Max Verstappen Holds Off Fast-Charging Lando Norris For Imola Win

IMOLA, ITALY - MAY 19: Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing celebrates in parc ferme during the F1 Grand Prix of Emilia-Romagna at Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari Circuit on May 19, 2024 in Imola, Italy. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202405190469 // Usage for editorial use only //
IMOLA, ITALY - MAY 19: Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing celebrates in parc ferme during the F1 Grand Prix of Emilia-Romagna at Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari Circuit on May 19, 2024 in Imola, Italy. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202405190469 // Usage for editorial use only //

Max Verstappen held off a determined late-race charge from Lando Norris to secure his fifth victory of the season at the 2024 FIA Formula 1 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix at Imola. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc completed the podium in third place.

Race Dynamics and Key Moments

Starting from pole, Verstappen took an early lead and maintained control for most of the race. His dominant performance suggested a straightforward path to a third consecutive win at Imola. However, with 10 laps remaining, the Red Bull driver’s Hard tyres began to degrade, allowing Norris to close the gap significantly. Despite the pressure, Verstappen managed to hold on, finishing just 0.7 seconds ahead of the McLaren driver.

“The whole race I had to push flat out,” said Verstappen. “On the Medium tyres, we were quite strong. On the Hard tyres, it was just a bit more difficult to manage, and especially the last 10 or 15 laps, I had no grip anymore. I was really sliding a lot. I saw Lando closing in. So the last 10 laps it was just flat out. I couldn’t afford to make too many mistakes. Luckily, we didn’t and I’m super happy of course to win here today.”

“It was a close race today. I didn’t expect that the car would have that kind of pace at the beginning, which was nice and we were strong on the medium tyres. When we swapped to the hard tyres, it was a bit trickier to drive and more of a struggle to bring it to the end as tyres fell out of the operating window and we had really low grip. During the last ten laps I was really trying to survive on the tyres and managed to keep Lando behind, but it required a lot of focus as we were on the limit with the penalty. However, we managed to work through and take the win; I was definitely counting down the laps until the end and it was a great feeling when we took the chequered flag! If you look at where we were at the beginning of the weekend, this was an extremely good result. There is a bit of work to do and things to analyse but we are looking forward to Monaco.”

IMOLA, ITALY - MAY 19: Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing and Second placed Lando Norris of Great Britain and McLaren celebrate on the podium during the F1 Grand Prix of Emilia-Romagna at Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari Circuit on May 19, 2024 in Imola, Italy. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202405190543 // Usage for editorial use only //

Pit Stop Strategies and Position Changes

Verstappen’s initial dominance was evident as he pulled away from Norris, establishing a nearly two-second lead within the first seven laps. As the race progressed, Norris made his sole pit stop on lap 23, switching to Hard tyres and rejoining behind Sergio Pérez. With older tyres, Pérez couldn’t defend his position, allowing Norris to pass him swiftly.

Verstappen then pitted, executing a 2.6-second stop to switch to Hard tyres, rejoining in fourth place behind Lewis Hamilton. As Leclerc, Sainz, and Hamilton completed their pit stops, Verstappen regained the lead, now 6.3 seconds ahead of Norris.

“Another great weekend for the team. I fought hard right until the very last lap, but we just lost out a little bit too much to Max in the beginning. One or two more laps and it would have been beautiful – but just wasn’t meant to be today.  

“We’ve been competitive all weekend and I think we’re at the point where we’re able to fight Ferrari and Red Bull consistently. We must get used to that – the team is doing a very good job so it’s great that fighting at the front is now business-as-usual. We just need to keep focused on improving. It’s still a surprise to say it’s frustrating to not win, but after last weekend and the improvements we made, it’s what we should start to expect,” said Norris. 

IMOLA, ITALY - MAY 19: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB20 leads the field off the line at the start during the F1 Grand Prix of Emilia-Romagna at Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari Circuit on May 19, 2024 in Imola, Italy. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202405190603 // Usage for editorial use only //

The Top Ten

With 10 laps remaining, Verstappen’s tyre issues became apparent, and Norris began to close the gap. Verstappen’s advantage dwindled from six seconds to less than a second, but he managed to stay ahead, crossing the finish line first.

Charles Leclerc secured third place, while Oscar Piastri finished fourth after undercutting Carlos Sainz during the pit stops. Lewis Hamilton and George Russell of Mercedes finished sixth and seventh, respectively. Sergio Pérez, recovering from an 11th place start, finished eighth. Lance Stroll and Yuki Tsunoda rounded out the top ten.

Final Race Results: 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

PositionDriverTeamLapsTimeGap
1Max VerstappenRed Bull/Honda RBPT631:25’25.252
2Lando NorrisMcLaren/Mercedes631:25’25.9770.725
3Charles LeclercFerrari631:25’33.1687.916
4Oscar PiastriMcLaren/Mercedes631:25’39.38414.132
5Carlos SainzFerrari631:25’47.57722.325
6Lewis HamiltonMercedes631:26’00.35635.104
7George RussellMercedes631:26’12.40647.154
8Sergio PérezRed Bull/Honda RBPT631:26’20.02854.776
9Lance StrollAston Martin/Mercedes631:26’44.8081’19.556
10Yuki TsunodaRB/Honda RBPT621:25’43.1081 lap
11Nico HülkenbergHaas/Ferrari621:25’50.5291 lap
12Kevin MagnussenHaas/Ferrari621:25’51.6861 lap
13Daniel RicciardoRB/Honda RBPT621:25’52.9131 lap
14Esteban OconAlpine/Renault621:26’09.1591 lap
15Zhou GuanyuKick Sauber/Ferrari621:26’10.1851 lap
16Pierre GaslyAlpine/Renault621:26’14.9671 lap
17Logan SargeantWilliams/Mercedes621:26’16.3031 lap
18Valtteri BottasKick Sauber/Ferrari621:26’21.5951 lap
19Fernando AlonsoAston Martin/Mercedes621:26’40.3761 lap
20Alexander AlbonWilliams/Mercedes511:13’07.729Withdrew

5 Things We Learned From The 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

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