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F1 rival admits HELPING Verstappen in stunning Imola showdown

F1 rival admits HELPING Verstappen in stunning Imola showdown

F1 rival admits HELPING Verstappen in stunning Imola showdown

F1 rival admits HELPING Verstappen in stunning Imola showdown

Three-time world champion Max Verstappen was handed a helping hand by one of his rivals during his sublime lap to take pole position for the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix.

Verstappen managed to take a record-equalling eighth consecutive pole position in Imola qualifying, beating both McLarens despite Red Bull's seeming disadvantage to their rivals heading into Saturday.

READ MORE: F1 Qualifying Results - McLarens STUNNING in dramatic session

Despite team-mate Sergio Perez's inability to even get out of Q2, Verstappen levelled the late, great Ayrton Senna's record on the weekend that tributes have been pouring in for the Brazilian, who lost his life due to an accident at the Imola track 30 years ago this month.

It comes at a good time for three-time champion Verstappen, who is looking to bounce back having been comprehensively beaten by Lando Norris last time out in Miami.

Max Verstappen claimed pole position in Imola
Nico Hulkenberg was an unlikely hero during qualifying

Verstappen given boost from rival

Now, however, it has been revealed that Verstappen was given a huge helping hand from an unexpected source, having previously helped his rival out in return.

Nico Hulkenberg revealed to Sky Sports after qualifying that he had given Verstappen a tow for his final lap, helping the Dutchman cross the line at an increased rate of knots.

The 36-year-old revealed how Verstappen also helped him get out of Q2, giving Hulkenberg motivation to return the favour.

"Max and I have been helping each other out in qualifying," the German revealed.

"He helped me out a few times in Q2 and I returned the favour. You need support sometimes."

With the winning gap for Verstappen being just 0.074 seconds over Oscar Piastri, that tow from Hulkenberg could have been the difference between first and second for Verstappen.

READ MORE: FIA announce PUNISHMENT for Red Bull F1 star

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