Sports

Max Verstappen surprised after beating Lewis Hamilton in rain-hit race

Red Bull's Max Verstappen kept his cool to claim a chaotic rain-hit Emilia Romagna Grand Prix yesterday as seven-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton recovered from a rare mistake to sneak in second.

"I surprised myself. We worked really hard to make that better. In these tricky conditions, we did a great job," said Verstappen, who muscled past pole-sitter Hamilton on the first corner at Imola to set up his first win of the season.

McLaren's Lando Norris took third for his second successive podium finish, ahead of Charles Leclerc for Ferrari.

The outcome of a compelling second leg of the Formula One season confirmed Verstappen's stature as a formidable rival to Hamilton, who pipped the 23-year-old Dutchman by just 0.745sec in the season-opening Bahrain GP last month.

A high-speed crash involving Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas and Williams' George Russell forced the race to be suspended as debris was cleared off the circuit.

The pair collided at over 300kmh on lap 34, both drivers shaken as their wrecked cars were lifted off the track.

The red flags appeared a lap after an uncharacteristic slip-up from Hamilton saw the Mercedes world champion hurtle off the circuit into a gravel pit when placed second on a treacherous rain-hit track.

Half an hour after the suspension, a rolling restart saw Verstappen set off in front of Leclerc and Norris. Hamilton, who had his car repaired, had work to do from ninth.

As Verstappen calmly reeled in his 11th career victory, but first in Italy, Hamilton weaved his way up to sit third, and then second after passing Norris with three laps remaining.

"First time I've made a mistake in a long time, but I'm grateful I could bring the car home," said a relieved Hamilton.

Before the race, Formula One announced that the Miami Grand Prix will join the calendar from the 2022 season in a 10-year deal . - AFP


ITALIAN GP RESULTS (Top 7)

1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)

2hr 2min 34.598sec

2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +22.000s

3. Lando Norris (McLaren) +23.702s

4. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) +25.579s

5. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) +27.036s

6. Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) +51.220s

7. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) +51.909s

DRIVERS' STANDINGS (Top 7)

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 44 pts

2. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 43pts

3. Lando Norris (McLaren) 27 pts

4. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 20 pts

5. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 16 pts

6. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) 14 pts

7. Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) 14 pts

CONSTRUCTORS ( Top 7)

1. Mercedes: 60 pts

2. Red Bull : 53 pts

3. McLaren: 41 pts

4. Ferrari: 34 pts

5. Aston Martin: 7 pts

6. AlphaTauri: 6 pts

7. Alfa Romeo: 2 pts

MOTORSPORTS