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Verstappen relief after "hectic" Imola pole

Verstappen relief after "hectic" Imola pole

Verstappen relief after "hectic" Imola pole

Verstappen relief after "hectic" Imola pole

Max Verstappen described Emilia Romagna Grand Prix qualifying as "hectic" after denying F1 championship rival Charles Leclerc pole position on Ferrari's home turf.

The reigning world champion ducked between five red-flag interruptions to clinch top spot on the grid for Saturday's 100km sprint, an upset given the Scuderia's pace leading up to Q3.

Whilst three of the five stoppages were caused by off-track excursions for Carlos Sainz, Kevin Magnussen and Lando Norris, countless other drivers ran across the gravel and grass lining the punishing Imola layout.

The session was further complicated by changeable conditions, with the track initially drying before the rain returned to complicate matters after Sainz's crash in Q2.

Assessing his session, Verstappen said: "It was tricky out there - dry then the rain.

"It was very slippery to also get the tyre temps to work. It was hectic, a long qualifying.

"In the end, happy to be here. It is an amazing track and it also really punishes you if you make a mistake, you can go in the wall. That is what we like to make it really hard and difficult.

"But really pleased with pole position."

On his weekend prospects, Verstappen added: "We know tomorrow and Sunday will be a bit different in terms of weather conditions but at least it is a good start to the weekend."

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