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F1 | Emilia Romagna GP | Verstappen beats Leclerc to sprint win with late overtake, Perez and Sainz recover to P3 and P4

Verstappen takes P1 in Formula 1’s first sprint event of the season in Imola while Sainz recovers to P4 after yesterday's error in qualifying; Leclerc unable to capitalise on his strong start

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F1 | Emilia Romagna GP | Verstappen beats Leclerc to sprint win with late overtake, Perez and Sainz recover to P3 and P4
Fuente imagen: @redbullracing on twitter

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen started from the top spot for the first Sprint of the season, with the Ferrari of championship leader Charles Leclerc lining up alongside following yesterday's qualifying session.

Both Haas cars as well as Nicholas Latifi chose to start on the medium tyre while everyone else elected to start on the softs.

Alonso struggled to get his Alpine moving on the formation lap but did eventually get going to take his place starting fifth after a strong performance yesterday.

Leclerc wasted no time making his move, taking the lead from a struggling Verstappen immediately after lights out, with Lando Norris almost taking advantage to move his McLaren up to P2, but was unable to make the move stick.

Following the chaos of yesterday's qualifying session, a crash from Alfa Romeo’s Zhou and Pierre Gasly in the AlphaTauri ended Zhou’s race on lap 1, bringing out the safety car. Gasly pitted during the safety car to replace a punctured tyre from the incident, rejoining the race in p19.

The race got back underway at the beginning of lap 5 with Leclerc backing up the back before choosing his moment to accelerate. Verstappen failed to stay close enough to the Ferrari ahead of him to make in turn 1.

Further down the grid, Alonso managed to fend off a charging Carlos Sainz who eventually made the move stick.

Magnussen managed to fend off the Red Bull of Perez until lap 8 before losing P4 to the Mexican driver. 

On lap 11 Ricciardo managed to pass Magnussen, moving his McLaren up to P5 behind his teammate. Sainz followed him on the following lap, leaving Magnussen in P7.

Both Alonso and Magnussen received a black and white flag during the session for weaving on the straight.

In the closing stages of the race Verstappen put in a charge, closing the gap to Leclerc to under 1 second and taking advantage of DRS retook the lead on the penultimate lap as Leclerc struggled with tyre degradation.

A charging Sainz managed to recover to P4 before the end of the race, making up for his crash yesterday evening. 

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