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Verstappen triumphs in Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen won an accident-strewn Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola on Sunday, with Lewis Hamilton finishing second for Mercedes but retaining the lead in the drivers’ championship by a single point.

The win, by a commanding 22 seconds at the chequered flag, was the 11th of the Dutch youngster’s career.

Max Verstappen crosses the line to win the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix for Red Bull.

Max Verstappen crosses the line to win the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix for Red Bull.Credit:Getty Images

“It was very challenging out there, especially in the beginning to stay on track to be honest, it was very slippery,” he said of a race that started with most drivers on intermediates but some on full wets.

“I think we managed everything well.”

Hamilton, winner of the Bahrain season-opener, took a crucial bonus point for fastest lap on a rollercoaster afternoon for the seven-times world champion, whose race was almost wrecked by a rare mistake.

The Briton started on pole, his 99th, but dropped from second to ninth after skidding into the gravel and nudging the barriers at Tosa with his car at a standstill and a retirement looming.

He kept the engine running, reversed back out, returned to the pits and fought his way back to the podium with a stirring recovery drive after the race was stopped and re-started halfway through.

“On my side it was not the greatest days, it’s the first time I’ve made a mistake in a long time, but I’m grateful I was able to bring the car home today,” said Hamilton.

McLaren’s Lando Norris completed the top three – the first time two British drivers had stood together on the podium since 2012.

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