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Max Verstappen edges charging Lando Norris to win Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Max Verstappen managed to hold off a fightback from Lando Norris to win the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola on Sunday.

Verstappen crossed the line just 0.725 seconds clear of Norris in Imola to take his fifth victory from the seven rounds so far.

Charles Leclerc finished third for Ferrari, one place ahead of McLaren's Oscar Piastri with Carlos Sainz fifth.

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell finished sixth and seventh respectively for Mercedes.

Verstappen looked to be on course to claim a comfortable win, but Norris' superb charge in the closing stages left the Dutchman sweating inside his all-conquering Red Bull.

After the sole round of pit-stops, Verstappen held a steady lead of around six seconds, but a turgid race suddenly came alive when Verstappen could offer little response to Norris' speed.

With five laps remaining, Norris was just 1.5secs behind Verstappen, and as they entered the final lap the gap was less than a second.

But despite Norris' best efforts, the British driver, who broke his duck in Miami a fortnight ago, was forced to settle for runner-up.

"It hurts me to say it, but with one or two more laps, I could have had him," said Norris.

"It is tough. I fought hard until the very last lap but I lost too much time to Max at the beginning. With one or two more laps it could have been beautiful, but not today."

Verstappen positioned his car at an aggressive angle to thwart any attack from Norris at the start. And it worked as he kept the British driver at bay through the opening chicane.

Norris kept Verstappen honest for the opening half-a-dozen laps, limiting his lead to one second. But by lap six, Verstappen had doubled his margin to two seconds and when Norris pulled in for fresh rubber on lap 22, the Red Bull man was six seconds up the road.

However, the Dutchman's driving was in the spotlight in the moments before his stop when the stewards hit him with a black-and-white warning flag for track limits. A further misdemeanour would result in a penalty.

Verstappen made the switch to the hard tyres on lap 24 of 63 and emerged from the pit-lane with a 4.4-second lead over Norris.

In the other Red Bull, Sergio Perez, who started only 11th after a poor performance in qualifying, found himself in bother as he ran through the gravel at Rivazza. But he was not the only one in the sandtrap.

Hamilton, running in seventh, lost control of his Mercedes through Acque Minerali before scrambling back to the asphalt and pitting a lap later.

He lost a place to Perez but fought his way ahead of the Mexican, running out of position on old tyres, on lap 37.

McLaren have built the car most likely to challenge Red Bull, but Norris was looking over his shoulder rather than ahead.

"Why am I slower than the cars behind?" he asked. "I have no pace." Leclerc was closing in on Norris, but the McLaren driver was afforded breathing space after the Monegasque ran through the grass at the Variante chicane.

But suddenly, the 24-year-old could start dreaming of a second win is an many races as Verstappen started complaining of a lack of grip.

However, the triple world champion held his composure to fend off Norris with Leclerc, now second in the standings, 7.9secs behind.

2024 F1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Race Results

1    Max Verstappen    NED    Oracle Red Bull Racing    63 Laps
2    Lando Norris    GBR    McLaren F1 Team    + 0.725s
3    Charles Leclerc    MON    Scuderia Ferrari    + 7.916s
4    Oscar Piastri    AUS    McLaren F1 Team    + 14.132s
5    Carlos Sainz    ESP    Scuderia Ferrari    + 22.325s
6    Lewis Hamilton    GBR    Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team    + 35.104s
7    George Russell    GBR    Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team    + 47.154s
8    Sergio Perez    MEX    Oracle Red Bull Racing    + 54.776s
9    Lance Stroll    CAN    Aston Martin Aramco F1 Team    + 79.556s
10    Yuki Tsunoda    JPN    Visa Cash App RB F1 Team    + 1 Lap
11    Nico Hulkenberg    GER    MoneyGram Haas F1 Team    + 1 Lap
12    Kevin Magnussen    DEN    MoneyGram Haas F1 Team    + 1 Lap
13    Daniel Ricciardo    AUS    Visa Cash App RB F1 Team    + 1 Lap
14    Esteban Ocon    FRA    BWT Alpine F1 Team    + 1 Lap
15    Zhou Guanyu    CHN    Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber    + 1 Lap
16    Pierre Gasly    FRA    BWT Alpine F1 Team    + 1 Lap
17    Logan Sargeant    USA    Williams Racing    + 1 Lap
18    Valtteri Bottas    FIN    Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber    + 1 Lap
19    Fernando Alonso    ESP    Aston Martin Aramco F1 Team    + 1 Lap
     Alex Albon    THA    Williams Racing    DNF

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