'Oh my God': F1 world in disbelief over 'insane' Grand Prix drama

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·Sports Editor
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Charles Leclerc, pictured here missing out on vital points in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
Charles Leclerc missed out on vital points in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. Image: F1

F1 fans and pundits were left stunned on Sunday after an incident-filled Imola Grand Prix in which Max Verstappen found his form and Charles Leclerc suffered late disaster.

Verstappen took maximum points from the sprint weekend, leading a Red Bull one-two on Sunday as Ferrari's homecoming turned sour for overall leader Leclerc and his Italian team.

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Sergio Perez finished 16.527 seconds behind the Dutch driver, with Lando Norris repeating last year's third place at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix to claim McLaren's first podium of the season.

Championship leader Leclerc missed out on some vital points after a late spin while in third place.

He did fight back to finish sixth but left commentators in shock with his costly blunder.

“Charles Leclerc, oh my god," said Nico Rosberg in commentary.

“If you’re fighting for a championship against Max Verstappen, you just cannot allow yourself to spin out there when you’re just driving on your own.

“Yes, he was hunting down Perez but the pressure was on Perez, not on Charles. To spin like that, my goodness.

“He has to avoid that for the rest of the season if he wants to win the championship. That was a really tough one.”

Charles Leclerc, pictured here after the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
Charles Leclerc looks on after the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. (Photo by Peter J Fox/Getty Images)

Speaking after the race, the Monagasque said he was "too greedy".

“It is a big shame,” he said. “The spin should not have happened today.

"I mean, P3 was the best I could do, we didn’t have the pace for much more and I was too greedy and I paid the price for it and lost seven potential points compared to my third place I was before.

“It is a shame, it’s seven points that are valuable at the end of the championship. For sure, this shouldn’t happen again.”

The mistake means Leclerc’s lead in the drivers championship is now 28 points ahead of Verstappen.

Horror race for Ferrari as Sainz also suffers

It was a horror race for Ferrari, with Leclerc's teammate Carlos Sainz seeing his race end in the gravel after an opening lap collision with Daniel Ricciardo, who ended up apologising to the Spaniard.

The safety car was quickly deployed as Sainz, spun around and facing Ricciardo, was left stranded in the gravel.

The Australian was first to pit on lap 17, swapping intermediate tyres for mediums in a move soon followed by the others as the track began to dry after earlier rain, but Ricciardo ended up 18th and last among the finishers.

Verstappen, who took the maximum eight points on Saturday for winning a sprint race from pole, also took a bonus point on Sunday for the fastest lap.

Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Lando Norris, pictured here on the podium after the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Lando Norris celebrate on the podium after the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

"That was a very lovely Sunday," the 24-year-old said over the team radio after leading from start to finish for his second win of a season in which he has also suffered two retirements.

Ferrari's lead over Red Bull in the constructors standings was also slashed to 11 points.

George Russell was an impressive fourth for Mercedes, gaining seven places from his grid position, but complained his car's 'porpoising' problem had made it a tough afternoon.

Teammate Lewis Hamilton was lapped by Verstappen after 41 of the 63 laps and finished 13th, gaining a place at the finish when Alpine's Esteban Ocon had a penalty added for an unsafe release in the pitlane.

"I'm out of the championship, for sure," said Hamilton.

"There's no question about that, but I'll still keep working as hard as I can and try to pull it back together somehow."

with AAP

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