RACE DEBRIEF

    Max Verstappen grabbed pole in qualifying yesterday at Imola, and he backed that up with a win in the Sprint to ensure he has the best starting berth for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix tomorrow.

    He was pushed all the way by Charles Leclerc, who led for much of the frantic 21-lap dash, but Ferrari were harder on their tyres than the Bulls, as the Monegasque’s charge faltered with a couple of laps to go.

    With Sergio Perez and Carlos Sainz both recovering from poor qualifying sessions, the top two teams secured the front two rows for the race. Here are the best facts and stats from the first Sprint of the season…

    • There had never been a lead change in the Sprint after the first lap until Imola.

    • Max Verstappen backs up his pole position in qualifying with P1 for the race itself.

    READ MORE: Verstappen snatches P1 from Leclerc in thrilling Imola Sprint

    • Charles Leclerc has increased his lead over his team mate in the championship, as Carlos Sainz jumps ahead of George Russell in the standings.

    • The front row for the race is the same as yesterday’s qualifying result.

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    Verstappen backed up his pole in qualifying with the win in the Sprint
    • Verstappen has been leaving it late this year – he passed Leclerc with less than three laps remaining today, having passed the Ferrari with less than five laps to go to win in Saudi Arabia.

    • The last nine times Verstappen has started from pole position have yielded seven wins and two collisions with Lewis Hamilton.

    • Leclerc’s P2 grid slot is the first time a Ferrari has been on the front row in Imola since Michael Schumacher in 2006.

    • Sergio Perez starts third, as he did in Australia.

    • Sainz starts fourth, having gained the most positions in the Sprint, making up six slots.

    • Lando Norris starts fifth tomorrow, his best ever starting slot at Imola in a Grand Prix.

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    Despite Magnussen losing ground, it is still panning out to be a highly successful weekend for Haas
    • Daniel Ricciardo is P6, starting in the same position as both the Sprint, and last year’s race here.

    • McLaren’s upturn in form continues – after starting 13th and 18th in Bahrain, they are both in the top six tomorrow.

    • Valtteri Bottas grabbed his third top-eight start in four races this year, Alfa Romeo having only had two top-eight starts in the whole of last season.

    • Kevin Magnussen and Fernando Alonso both lost four positions in the Sprint.

    WATCH: Zhou crashes out at start of Sprint in Emilia Romagna

    • Mick Schumacher starts the Grand Prix from P10, his highest career start.

    • Haas have two drivers in the top 10 on the grid for the first time since Interlagos 2019.