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'Perez letting Verstappen down' - GPFans Emilia-Romagna GP Hot Takes

'Perez letting Verstappen down' - GPFans Emilia-Romagna GP Hot Takes

'Perez letting Verstappen down' - GPFans Emilia-Romagna GP Hot Takes

'Perez letting Verstappen down' - GPFans Emilia-Romagna GP Hot Takes

Despite a late charge from Lando Norris who was sniffing out his second consecutive race win, Max Verstappen cruised to victory at the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix, taking his fifth win in the opening seven races of the season.

After a sublime lap in qualifying gave Verstappen an unexpected pole position, the three-time world champion made full use of his advanced position to put daylight between himself and Norris at the start of the race.

READ MORE: Norris and Verstappen share DRAMATIC fight for win

However, Verstappen's rivals came back at him in the latter stages, with Norris in the end finishing just 0.7 seconds behind the Dutchman, and Charles Leclerc a further seven seconds back.

Oscar Piastri came home in fourth while Leclerc's Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz rounded out the top five.

After a dramatic race, here's what GPFans' journalists thought of the Emilia-Romagna GP.

Max Verstappen and Lando Norris played out a fantastic battle

GPFans Journalists on the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

Ronan Murphy - Social Media Editor

Max Verstappen has it all. He’s not just driving for the best team in the best car, but he can also be content with his team-mates. That’s right, team-mates plural. Those team-mates helped him to another incredible win this weekend, as Christopher Lulham, Diogo Pinto, Florian Lebigre and Verstappen guided Car #20 and Team Redline to win the Nurburgring 24 Hours.

Verstappen took time out from his hobby, Formula 1, to record an incredible iRacing victory. His hobby also saw him win another race, this time in Imola at the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix.

But unlike iRacing, his F1 team-mate just is not as good as him. How long before we have to ask real questions about Sergio Perez? Checo also has the best team and the best car, but he continues to underperform in it.

Verstappen deserves better. He’s used to having top-quality companions in his virtual car. Perez is letting him and Red Bull down in the real car. You can see why F1 is Max’s hobby.

READ MORE: FIA announce PUNISHMENT for Red Bull F1 star

Sergio Perez is under pressure at Red Bull

Sheona Mountford - F1 Journalist

Sergio Perez failed in his role as a number two driver to Max Verstappen this weekend.

Luckily the champion had enough pace to hold-off the competition and keep his rivals behind, but Perez’s absence was telling.

Teams like Ferrari and McLaren have slowly gained on Red Bull, with Lando Norris almost clinching a second consecutive victory in Imola.

Without Perez there to hold off or hinder Norris, it almost cost Verstappen a race victory, and exposes Perez’s deficiencies now the pack is closing in.

On the whole, Imola was a rudimentary and dull outing, but the blame cannot be placed on the skill and talent of Verstappen.

F1 lacks entertainment because Perez cannot compete with Verstappen, and that has been the greatest disappointment of the past few seasons.

It is time for Red Bull to hire a second driver, who, if they cannot beat Verstappen, can at least perform their function as a number two driver.

Chris Deeley - GPFans US Editor

With ten laps to go, we were all set to crown this as the worst race of the season and burn any memories of it ever happening. And then, er, that happened.

Does Lando Norris’ surprise charge for victory rescue the 75 minutes of sheer drudgery that preceded it? Not really. But the little burst of excitement did feel like something of a reward for having sat through what came first.

It did, at least, show that Miami wasn’t a complete one-off, and that Max Verstappen is beatable. If the first Stateside race of the season was the (albeit qualified) first crack in the armour, Imola was the moment in Rocky IV where Ivan Drago gets cut. McLaren and Ferrari know they aren’t racing against an implacable machine now - they’re racing something human. And if it’s human, you can beat it.

The knockout punch isn’t coming for a few rounds yet. But there’s blood in the water, and the sharks are gathering.

McLaren have an enviable driver lineup

Sam Cook - F1 Journalist

I never thought I'd say this, but bring on Monaco!

Much of the talk over the last few years has been around how boring racing around the Monaco circuit has been due to the size of modern-day Formula 1 cars.

However, it can't be any worse than what we witnessed in Imola, only a late Norris charge providing fans with any excitement whatsoever throughout the 63-lap race.

Certainly a promising sign for fans, however, is that McLaren really are looking like the real deal.

Faster than Red Bull on Friday, you'd have to say faster on Saturday (barring a phenomenal lap from Verstappen with the help of Nico Hulkenberg) and showing their ability in the final few laps to really pressurise the three-time champion on a race day too, all after their comprehensive victory last time out in Miami.

If they can get it right during Saturday in Monaco, we could get a very special weekend once more for the Woking-based team.

Dan Ripley - Deputy Chief Editor

Classic Imola. For a generation that had the privilege of watching Michael Schumacher vs Fernando Alonso in 2005 and 2006, this race brought a warm fuzzy feeling of a throwback to those duels that had us on the edge of our seats. And the bonus this time unlike in 2005 is that we didn't get a TV advert break with three laps to go! (One for the UK viewers).

Granted, we didn't have the dicing, weaving and incredibly close racing the Ferrari vs Renault battles produced but Lando Norris' late charge on Max Verstappen gave an otherwise poor race something to remember it by.

Speaking of Alonso, there is an irony that on a track he perhaps knows better than anyone else, this was his worst race in a long time. Lewis Hamilton was another of the older guard also having an untidy weekend. Is Father Time starting to catch up on our legendary champions - Norris style?

READ MORE: FIA hit F1 team with EXTREMELY harsh penalty at Imola

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Max Verstappen Lando Norris Carlos Sainz Charles Leclerc Oscar Piastri Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix
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