Max Edges Out Lando By Less Than A Second To Claim Victory

Max Verstappen fended off a late challenge from Lando Norris at the 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, reclaiming the top step of the podium after Miami.

Lee Parker

By Lee Parker
Updated on May 23, 2024

Max Verstappen and Lando Norris Podium 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix
Max Verstappen celebrates P1 ahead of Lando Norris P2 on the 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix podium.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen held off a late charge from McLaren’s Lando Norris to win the 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. Despite struggling with his tyres in the final part of the race, the Dutchman secured his fifth victory in seven races this year, tightening his grip on a fourth world title.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc comfortably beat McLaren’s Oscar Piastri for the final podium place, moving into second in the championship ahead of Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez.

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Norris closed to within 1.3 seconds of Verstappen with three laps remaining, but he couldn’t get close enough to use DRS on the final lap, allowing the world champion to hang on.

Norris’s late push enlivened the final laps of an otherwise largely uneventful race. The only position change in the top five was Piastri moving past the second Ferrari of Carlos Sainz with an earlier pit stop, after challenging him closely throughout the first stint.

McLaren, buoyed by Norris’s victory in Miami, entered the race hopeful of challenging Verstappen, especially given the pace shown in Friday’s practice.

However, in the early laps, it seemed Verstappen would dominate. He maintained the lead at the start while Norris fended off Leclerc’s attack into the first chicane. It quickly became evident that the improvements Red Bull had made to secure pole position were equally effective in race conditions.

Verstappen steadily pulled away from Norris at about 0.2 seconds per lap, building an eight-second lead before pitting on Lap 23 of 63.

Although Verstappen appeared comfortable during the first stint, his day wasn’t as easy as it seemed. Shortly after his pit stop, he received a black and white flag for exceeding track limits too many times, hinting at some struggles.

As the race progressed into its final third, the dynamic began to shift. Initially, Norris faced pressure from Leclerc, who was within a second of the McLaren and in DRS range with 20 laps to go.

McLaren warned Norris over the radio that Leclerc was closing in. “Me too,” Norris replied. “I’m trying, but he’s just a lot quicker.”

But then, Norris started to pull away from the Ferrari and close the gap to Verstappen. From being eight seconds behind, he reduced the gap to five seconds with ten laps remaining, while Verstappen complained that “my tyres don’t work.”

Norris continued to close in, but Verstappen managed to maintain enough pace to keep him at bay.

“The whole race I had to push to the limit,” Verstappen said. “On the medium tyre, we were quite strong, but on the hard tyre, we struggled. It’s very difficult when you have to push flat out and the tyres are not working anymore.”

Norris reflected, “It hurts me to say it, but one or two more laps and I think I would have had him. Tough. I just lost out too much to Max in the beginning. He was stronger in the first stint.

“We are at a point now where we can say we are competing with Ferrari and Red Bull. We have to get used to it. We are fighting for first and second now.

“It is still a surprise to say we are disappointed not to win, but it is what we should start to expect.”

In the second half of the race, Piastri initially challenged Leclerc after the pit stops, but the Ferrari gradually pulled away and started closing in on Norris.

Once Piastri overtook him, Sainz had a lonely race to fifth place. He couldn’t keep pace with the top four but remained comfortably ahead of the Mercedes pair, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.

It was another lacklustre weekend for Mercedes, the team that dominated F1 in the last decade. Hamilton’s chances were further hindered by a mid-race excursion into the gravel at Acque Minerali.

Despite this setback, Hamilton managed to maintain his advantage in the final laps over Perez, who was running an inverted tyre strategy from his starting position of 11th on the grid.

Perez began on hard tyres and ran a long first stint, during which he also went off into the gravel at Rivazza. He switched to mediums when the frontrunners, who started on mediums, began their pit stops.

Despite his tyre advantage in the second stint and driving a Red Bull, Perez was barely quicker than the Mercedes ahead of him.

Russell spent most of the race ahead of Hamilton, but their positions switched when Russell made a stop for fresh tyres with 10 laps to go.

RB’s Yuki Tsunoda, impressive in qualifying seventh, and Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll took the final points positions in ninth and 10th.

Emilia Romagna GP Results

2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, 19 May 2024

11Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT631:25:25.25225
24Lando NorrisMcLaren Mercedes63+0.725s18
316Charles LeclercFerrari63+7.916s15
481Oscar PiastriMcLaren Mercedes63+14.132s12
555Carlos SainzFerrari63+22.325s10
644Lewis HamiltonMercedes63+35.104s8
763George Russell1Mercedes63+47.154s7
811Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT63+54.776s4
918Lance StrollAston Martin Aramco Mercedes63+79.556s2
1022Yuki TsunodaRB Honda RBPT62+1 lap1
1127Nico HulkenbergHaas Ferrari62+1 lap0
1220Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari62+1 lap0
133Daniel RicciardoRB Honda RBPT62+1 lap0
1431Esteban OconAlpine Renault62+1 lap0
1524Zhou GuanyuKick Sauber Ferrari62+1 lap0
1610Pierre GaslyAlpine Renault62+1 lap0
172Logan SargeantWilliams Mercedes62+1 lap0
1877Valtteri BottasKick Sauber Ferrari62+1 lap0
1914Fernando AlonsoAston Martin Aramco Mercedes62+1 lap0
NC23Alexander AlbonWilliams Mercedes51DNF0
1Fastest lap: George Russell (Mercedes) – 1:18.589 (lap 54)

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About The Author

Senior Editor

Lee Parker
Lee Parker

Lee is our staff writer specialising in anything technical within Formula 1 from aerodynamics to engines. Lee writes most of our F1 guides for beginners and experienced fans having followed the sports since 1991, researching and understanding how teams build the ultimate machines. Like everyone else on the team he listens to podcasts about F1 and enjoys reading biographies of former drivers.

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