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Verstappen wins crash-strewn Imola thriller - Hamilton second after breaking front wing

Verstappen wins crash-strewn Imola thriller - Hamilton second after breaking front wing

F1 News

Verstappen wins crash-strewn Imola thriller - Hamilton second after breaking front wing

Verstappen wins crash-strewn Imola thriller - Hamilton second after breaking front wing

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen secured the 11th victory of his Formula 1 career by taking the chequered flag in a thrilling Emilia Romagna Grand Prix that involved a frightening accident involving Valtteri Bottas and George Russell.

Verstappen finished 22 seconds clear of seven-time champion Hamilton who had been forced to fight his way back from ninth in his Mercedes at the restart with 29 laps remaining as the race was red-flagged in the wake of the Bottas/Russell incident.

Moments before that shunt, Hamilton had made a mistake on lap 31 as he tried at that time to scythe his way through the backmarkers in catching up to then-leader Verstappen.

Within seconds, at the start of lap 32, as Williams' Russell attempted to pass an out-of-sorts Bottas in his Mercedes on the straight into the Tamburello chicane, the duo were involved in a shocking 295kph crash.

It appeared Bottas edged to his right as Russell drew alongside, forcing the Briton's right-front to touch the grass, sending him spearing into the right-hand side of the Mercedes. The two destroyed cars then careered into the gravel area at Tamburello.

After extricating himself from his cockpit, Russell went over to see the still-seated Bottas, who responded by raising his middle finger to the 23-year-old who tapped the Finn's helmet in reply as he started to walk away.

Due to the extensive damage to both cars and the amount of debris on the track, it forced race director Michael Masi into calling a halt for almost half an hour.

Verstappen and Hamilton touch

Rain for the start provided for an additional entertaining element that Verstappen took full advantage of as he elected for a crucial second-gear start.

That allowed him to pick up speed quicker than Hamilton on the run down to the first corner of the Tamburello chicane and finding the racing line.

But as the duo went through Tamburello side by side it led to them touching wheels, with Hamilton forced to bounce over the raised kerbing, losing the front-wing endplate in the process.

Alonso and Aston Martin in pre-race trouble

Even before the race had started there was action aplenty, kickstarted by Fernando Alonso sliding off on his way to the grid in his Alpine, necessitating a return to the pits for a new front wing.

For Aston Martin, the team suffered a double disaster due to brake issues, notably with the right-rear of Lance Stroll's AMR21 catching fire, while those on Sebastian Vettel's car also overheated.

While the mechanics managed to carry out repairs in time for Stroll, they failed to do so for Vettel, resulting in a pitlane start for the four-time F1 champion who also later incurred a 10-second stop-go penalty as the wheels were not fitted at the five-minute signal before the race start.

Then on the formation lap, Ferrari's Charles Leclerc slid off at Acque Minerale but managed to recover and regain his place on track to take up his fourth-place grid slot.

Following the initial battle between Verstappen and Hamilton into Tamburello, Leclerc ran wide again at Acque Minerale and was followed soon after by a sliding Nicholas Latifi in his Williams.

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