AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly tagged him out of the race just after lap 1. Gasly got his front tire punctured as well.

The McLaren MCL36s looked comfortably stronger this time around, with Lando qualifying in P5 for the Sunday race and Ricciardo taking the P6 spot. Italy has been a good hunting ground for McLaren as the Papaya team won the race last year in Monza. Well, this year it has been a good sprint race for the Woking-based team.

What happened to Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc’s teammates?

A stellar performance by Carlos Sainz saw the Spaniard leap himself up in P4 from P10. Same for Red Bull’s Sergio Perez as the Mexican finished in P3 from P7. Valtteri Bottas, Kevin Magnussen, Fernando Alonso, and Mick Schumacher formed P7, P8, P9, and P10, respectively.

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Mercedes couldn’t put up much as George and Lewis finished in P11 and P14 after starting from P11 and P13. Splitting the 2 Mercedes were AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda and Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel who finished P12 and P13, respectively.

Lance Stroll, Esteban Ocon, Pierre Gasly, Alex Albon, and Nicholas Latifi formed the last five drivers to cross the finishing line.

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Emilia Romagna Grand Prix saw the first sprint race of the season on Saturday. There were a total of 36 points up for grab as the drivers went for flat-out racing to gain an advantage for tomorrow’s main race.

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Sabyasachi Biswas

370 articles

Sabyasachi Biswas is an F1 writer at EssentiallySports. He has completed his Master's in Mass Communication and Journalism from Jadavpur University, Kolkata. Sabyasachi is an ardent Red Bull and Max Verstappen fan and has been following the sport for over a decade now.

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