Max Verstappen dig at Lewis Hamilton ahead of Emilia Romagna Sprint: It can punish you

Max Verstappen make subtle at Lewis Hamilton

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Max Verstappen claimed pole position in a chaotic Emilia Romagna GP qualifying yesterday, giving the Red Bull racer pole position for today’s sprint race. The frenetic race yesterday saw Alexander Albon’s Williams car catch fire while the track also saw several crashes. The qualifying ran 40 minutes past its scheduled finish due to the many Imola stoppages.

It was a miserable day for Lewis Hamilton and the Mercedes team, with the British racer forced to settle for 13th position in Saturday’s qualifying Sprint race at Imola.

Speaking afterwards, Verstappen appeared to take a dig at his rival, saying that the track “can really punish you if you make a mistake”.

He said: “It was tricky out there with the dry/rain.

“It was very slippery. It was hectic, a long call time but of course in the end very happy to be here.”

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Verstappen continued: “It is an amazing track and it really punishes you if you make a mistake.

“You can go in the wall, but that’s what we like, to make it hard and difficult, so very pleased with pole position.

“Our first three races, in general, didn’t go to plan but we will try to have a good weekend here.”

The Red Bull racer outpaced F1 championship leader Charles Leclerc in a dramatic damp race that played host to five red flags.

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Just when Leclerc looked set to move past Verstappen, Lando Norris crashed to cause another stoppage.

The 21-lap Sprint race will take place today, and the winner will start on pole for Sunday’s Emilia Romagna GP.

Hamilton rued Mercedes’ nightmare session, with the Brit and his team-mate George Russell crashing out of Q2 at the GP.

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Hamilton, who is seeking an eighth world title, told reporters afterwards: “It wasn’t a great session. Naturally, it’s disappointing.

“We came here with optimism and we know everyone is working really hard at the factory and when things don’t come together it’s disappointing.

I think we underperformed as a team today.

“There are things that we should have done that we didn’t do.

“Each weekend is a rescue.”

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