F1: Verstappen Holds On To Win at Imola Despite Late Charge from Norris

McLaren’s upgrades seem to work as the Woking team and Lando Norris breathed down the neck of the dominant champion in the dying stages of the race.

By Yashraj Singh


1 mins read


Published on May 20, 2024

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  • Max Verstappen secured his 59th career victory at the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix
  • Norris closed the gap to within 0.725 seconds by the final lap but couldn't overtake Verstappen
  • This win marks Verstappen's third consecutive triumph at Imola and his fifth win of the season

On a weekend where he also won the virtual 24 Hours of the Nurburgring, reigning F1 world champion Max Verstappen secured his 59th career victory at the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix in Imola. Despite the result seeming fairly standard in modern F1, the Dutchman had to work for the win as he spent the latter stages of the race fending off a dramatic late surge from F1 newest winner, McLaren’s Lando Norris. 
 Max Verstappen

This win marks Verstappen's third consecutive triumph at Imola, and his fifth win of the season to bolster his position as the 2024 Formula 1 championship leader.

Verstappen, starting from pole, maintained his lead from the outset. He managed to fend off Norris while the McLaren driver defended against the Ferrari duo of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz. Verstappen quickly extended his lead, staying out of DRS range and establishing control over the race.

Mc Laren

By the time Verstappen made his sole pit stop, switching from medium to hard tires, he had a comfortable lead of over four seconds. Norris, initially falling further behind, began to claw back time in the latter stages of the race, narrowing the gap significantly.

Despite being on older hard tires, Norris managed to close in on Verstappen, who struggled with tire performance. Norris got within 1.5 seconds of the leader but found it difficult to make further inroads. His push continued into the final lap, closing to just 0.725 seconds, but Verstappen held on to take the win.


"It hurts me to say, but one or two more laps and I think I would've had him," Norris commented after the race. “We just lost out a little bit too much to Max in the beginning. He was much better in the first stint and obviously in the second we were stronger.”


Earlier in the race, the battle for the top five positions was primarily between McLaren and Ferrari. Norris's early pit stop allowed him to maintain his position ahead of Leclerc, who eventually finished third. Oscar Piastri, who started fifth after a grid penalty, put pressure on the Ferraris throughout the race but ultimately settled for fourth place behind Leclerc and Norris.

Sainz finished in fifth, unable to match the pace of the top four in the latter stages of the race. Lewis Hamilton and George Russell brought their Mercedes home in sixth and seventh, respectively, with Russell securing the fastest lap point after a late pit stop for fresh tires.

Sergio Perez had a challenging race, starting from 11th and running long on hard tires. He struggled to make progress and even lost time with a trip through the gravel. However, a late pit stop for medium tires allowed him to recover to eighth place, passing several cars in the process.

Lance Stroll and Yuki Tsunoda rounded out the top ten, with Stroll recovering from a long first stint on mediums. Tsunoda, who had shown strong single-lap pace, faded towards the end as he couldn't hold off Stroll's charge.

Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen of Haas finished just outside the points in 11th and 12th. Daniel Ricciardo, starting from ninth, dropped to 13th, followed by Esteban Ocon in 14th for Alpine and Zhou Guanyu in 15th for Kick Sauber. Pierre Gasly and Logan Sargeant finished 16th and 17th, respectively, with Valtteri Bottas in 18th.

Mercedes F1

Fernando Alonso had a tough race, eventually retiring his Aston Martin in the closing stages, classifying 19th. Alex Albon was the only other retiree, his race ending after a stop/go penalty for an unsafe pit release left him two laps down.


Despite a difficult Friday practice and higher-than-expected tire degradation, Verstappen's performance on Saturday and his strategic control during the race showcased Red Bull's resilience. The Dutchman’s victory solidifies his lead in the championship, while Norris's impressive charge highlights McLaren's competitive form this season.

"It was tough, especially with the tires not performing as expected," Verstappen said. “But we managed to hold on, and the team did a great job with the setup after Friday's struggles.”


Finishing Order:


  1. M. Verstappen (RBR)
  2. L. Norris (McLaren)
  3. C. Leclerc (Ferrari)
  4. O. Piastri (McLaren)
  5. C. Sainz Jr. (Ferrari)
  6. L. Hamilton (Mercedes)
  7. G. Russell (Mercedes)
  8. S. Perez (RBR)
  9. L. Stroll (Aston Martin)
  10. Y. Tsunoda (VCARB)
  11. N. Hulkenberg (Haas)
  12. K. Magnussen (Haas)
  13. D. Ricciardo (VCARB)
  14. E. Ocon (Alpine)
  15. G. Zhou (Sauber)
  16. P. Gasly (Alpine)
  17. L. Sargeant (Williams)
  18. V. Bottas (Sauber)
  19. F. Alonso (Aston Martin)



  1. A. Albon (Williams)
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