Verstappen and Red Bull embarrass Ferrari at Imola

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

Verstappen won from pole, recorded the fastest lap and took his second victory of the season while leading team-mate Sergio Pérez to Red Bull’s first double since Malaysia in 2016.

“Beautiful Sunday,” Verstappen told his Red Bull team over the radio. The Dutchman also won the sprint qualifying race on Saturday and took maximum points over the weekend.

Lando Norris finished third for McLaren.

It was a disastrous race for Ferrari, which was racing on home soil and hoping to celebrate a return to F1 dominance. Charles LeClerc entered the championship lead on Sunday 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 make the jump over Verstappen initially and never fought. Sainz veered off course on the first lap to ruin his race, and LeClerc’s attempt to save the day for Ferrari ended when he raced with Perez for second place.

He eventually finished sixth.

LeClerc had a 46-point lead in the standings over defending champion Verstappen going into the race, but Verstappen’s victory narrowed the gap to 27 points.

The race featured an emotional late battle between Mercedes newcomer George Russell and Valtteri Bottas, the driver he replaced. Both men went down on the final lap for fourth, with Russell fending off the veteran for the spot.

Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile. continued his early struggles and finished 13th. Mercedes chief Toto Wolff has apologized to Hamilton over the radio for the ‘undriveable’ car Hamilton received in Italy.

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