Always it took. By winning the qualifying sprint race on Saturday at Imola, Max Vestappen not only took pole position at the Emile-Romagna Grand Prix on Sunday, but also collected eight bonus points. The reigning world champion thus goes back to 5th place in the driver standings, with 33 points, ahead of Lewis Hamilton (28), irrelevant this Saturday. Leader Charles Leclerc, second in the sprint race of just over 100 km, pocketed seven points and now has 78.
But the Monegasque of Ferrari was dominated for the second day in a row at home, on the Enzo and Dino Ferrari circuit, by the Red Bull driver, already first in qualifying on Friday. On Saturday, Verstappen was overtaken from the start of the race by Leclerc who started second, before managing to regain his rank on the 20th lap out of 21.
If the Dutchman’s Red Bull finally proves reliable, after two retirements during the first three Grand Prix, the fight between the two men promises to be great during the “real” race. The second row will go to their teammates, the Mexican Sergio Pérez (Red Bull) and the Spaniard Carlos Sainz Jr (Ferrari), respectively 3rd and 4th on Saturday.
The French far behind
Bad day on the other hand for the French: Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri), who hung on the first lap with the Chinese Zhou Guanyu (Alfa Romeo), will start from 17th place, just behind Esteban Ocon (Alpine), 16th.