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Verstappen "up for the battle" with Hamilton at Imola

Verstappen "up for the battle" with Hamilton at Imola

F1 News

Verstappen "up for the battle" with Hamilton at Imola

Verstappen "up for the battle" with Hamilton at Imola
GPFans Staff

Max Verstappen has sounded a battle cry ahead of Formula 1's second race of the year at Imola by proclaiming himself ready for a season-long battle with reigning champion Lewis Hamilton.

Verstappen topped all three practice sessions at the Formula 1 season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix and scored pole position under the lights on Saturday evening.

It was Hamilton, however, that took the first victory of the year to get his hunt for a record-breaking eighth world title off to the perfect start.

Ahead of this weekend's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola, asked to reflect on his Bahrain weekend, Verstappen replied: "Of course there are always things we can do better, but that’s always easy to say after a race weekend.

"As a team we always look to improve but that’s a constant thing we are working on, we always want to be thinking ahead.

"Even if we had won the race in Bahrain, there are always areas to improve, especially when you are fighting a seven-time world championship-winning team, so that’s what we will continue to do in Imola.

"I’m up for the battle and it’s still a very long season."

Last year, Imola was added to the calendar in a bid to fill the schedule as the sport battled to race during the Covid-19 pandemic.

This year, the Italian circuit was again a late addition after taking the place of the postponed Chinese Grand Prix.

In the sport's first visit to Imola since 2006, Verstappen retired from second place after suffering a tyre failure but the Dutchman commented he is "relaxed" heading into the weekend.

He added: "I’m looking forward to going back there. Last year we had quite a good race until the tyre issue.

"Again, it’s too close to the start of the season to know how we will perform, we'll have to wait and see what happens on track.

"The desire comes from within and I am motivated to try and win every single race. So let’s see if we can go one better."

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