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Thursday, December 01, 2022

Verstappen and Red Bull embarrass Ferrari at Imola

IMOLA, Italy ( Associated Press) – Formula One champion Max Verstappen dominated Ferrari’s Red Bull defeat at the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix on Sunday.

Verstappen won from pole, entering the fastest lap and securing his second win of the season, while teammate Sergio Perez took the lead in the first one-two Red Bull finishes since Malaysia in 2016.

“Lovely Sunday,” Verstappen radioed his Red Bull team. The Dutchman also won the sprint qualifying race on Saturday and scored maximum points over the weekend.

Lando Norris finished third for McLaren.

It was a disastrous race for Ferrari, which was racing on its home soil and hoping to celebrate a return to F1 dominance. Charles Leclerc came on Sunday as championship leader with two wins in the first three races and Carlos Sainz Jr. celebrated a two-year contract extension in Italy this weekend.

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But LeClerc could not leap over Verstappen at the start and never protested. Sainz veered off the course on the opening lap to ruin his race, and Leclerc’s bid to salvage the day for Ferrari ended when he ran Pérez in second.

He eventually finished sixth.

LeClerc had a 46-point lead in the standings over defending champion Verstappen at the start of the race, but Verstappen’s victory narrowed the gap to 27 points.

The race saw a provoking late battle between Mercedes newcomer George Russell and Valtteri Bottas, the driver he replaced. Both went into the final lap for fourth place, with Russell holding the veteran for the spot.

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Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton. continued his early struggles and finished 13th. Mercedes chief Toto Wolff apologized to Hamilton over the radio for the “undriveable” car he had given to Hamilton in Italy.

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More Associated Press Auto Racing: https://apnews.com/hub/auto-racing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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