Verstappen wins chaotic race

Rome, April 18

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen won a chaotic and crash-halted Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola today with Lewis Hamilton second for Mercedes and staying ahead in the championship by a single point.

The win, by a commanding 22 seconds at the chequered flag of the season’s second race, was the 11th of the Dutch youngster’s career.

“It was very challenging out there, especially in the beginning to stay on track to be honest, it was very slippery,” Verstappen said of an afternoon that started with most drivers on intermediate tyres but some on full wets.

Hamilton, winner of the Bahrain season-opener, took a crucial bonus point for fastest lap on a rollercoaster afternoon for the seven-time world champion, whose race was almost wrecked by a rare mistake. The Briton started on pole, his 99th, but dropped from second to ninth after skidding into the gravel and nudging the barriers with his car at a standstill and a retirement looming. He kept the engine running, reversed back out and returned to the pits, a lap behind, for a new front wing. A huge collision between teammate Valtteri Bottas and Williams driver George Russell threw him a lifeline by bringing out red flags with debris strewn across the track. With the field closed up again, Hamilton fought his way back to the podium with a stirring recovery drive. — Reuters

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